Chrysler is expected to announce 250 new jobs and a major investment Thursday at its transmission and metal casting plants in the Kokomo, Indiana, area.

According to a report from the Detroit News, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne will confirm the carmaker will invest $162 million and create 850 jobs at a former Getrag Transmission plant in nearby Tipton. An additional 400 jobs will be created at other factories.

The company is investing millions in the Kokomo area to build fuel-efficient eight- and nine-speed automatic transmissions. Chrysler plans to use a new nine-speed gearbox in the Jeep Cherokee midsize SUV and in the Dodge Dart compact. The Cherokee will replace the Jeep Liberty later this year.

Most carmakers use five- and six-speed transmissions for their cars and trucks. However, Chrysler and others are planning for transmissions with more gears, which generally help cars perform better and get better mileage.

Chrysler now has three transmission plants and a metal casting plant in the Kokomo area that employ about 6,100 people. In December, the Kokomo City Council gave a positive vote for tax breaks requested by Chrysler for $212 million in new equipment for its plants in the city.

German auto parts maker Getrag stopped construction in 2008.


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