The Belvidere Assembly Plant, which lies just outside of Chicago, Illinois, has spent the past year building the Jeep Compass, the Jeep Patriot and the Dodge Caliber. Production of the less-than-popular Caliber ended in December 2011 but starting later this year, Belvidere will begin building the new Dodge Dart compact sedan. The Chrysler Group expects that the 2013 Dodge Dart will be very popular, hopefully filling the role that the Caliber failed to fill when the Dodge Neon was killed off in 2005. Should that be the case, the Belvidere plant will be faced with a great deal more demand than the Caliber brought about so the plant will have to increase manpower to meet that demand. 500 of the 1,800 new jobs being added at Belvidere are specifically introduced for the production of the 2013 Dodge Dart and this group will begin an advance of production.
In addition to the production impact expected from the new Dart, the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot have grown quite a bit in the last year so of the 1,800 new jobs, 1,300 are being hired to help deal with the added demand from these popular Jeep models. These added positions will allow Chrysler to continue to run Belvidere with their controversial 3/2/120 production schedule which allows them to add production days throughout the year by rotating through the plant workers. Belvidere currently employs 2,500 workers so this next round of hiring will increase their total numbers by 72%.
"It was not by chance that we chose Belvidere to make this investment and build the new Dodge Dart," Chrysler and Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne told employees. "Our decision is evidence of the faith we have in your level of commitment and your passion to deliver great products for our customers. You have been essential in our ability to author a remarkable story of recovery."
In addition to adding these 1,800 new jobs, the Chrysler Group announced that they would be investing another $100 million in the plants body shop. This will raise the company’s total investment to $700 million since Fiat SpA took the reins at Chrysler.