MEXICO CITY – Mexican President Felipe Calderon inaugurated a $570 million Chrysler engine plant – the U.S. automaker’s sixth plant in that country – in the northern state of Coahuila.
The plant, located in the state capital of Saltillo, will manufacture the advanced Pentastar V-6 engine that offers average fuel efficiency improvement of 7 percent across the model range and 290 horsepower.
This new engine will replace all other models in use in Chrysler vehicles and will power the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Town and Country 300 and 200, the Dodge Charger, Avenger, Durango and Journey, the plant’s executives said.
The plant, which has an annual production capacity of 400,000 units and will employ 700 people, features 1,900 solar cells in the shape of a “pentastar” (the company’s symbol) that will supply electricity to the facility and ensure that total carbon-dioxide emissions do not exceed 7,500 tons annually.
“I’m very pleased to inaugurate this plant, which marks another phase in the successful strategic alliance among Chrysler, Coahuila and Mexico,” Calderon said at Friday’s inauguration ceremony.
He added that the plant will put Saltillo “at the forefront globally in the strategic engine and auto parts industry.”
The president said many automobile companies have set their sights on Mexico in the wake of the global recession and that this area of Coahuila, the Bajio region of central Mexico, the central city of Puebla and the northern cities of Hermosillo and Chihuahua have emerged as centers for the production of world-class vehicles and engines.
The livelihoods of some 470,000 Mexican families now depend on the automobile industry, which currently accounts for one-fifth of Mexico’s manufacturing gross domestic product, he added.
Vehicle production soared to a record high in the first nine months of this year, according to the president, who noted that Mexico has strived to ensure its auto sector regulations are in line with those of the United States and Canada to boost regional competitiveness.