The state's investment is part of the
governor's plans for the Northern Stateline region in the
Opportunity Returns program, his comprehensive, proactive strategy
for creating jobs and spurring economic growth across the region and
throughout the state.
"The investment package we are
providing to Chrysler Group will not only bring 1,000 new quality
jobs to the people of Belvidere and the surrounding areas, but help
restore confidence, attract additional investment and catalyze
growth throughout the regional economy," Gov. Blagojevich said.
"This is an investment in a first-class company whose automobiles
are driven the world over. It is also an investment in our
hardworking men and women -- in their advanced set of skills, their
dogged work ethic and their dreams of building a better life for
their families and themselves,"
Chrysler Group is investing
approximately $419 million to overhaul the Belvidere plant's body
shop as well as modify the paint shop and final assembly area. All
changes to the facility will enable greater manufacturing
flexibility, while simultaneously preparing for future launches of
as-yet-unannounced new products. Production is targeted to begin in
"Since Chrysler Group opened the
doors at Belvidere Assembly almost 40 years ago, the plant has been
a key player in our manufacturing portfolio and product offensive,"
said Frank Ewasyshyn, Chrysler Group executive vice president --
manufacturing. "Today, we are reaffirming our commitment to this
community and the state of Illinois by bringing back up to 1,000
jobs. We appreciate Gov. Blagojevich's support through his
Opportunity Returns program, which will help ensure that our
Belvidere employees and the facility have the training and resources
needed to make it a world-class facility."
The Illinois Department of Commerce
and Economic Opportunity will provide the state's support for
Chrysler Group. The department will make available Economic
Development for a Growing Economy tax credits based on job creation
over a 10-year period, a Large Business Development Program
grant, funding through its Employer Training Investment Program to
help train the company's work force, as well as enterprise zone
investment and job-creation credits arising from the company's
location within an enterprise zone.
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Chrysler Group, headquartered in
Auburn Hills, Mich., is a unit of DaimlerChrysler, the world's fifth
largest automaker. Its brands include Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge and
feature some of the most recognizable vehicles, like the Dodge
Viper, Jeep Liberty and Chrysler PT Cruiser. In 2003, the Chrysler
Group sold 2.64 million vehicles worldwide. The DaimlerChrysler
Corporation Fund, the company's philanthropic arm, gave more than
$22 million in grants last year. For further information on
"Due largely to its highly skilled
work force, the Belvidere auto plant is one of the most efficient
Chrysler plants in North America," said Jack Lavin, director of the
Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. "When the company
decided to expand, that factor certainly tipped the scales in our
favor. While that's a great testament to the exceptional work ethic
and great dedication of the Belvidere workers, it's also a real sign
that we are investing in the assets that are the most desirable to
business and the most critical to fueling more widespread economic
growth and opportunity throughout this state."
Opportunity Returns regional economic development strategy is
the most aggressive, comprehensive approach to creating jobs in
Illinois' history. Since a one-size-fits-all approach to economic
development just doesn't work, the governor has divided the state
into 10 regions, each with a regional team that is empowered and
expected to rapidly respond to opportunities and challenges.
Opportunity Returns is about
tangible, specific actions to make each region more accessible, more
marketable, more entrepreneurial and more attractive to businesses.
It is about upgrading the skills of the local work force, increasing
the access to capital, opening new markets, improving infrastructure
and creating and retaining jobs. Opportunity Returns is about
successfully partnering with companies and communities, both large
and small, to help all of Illinois reach its economic potential.