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AUBURN HILLS, MI-Locally based Chrysler Group, a division of DaimlerChrysler, plans to build two new automotive manufacturing plants in Michigan, in Trenton and Marysville, though the latter property must be annexed from St. Clair Township first. The company will spend about $1.4 billion to build the new plants, and a facility in Trenton and the 90-year-old Detroit Axle plant.

The company will close the Trenton Engine Plant, and spend $730 million on the new plant to produce the “Phoenix” family of V-6 engines next door. The 780,000-sf plant will begin production in 2009, said Chrysler officials in a statement. Company officials did not return phone calls for comment on this story.

For the planned 750,000-sf planned Marysville plant, the company is working with the city to gain the land, a former farm, from St. Clair Township. The 211-acre property, bonded by Davis Road, Busha Highway, Marysville city limits and the CSX railroad tracks, would be sold to the city for $3 million using the current plan. The city would then annex the land and donate it to the automaker, which would build the $700-million plant to produce a new family of axles.

The developments are part of a $1.8-billion investment by the company dubbed the “Powertrain Offensive,” that falls in line with a $3-billion program to build and retool existing plants to produce more fuel-efficient engines, transmissions and axles. The company had announced the program on Feb. 14, not long before company officials began talk about selling the US arm of the company. The company has not remarked on how a sale would affect these developments. Chrysler also plans to spend $300 million to build a new paint assembly shop in Sterling Heights, MI and $50 million on upgrades to the Warren Truck Assembly Plant and Warren Stamping in Warren, MI. “We have a vision to grow our business and transform the Chrysler Group into a stronger company that will be competitive for the long run,” said group president and CEO Tom LaSorda in an April 18 statement.

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