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Chrysler Group LLC could invest $266 million in new equipment to boost production of its eight-speed automatic transmissions in Kokomo, Indiana.

The Kokomo Common Council announced the expected investment amid members Monday night voting unanimously to give initial approval for a 10-year property tax abatement on the new equipment.

The investment, according to Chrysler, hinges on a final vote by the council to approve the abatement, which is actually an amendment to an existing abatement, later this month. The Kokomo Tribune reports the council is expected to approve a second and final reading during a special meeting on Dec. 22.

“We look forward to their approval so that we can make the business case for this future investment,” Chrysler said in a statement.

The council said the investment would expand production for two of Chrysler’s four Kokomo plants. The company only mentioned the Kokomo Transmission Plant for the investment. The facility produces eight-speed transmissions for the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Durango and Ram 1500.

Chrysler said the investment “will give the company the flexibility to respond to the market with products that utilize this fuel-efficient transmission.”

Chrysler didn’t announce any additional hiring with the proposed equipment plan but said it would “retain employment, subject to market conditions.”

The automaker has more than 7,000 workers at its facilities in Kokomo and nearby Tipton, including 3,420 employees at the Kokomo Transmission Plant.

In 2012, Chrysler completely overhauled the 3.1 million square-foot Kokomo Transmission Plant and installed new manufacturing equipment necessary to produce the eight-speed transmission.

Chrysler has invested more than $1.5 billion in its Kokomo facilities since emerging from bankruptcy in June 2009.

mwayland@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2504

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