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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV plans to invest $74.7 million at its Trenton North Engine Plant, adding new equipment to produce next-generation, 2-liter four-cylinder engines, the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced Tuesday.

The investment, aimed for the 2018 model year, is expected to retain 245 jobs at the plant. Fiat Chrysler said the new engine, aimed to provide additional power and improved fuel economy while lowering carbon dioxide emissions, will be produced on a new flexible production line installed in 2012. Production is slated to begin in the third quarter of 2017.

The company considered using engine plants in North America, including Michigan and Mexico for the new investment. Fiat Chrysler makes four-cylinder engines now at an engine plant in Saltillo, Mexico, according to the MEDC.

“The investment will be transformational for the Trenton facility, as it would introduce a new engine platform and new technology to the plant,” according to an MEDC memo to the Michigan Strategic Fund board.

The Michigan Strategic Fund Tuesday passed a five-year exemption for Fiat Chrysler that is valued at $770,904. The company is required to complete the investment in three years to receive the credit.

Fiat Chrysler has a Michigan Economic Growth Authority (MEGA) tax credit through 2032 with the state. . In November, the state approved an amendment to Fiat Chrysler’s MEGA tax credit that requires the automaker to make an additional $1 billion investment in its state automotive plants in exchange for $1.7 billion in credits through 2029.

Workers in the 2.1 million-square-foot Trenton North Engine plant build V-6 Pentastar engines for vehicles such as the Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Wrangler as well as components for the V-6 engine. Fiat Chrysler said the four-cylinder engine production will replace the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6.

The Trenton Engine complex employs 1,505 employees, including 1,349 hourly workers. Fiat Chrysler said Pentastar engines will continue to be produced at Trenton South, Mack Avenue Engine in Detroit and in Saltillo, Mexico.

Fiat Chrysler has announced investments of more than $2 billion in Michigan since 2009, adding nearly 15,600 new jobs.

mburden@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2319

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