There’s a great story in Bloomberg News about how the new fuel-efficient Dodge Dart is bringing 6,000 jobs to Belvidere, IL. However, a key point missing from the story is the basic fact that the Dart returns Chrysler back to competitiveness in the all-important fuel efficient compact car segment. Yes, it’s fuel efficiency that is driving increased demand for cars among American consumers, as recent sales figures and consumer surveys have shown.
But first, let’s review the positive news out of Belvidere:
Chrysler, under the control of Italy’s Fiat SpA (F), has surged back to health since its 2009 bankruptcy and government bailout, and it’s bringing Belvidere along for the ride. The factory completes hiring for a third crew this month, which will bring it to 4,500 workers cranking out vehicles 120 hours a week. It employed as few as 200 people three years ago‚ Chrysler’s investment will bring total employment by the automaker and its suppliers in the region to 6,000, according to the area’s economic development group.