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A needed injection

They were some dark days, ladies and gentlemen. The Great Recession of 2008, folks losing jobs, businesses shutting their doors, all around financial and economic mayhem and few places to hide. Likely you were affected, and hopefully have recovered since. Many haven’t and it is still a hurtful subject for millions of Americans.

In the auto world few were immune, and one, an American classic, Chrysler, went under. In April of 2009 the American automaker filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and then emerged as partly owned by Fiat less than a year later. The Italian conglomerate purchased an initial 20% share in Chrysler, later grew that to 58.5%, and in 2014 bought the rest. By late first quarter of 2014 Fiat Chrysler was trading on the NYSE and the two merged into what is now known as FCA soon thereafter.

To say that Fiat moved fast is an understatement. Under previous CEO Sergio Marchionne, FCA went on a tear. A beloved figure in the auto sphere, Marchionne positioned FCA on a strong growth path, but stepped down unexpectedly in 2018 due to health reasons. Many feared this would derail development, but it appears not as FCA just announced a whopping $1.6 billion assembly plant, scheduled to be built in none other than the heart and soul of the American auto world – Detroit city.

Thanks to Michigan’s economic development board, a $233 million incentive package was approved in exchange for FCA agreeing to create roughly 6,400 jobs, of which 5,000 will be in the city (of Detroit). For Detroit the news could not be more favorable. The city’s unemployment rate has been hovering around 8% for some time, which is over double the national rate (3.6%). A welcome 6,400 jobs will be greeted with open arms, and most promising, 4,218 jobs will be front-line workers. Couple this with approximately 345 laborers, plumbers, electricians as well as other skilled trades. Of course, there will also be 387 supervisory positions which is good news for those who are employed at higher pay/responsibility scales. FCA will also be receiving tax breaks on roughly 87 hectares of land in conjunction with the $223 incentive package. Some city council members were not that thrilled with this last point but conceded in the end.

The average wage for new employees is posited to be $59,846 per year. Not bad, and this blogger is happy some good news can finally trickle back to where American car culture sowed its roots. Good on you FCA and Detroit!       

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