FCA US has announced a planned spend of US$74.7m at its Trenton Engine Complex in Michigan to retool the north plant to produce a new generation four-cylinder engine (replacing the current 3.6-litre Pentastar V6), retaining 245 jobs. The engine will be assembled on the flexible production line installed in 2012.

The Auburn Hills, Michigan-designed engine will go into production in the third quarter of 2017. The engine will provide increased power, while improving fuel economy and reducing CO2 emissions. More details of specification and vehicle application will be announced later, FCA said.

"This investment in our flexible production line at Trenton North will allow us to quickly ramp up North American production of this new fuel-efficient engine," said Brian Harlow, who heads FCA North America manufacturing.

Though I4 production will replace the 3.6-litre Pentastar, currently assembled on the flex line at Trenton North, Production of other Pentastar engines will continue at Trenton South and Mack Avenue Engine (Michigan) and Saltillo South (Mexico). Trenton Engine Complex employs about 1,500 people.

Since 2009, FCA US has announced spending of over $2bn in Michigan and added nearly 15,600 new jobs, bringing total employment in the state to 35,314 (including 21,621 hourly) people.

Trenton Engine Complex is two facilities – north and south plants. Trenton North began production in 1952 and was idled in May 2011 after producing more than 38m engines. It reopened late in 2011 and added a flexible production line in 2012.

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Trenton South opened in 2008 and began production of the 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 in 2009. The factory was awarded a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Green Building System certification for meeting the highest environmental standards. At the time of its designation in 2009, Trenton was one of only four auto manufacturing facilities to receive a LEED rating of any kind and the only engine manufacturing facility in the world to achieve the honour.

In April 2014, the entire Trenton engine complex achieved the bronze award level in World Class Manufacturing after demonstrating clear know-how and competence in the manufacturing methodology. World Class Manufacturing is a methodology that focuses on eliminating waste, increasing productivity, and improving quality and safety in a systematic and organized way. WCM engages the workforce to provide and implement suggestions on how to improve their jobs and their plants.