MILAN (AP) -- Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne said Monday that a new Chrysler plant that will build Fiat engines in northern Michigan represents "a huge step forward" for the integration of Chrysler into Fiat.
Marchionne told an investors conference call that the investment would bring Fiat's 1.4 liter, four-cylinder engine technology into the United States, and that would mean that Fiat can bring those engines into Brazil without duties. Fiat has a large auto business in Brazil.
Marchionne is steering the turnaround of Chrysler, becoming CEO of the U.S. automaker after Fiat took a controlling share in Chrysler in June.
Chrysler is investing $179 million in the Dundee plant near Detroit, which is expected to begin production of the engines in the fourth quarter of next year. The engine will power the Fiat 500 minicar, which will be made in Mexico and go on sale in the United States by the end of the year, and will eventually replace engines in other Chrysler vehicles.
Marchionne told a Fiat analyst conference call that the Chrysler investment is not big but "it is a huge step forward in terms of the integration of Chrysler into Fiat."
Michigan was competing with Saltillo, Mexico for the plant.