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Chrysler to invest $600 million in Illinois plant

DETROIT (Reuters) - Chrysler Group LLC will invest $600 million to expand its Illinois assembly plant to build a body shop and install new machinery and equipment to support the production of future models in 2012.

The investment includes the construction of a 638,000 square-foot body shop and the installation of new machinery, tooling and material handling equipment.

Work on the expansion began this summer and will be completed in 2011, Chrysler said in a news release on Thursday.

The plant currently builds the Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot and Dodge Caliber. Chrysler, the U.S. automaker controlled and managed by Fiat SpA, declined to comment on future products.

The most recent move brings its total investments in U.S. facilities to $2.1 billion since June 2009, when new Chrysler exited from bankruptcy protection.

(Reporting by Deepa Seetharaman, editing by Matthew Lewis)

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