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Fiat Chrysler to invest $1 billion in Michigan plant, pay bonus after tax cut

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is investing $1 billion in a Michigan truck factory and paying worker bonuses in the wake of a U.S. tax cut, gestures that could come in handy amid major policy matters being sorted out in Washington.

The Italian-American automaker will share the spoils of a lower corporate tax rate by sending $2,000 checks to about 60,000 U.S. workers. Fiat Chrysler also will spend more than $1 billion and add 2,500 jobs at a factory near Detroit to produce heavy-duty Ram pickups that the company has been making in Mexico.

The moves may prove useful to Fiat Chrysler’s cause. Threats by Donald Trump to withdraw the U.S. from the North American Free Trade Agreement or dramatically rework the deal have spurred warnings from the auto industry of major harm. The president also has said he’ll cut carmakers a break on fuel economy standards his administration is reviewing and explicitly asked them to return the favor by hiring more workers.

“At least making Trump’s tax plan look like it’s rewarding workers very quickly should bode well with the administration,” Dave Sullivan, an analyst at AutoPacific Inc., said by phone. “Part of it also is showing the administration how many workers they have here in the U.S.” and signaling the company will “pump that money right into the economy.”

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