With the official opening of the Belvidere Plant's expansion... Chrysler now shifts gears toward hiring workers.
The Belvidere Plants workers were naturally excited to see their C.E.O. on the shop floor.
But they're also excited about the company's future.
And what the Dodge Dart may do for Belvidere.
"Around 2000, the Neon started dying out and we got Daimler with us for a while, the morale wasn't that good here, we knew they weren't going to last for a long time."
Alex Lerma began building cars in Belvidere 15 years ago.
He says his co-workers feel much better *now than they did a few years back.
"No bad times, no more thinking about, are we going to have anything, now it's lets just get the job done."
Building the Dodge Dart helps that feeling.
As the workers crank them out one bolt at a time.
"I think the company has come a long way, gone though everything we've been through."
Dyan Garret's in charge of training the others on the Dart. She likes knowing the Dart's secrets for now.
"It's nice to know more than what other people know about the car."
Sales will determine the fate of Belvidere's newest hires. But the autoworkers already here say they're excited to build the new cars future.
"It's a beautiful thing, I am very excited and I hope the cars take off."
And Kanesha Huggins says new faces will show strength.
"It has been a long haul, but we're coming back, coming back strong and I'm looking forward to seeing new faces."
"There's a lot of people that need work, it's pretty hard out there right now, no jobs and stuff, if this brings in those, that should be cool."
Lerma hopes that cycle continues.
"More cars, more work, more jobs."
Chrysler says the 18-hundred new hires it needs will be in place by the summer.
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