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DaimlerChrysler eyes Ford proving grounds

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It is unclear to me if this is for Chrysler Group or just DaimlerChrysler?

KINGMAN - The state of Arizona, Mohave County, Kingman and a Lake Havasu City economic group are working together on an incentive package that could reach $500,000 to lure DaimlerChrysler to the Ford Proving Grounds in Yucca.

The site has more than 50 miles of test roads and approximately 109,000 square feet of building area.

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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Chrysler now has half a million reasons to come
Cities and county vote to pony up $250,000 to match state contribution to lure manufacturer to Yucca

Nicholas Wilbur and Suzanne Adams
Miner Staff Writers

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

KINGMAN - The county and state have laid the hook, now it's up to Chrysler, LLC to take the bait and move into the former Ford proving grounds in Yucca.

On Monday, both the Mohave County Board of Supervisors and the Kingman City Council voted unanimously to offer their portions of an incentive totaling $500,000 aimed at luring Chrysler to the site.

The county and city contributions of $150,000 and $60,000, respectively, will be added to Lake Havasu City's $40,000 offer.

The $250,000 incentive is to be matched by the Arizona Department of Commerce.

County Finance Director John Timko said the county was planning to use contingency funds to pay for the incentive, which will only be awarded if Chrysler decides to purchase the Yucca facility.

If the car manufacturer decides against acquiring the site, which Ford has used for years to test vehicles, then no funds will be awarded to the company.

Chrysler spokesman Dave Bailey called the Yucca site "the premier place to test vehicles for the conditions you receive out here," saying it is preferred over the company's other option in Laredo, Texas.

A comparison study between the two facilities is in progress, he said.

Bailey gave short presentations to the Board and Council Monday, explaining that his company currently is leasing a facility in Wittmann, Ariz., that it needs to vacate by June 2008.

By the end of September, Bailey said Chrysler should have made its decision, at which point it will announce its decision on whether or not to purchase the Yucca site and either accept or decline the incentives.

Bailey boasted of the 75 full-time and 15 part-time positions the facility would bring, adding that Chrysler's average compensation is around $76,933 - more than double the state average of $36,216.

If it accepts the offer, Chrysler plans to invest $10 million over a number of years to improve and expand the facility. Bailey said it would attract around 2,000 annual visitors for eight days each for a total of 16,000 visitor days of testing equipment. The sheer number, County Board Chairman Pete Byers said, would bring in a lot of tourism dollars to the region.

"They're a definite impact to our economy," he said.

Chrysler also would expect to have about 2,000 vehicles shipped to the site for testing.

"In terms of economic and fiscal impact, the project looks very similar to what was previously proposed with Ford," said Jonas Peterson deputy director of economic development for Mohave County.

The economic impact for operations on Mohave County and its communities will be around $18.9 million, while the construction impact is likely to exceed $18.35 million, according to Peterson.

"The total fiscal impact of operations on the county and communities is around $150,000 per year," he said. Fiscal impacts on Arizona are expected at $277,198, according to figures from an Arizona Retention & Relocation model developed by Elliot D. Pollack & Company.

Chrysler, LLC announced on Monday that New York based Cerberus Capital Management group had purchased the majority share of its stock and changed its name from DaimlerChrysler.

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