Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne addresses a crowd at the... Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne addresses a crowd at the Kokomo Transmission Plant in Indiana (Chrysler)
As consumers pile back into the market for a new car, the good news is that high-value auto manufacturing jobs keep getting added, and in cities that can sure use the help.

The latest is Chrysler, which on Feb. 28, announced it was investing $400 million into its two plants in Indiana, creating 1,250 new jobs.

It's the latest in a series of investments by the automaker that has resulted in the creation of 8,000 new positions since Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy in 2009 and has been managed by Italian automaker Fiat. The new project also protects the jobs of another 3,400 jobs in Kokomo, Indiana a hub of automotive parts manufacturing.

"Chrysler's future and the future of North Central Indiana are tied together, and that future has never looked brighter," said Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight, following the announcement by Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne.

Expansion of the Kokomo operations allows Chrysler to begin production of a new, advanced 9-speed gearbox developed by ZF Corp. Chrysler will produce some of the gearboxes and buy some of its total need from the supplier's manufacturing facility in South Carolina.

The 9-speed, as well as an 8-speed gear-box also coming out of Kokomo, are critical to helping Chrysler meet upcoming federal fuel economy standards, especially the 54.5 mpg mandate that will take effect in 2025.

Automakers are investing in new jobs in the U.S. as the industry has recovered from selling just about 10 million new vehicles in 2009 to an anticipated 15.5 million this year.

Since 2009, and after the domestic auto industry was forced to shed jobs in order to get its finances in order, the industry had gained over 217,000 a the end of 2011, including hourly, salaried, supplier, dealership positions, according to the U.S. Dept. of Labor. The year-end 2012 numbers are not finalized, but could be as much as an additional 20,000 to 30,000, according to some analysts.

Check out how Ford transformed a Michigan plant and learned from past mistakes

Some of the investments and job creation around the surging auto industry?

Ford says it is adding 2,200 U.S.-based white collar salary jobs this year. The jobs will be in such areas as product development, manufacturing and information technology. They are full-time Ford jobs with benefits - not agency or contract workers.

• Ford has said it plans to add 2,350 hourly jobs and invest $773 million just in Michigan in the next two years.

• Last year, Ford created more than 8,100 salaried and hourly jobs in the U.S. About 1,000 of those represented work brought back to U.S. factories previously done by suppliers in Japan and Mexico.

GM is amidst a reinvestment plan that calls for $2.5 billion going into U.S. plants, including the re-opening of a closed Saturn plant in Tennessee.

• Not all the job growth is in the domestic industry. Nissan filled over 1,000 new jobs at its Smyrna Tennessee plant in the second half of last year owing in part to adding a third shift at the plant.

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