TRAVERSE CITY, MI – When DaimlerChrysler Corp. announced in February 2003 plans to build a new world-engine plant in Dundee, MI, the deal came amid a potentially stormy political backdrop.

The 12-year term of Gov. John Engler was coming to a close in 2002 just as the agreement with state and local officials was nearing completion.

“The negotiations began under the Engler administration, and they concluded under (Gov. Jennifer) Granholm,” Fred Hoffman, director-state relations and external affairs for DC, tells a session here at the Management Briefing Seminars. “We were still negotiating on the day of the (Granholm) inaugural.”

Still, the administrative handoff went off without a hitch, which came as a bit of a surprise to Hoffman, because Engler (Republican) and Granholm (Democrat) hail from opposing political parties.

“In terms of economic development, this administration and the previous administration operate seamlessly,” Hoffman says.

Chrysler’s investment in the two plants at Dundee will reach $650 million and will create 550 new jobs.

tmurphy@primediabusiness.com