The launch of the “World Engine,” billed as the largest engine program ever, is on track, Chrysler Group says.

The program will spawn 2 million 2.4L, 2.0L and 1.8L 4-cyl. engines for about 20 different vehicles worldwide, under the auspices of the Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA) that consists of DaimlerChrysler AG, Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd. and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

The first of five assembly plants launched production in March in South Korea. North America will be serviced by a pair of plants in Dundee, MI, each with capacity of 420,000 units.

The first Dundee plant will launch in September, the second a year later. Dundee will be Chrysler's sole source of 4-cyl. engines.

GEMA officials say 110 workers have been hired for Dundee to date and the workforce will reach 450 at full capacity (840,000 engines), by February 2008.

Management has been working with the United Auto Workers union, which is proceeding with the process of union certification.

Mitsubishi is contracted to take 15% of Dundee's capacity to meet its 4-cyl. engine needs. Initial plans were for Mitsubishi to source the engines in mid-2006, but the vehicles slated to use them have been delayed.