* Manufacturing flexibility allows multiple products to be produced at one plant
* First mid-sized Dodge SUV will ignite segment with distinctive style
* $600 million investment expands plant by 160,000 square feet, adds 150 new robots
Toledo, Ohio, Nov 28, 2005 –
The Chrysler Group today announced that the all-new 2007 Dodge Nitro will be built at the Chrysler Group’s Toledo North Assembly Plant (TNAP) alongside the Jeep® Liberty. This will be the first non-Jeep product to be built at the Toledo complex, long the home of the iconic Jeep Wrangler, in over 10 years.
“The employees and management of the Toledo North Assembly Plant have made it one of the most progressive manufacturing facilities in our system,” said Byron Green, Vice President – Truck and Activity Vehicle Assembly. “By implementing a process whereby employees work together in small teams and take more control over their daily work, this team has positioned itself to become the home of Chrysler Group’s newest model.”
The Toledo Complex is made up of the Toledo North Assembly and Toledo South Assembly, which has been building Jeep brand vehicles since the 1940s. The addition of the Dodge Nitro to Toledo North Assembly, which opened and started producing the Jeep Liberty in 2001, is part of a wave of good news at the company’s Toledo operations.
“The men and women of UAW Local 12 are implementing world-class processes to build world-class vehicles,” said Lloyd Mahaffey, Director – UAW Region 2B. “We stand ready to take on the competitive challenges from around the world.”
Part of the total Dodge Nitro program investment of $600 million is being allocated directly to the plant for many upgrades that will make it ready to manage the complexity of building two different models on one production line. The plant is getting several expansions totaling over 160,000 square feet. Other changes in the plant involve new equipment, including over 150 new robots, new conveyors as well as important new processes that will contribute to the plant’s productivity and quality.
The improvements at the plant help give it the capability to build pilot vehicles on the assembly line, which reduces waste and speeds time of development. Further improvements will also be made to body, trim and paint operations. Process improvements such as new material handling operations and increased use of pre-assembled components will also contribute to improved productivity.
The 2.10 million square foot Toledo North Assembly Plant occupies 200 acres and has more than 2,500 employees represented by UAW Local 12. Groundbreaking of the new plant was in the fall 1997. Production of Jeep Liberty launched April 2001.
An all-new South plant, which will begin building the replacement for the current Jeep Wrangler in the summer of 2006, replaces the current assembly site and will be operated by the Chrysler Group and three supplier/partners who will manage unprecedented levels of the manufacturing operation. This “supplier park” frees Chrysler Group capital to be invested in new product development.
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