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The Assembly Line at Warren Ram Truck Plant

The Assembly Line at Warren Ram Truck Plant

 Robert Schwarzli/President of the Ontario Ram Diesel Owners Association- “A once in a lifetime experience.” It’s a term used far too often as a general description. For a small group of Ram enthusiasts, touring the holy grail of all things Ram was literally a once in a lifetime experience! One-hundred lucky members of the Turbo Diesel Register (TDR) got a chance to tour the Warren truck plant, Dodge City, in Warren, Michigan where Dakota and Ram Trucks are built.

So what is the plant like? Picture this: 4.2 MILLION square feet and almost a mile long! More than 900 Ram Dakota and Ram 1500 trucks come off the line EVERY DAY! To top it off, this is a closed plant; meaning even most of Chrysler’s own staff is denied entry. It’s locked down tighter than a vault at Fort Knox and we’re getting a tour! But I am getting ahead of myself as usual. Let’s get back to the start of the story.

Ram Trucks Plant Tour

Ram Trucks Plant Tour

The Turbo Diesel Register is a Ram/Cummins pickup club. The club’s Ontario, Canada chapter was able to book a tour for 100 people. Registration was on a first come, first serve basis and the tour booked in less than 36 hours! Club members from Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Maine, Virginia, Florida, Ontario, New York, Minnesota, Connecticut, Georgia, and even California and Washington showed up for the tour.

The group started early Wednesday morning with the destination of Warren set in everyone’s GPS. In the case of your author, I would be driving my heavily modified 1990 W250 Ram on the five-day tour, covering over 1500 miles. Our Ontario group convoyed to Michigan, and when we arrived at the plant, the parking lot was already buzzing with TDR members from all over the continent.

Vehicles in the parking lot consisted of Ram trucks ranging from original 1989 Cummins Rams, right up to the new 2011 trucks. Upon arrival, we checked in and proceeded to the plant auditorium, where a few Ram trucks were waiting. The truck mix consisted of a 3500 Cummins cutaway show truck, a new 1500 Long Horn, and a 1500 rolling chassis with no body, to allow for maximum chassis inspection. It was just amazing to see all of the engineering that is normally covered up by the body in person.

Q & A at the Warren Truck Plant

Q & A at the Warren Truck Plant

Around 2:00 PM, a large group of Ram engineers arrived to join us and answer in-depth questions regarding the trucks; they were joined by a special guest – Ram CEO Fred Diaz. You don’t get to meet an automaker’s CEO every day. Once everyone had arrived, the group had a photo shoot on the front lawn of the plant to remember the occasion.

Once the photos were done, we watched a presentation on the history of the plant, and we were shown a map of the plant layout. The plant does its own stamping, painting, welding, and assembly, and was originally opened as a Dodge truck plant back in 1938. Talk about a flexible, well built plant to still be in use over 60 years later!

With the plant history fresh in our minds, out onto the plant floor we went. Now, when you tour a plant of this size, it takes a long time to walk from one end to the other. So for our tour, we all got to ride on oversized golf cars. This also prevented us from walking into walls or other people due to the distraction from the assembly line!

TDR at the Warren Truck Plant

TDR at the Warren Truck Plant

So what did we see? What we saw was beyond words. We started off in the cab welding area. Here, robots take multiple sides of the cab and box, brings them all together automatically, and then welds them into one solid piece. Next up, doors and remaining sheet metal go on the body, then the body heads for paint.

Next stop was the frame assembly. The bare frame comes into the plant on railcars and is then placed onto the assembly line, where it is fitted with axles, suspension, brakes, fuel tank, wiring, steering components, and even the motor with transmission attached. Remember that body that went to paint? Well, once the chassis is complete, the body is dropped down from the ceiling by a special crane and lowered onto the truck frame.

From this point they install the interior, and any remaining body items like headlights, taillights, and under hood components are connected. By the end of the assembly line, the trucks are 100% finished and even have fuel filled into the tanks. Last stop for the trucks is a rolling chassis test to ensure that the truck accelerates smoothly and everything functions as it should. After the test, each truck goes out the door and is loaded onto a truck to head to your nearest dealer!

Touring the Warren Ram Trucks Plant

Touring the Warren Ram Trucks Plant

With the tour complete we went back into the auditorium and had a question and answer session with the Ram and Cummins engineers. Questions covered everything from body components to driveline changes – there were even a few relating to future product.

By this time the pizza had arrived, and dinner commenced with engineers, plant managers, Chrysler staff, and a few plant workers – all eating alongside the members of the TDR. With dinner coming to an end, the TDR expressed their thanks to the people of Ram for allowing this opportunity to take place. Before your author left, I made one last stop. My truck had come off the very assembly line that we toured, but on October 23, 1989. It had come home to its birthplace, so a few special photos were in order to commemorate the occasion!

As always, click on any of the images in the post to see more photos of Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Vehicles. Thanks again for checking out Chrysler Catchall!

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Today we bring you another edition of the Brandl Media Minute. Follow along with yours truly as I go through the steps needed to navigate using your Media Center 730N (RER) radio. In this episode I show you how to set your home address, use the “Guide Me Home” function, as well as how to navigate to a specific address using the built in Navigation system.

The RER radio can be found in many Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Vehicles, including but not limited to the Ram 1500, Dodge Durango, Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the all new Chrysler 300. See your local Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram dealer for more details.

2011 Ram Laramie Long Horn

2011 Ram Laramie Long Horn with 730N Media Center Radio

If you have the 430N or any of the other navigation radios found in Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Vehicles and feel left out, rest assured we will get to you soon! We will also be covering how to pair up your phone with the Media Center Radios, as we did in the past with the Uconnect 8.4 Radio in the all new 2011 Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300, as well as the 2011 Dodge Journey.

With all this technology, it’s easy to get distracted when you’re behind the wheel. Here’s what Chrysler Group LLC and Jeff Schuster with J.D. Power & Associates recently had to say about this issue:

June 29, 2011 9:44 AM- As more automotive manufacturers provide drivers with more electronic features and improved in-vehicle connectivity, expect to see a legislative effort to try to keep the roads safe from distracted driving.

That’s the prediction from J.D. Power & Associates‘ Executive Director of Automotive Intelligence Jeff Schuster. In the video above, our Betty Carrier-Newman continues her conversation with Schuster on a range of current auto industry topics.

Uconnect 8.4 in the 2011 Chrysler 300

Uconnect 8.4 in the 2011 Chrysler 300

In the latest installment, Schuster talks about what we can expect in vehicle connectivity, and what Chrysler Group is doing to ensure its Uconnect and related systems are intuitive and lets drivers stay focused on the road ahead.

As a reminder, in December 2009, Chrysler Group implemented a company-wide policy that prohibits employees and contractors from texting while driving.

As always, click any of the images in the post to see more photos of Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Vehicles. Thanks again for checking out Chrysler Catchall!

June 27, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – This Week in Motorsports is a video recap of weekend motor sports events in NASCAR, the Nationwide series and other competitions under the Chrysler LLC banner.

In other News, since FIAT Brand North America released its “Get Ready by FIAT” to the public May 13, 2011, it has receive more than 500,000 views on YouTube.

New 2012 Fiat 500

New 2012 Fiat 500

The music video features owners getting ready to meet their Fiat 500, while the Fiat 500 gets ready to meet their owners. The music highlights Vivaldi’s Concerto in D Major, Rv 228: Allegro remixed by an LA-based electronic band, The Glitch Mob.

Shot from the Toluca Assembly plant in Mexico, the video features brand new Fiat 500s on the assembly line “getting ready” to make its debut. The video captures mechanical cranes and robotic arms as an art form to mimic individuals’ bodies in the video. This modern, stylish video introduces the Fiat 500 to the U.S. in a unique way.

The video premiered at the 2011 New York International Auto Show.

You can check out the video below. As always, click on the image above to see more photos of Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Vehicles. Thanks again for checking out Chrysler Catchall!

June 25, 2011, Cannes, France – The Chrysler brand’s 2011 Super Bowl commercial, ‘Born of Fire,’ was honored today with five awards at the Cannes Lions 58th International Festival of Creativity held in Cannes, France. Four “Gold Lions” were awarded to the brand for Best Direction, Best Use of Music, Best Script, Best Automotive Commercial and Best Editing. The brand also took home a “Bronze Lion” for Best Editing. Cannes Lions is the world’s leading celebration of creativity in communications where over 24,000 entries from all over the world are showcased and judged. Chrysler brand’s national advertising campaign was created in partnership with Wieden+Kennedy of Portland, Ore.

“The Chrysler Brand is humbled to be awarded with such a prestigious honor at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The ‘Born of Fire’ commercial and the ‘Imported from Detroit’ campaign describes the comeback of the Chrysler brand and truly defines American luxury. The Chrysler brand team would like to thank all of our partners who helped us to create such an impactful campaign. However, the true honor should go to the hard-working and determined employees of Chrysler Group and the people of Detroit who served as the inspiration for this campaign and gave us the backdrop to create something truly amazing.”

-Olivier Francois
President and CEO – Chrysler Brand
Lead Executive for Marketing, Chrysler Group LLC

2011 Chrysler 200 "Born of Fire" Ad

2011 Chrysler 200 "Born of Fire" Ad

“Born of Fire” debuted at the 2011 Super Bowl and was designed to generate a conversation about the Chrysler brand and the new 2011 Chrysler 200 sedan. The two-minute commercial, which was also a Super Bowl first, ignited a spark throughout the United States, as many felt a connection to the attitude and work ethic portrayed in the scenes and narration. The spot reflects where the brand is headed and pays tribute to its industrial roots. While the commercial focused on Detroit, in many ways, it encapsulated the spirit of the country and the comeback of the Chrysler brand and Chrysler Group.

The Chrysler brand chose internationally known Detroiter, Eminem and his song “Lose Yourself” because the lyrics speak to the ability to do anything we set our mind to and that failure is not an option. The Chrysler brand, the company and its employees have adopted the principle that failure is not an option.

2011 Chrysler 200 "Born of Fire" Ad

2011 Chrysler 200 "Born of Fire" Ad

Born of Fire also revealed the tagline for the brand, “Imported from Detroit,” created to convey the message that one does not have to cross an ocean to obtain luxury – it’s available right here and evident in the Chrysler brand product lineup.

Earlier this year, the Chrysler brand introduced “Imported from Detroit” merchandise on the brand’s website (http://www.chrysler.com). The collection features an array of products with the “Imported from Detroit” logo which represents the hardworking spirit captured and celebrated in the Chrysler brand’s Super Bowl commercial. In keeping with the spirit in which the logo was created, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of “Imported from Detroit” merchandise found on Chrysler.com will go to four Detroit-area charities.

Imported From Detroit!

Imported From Detroit!

Charities are as follows:

• The Marshall Mathers Foundation

• Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan – http://www.bgcsm.org

• Habitat for Humanity Detroit – http://www.habitatdetroit.org

• Think Detroit PAL – http://thinkdetroitpal.org/index.asp

There is only one true Born of Fire commercial and it was created by the Chrysler brand. To see more photos of Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Vehicles, simply click on any of the vehicles in this post. Thank again for checking out Chrysler Catchall!

“Under the Pentastar” is a quick video recap of significant events at Chrysler Group LLC over the past week. This week’s edition includes Sterling Heights Assembly Plant paint shop groundbreaking, Fiat 500 called best new car under $18,000 by kbb.com, Mopar tracking system honored and Consumer Reports rates eight Chrysler Group vehicles.

2011 Dodge Challenger

2011 Dodge Challenger

In other news,  the 2011 Chrysler Town & Country and the 2011 Dodge Challenger ranked highest in their segments in the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS).

The Chrysler Town & Country ranked highest in initial quality in the minivan segment and the Dodge Challenger ranked highest in the mid-size sporty car segment.

2011 Chrysler Town & Country

2011 Chrysler Town & Country

Three other Chrysler Group vehicles were highlighted by J.D. Power and Associates for ranking among the top three vehicles of their competitive class: Dodge Durango in the mid-size crossover/SUV category, Dodge Grand Caravan in the minivan category and Ram Dakota in the mid-size pickup segment.

“Having five vehicles rank at or near the top of their segments is the result of a lot of hard work and long hours dedicated to updating our product line. Most automakers, including Chrysler Group, find it challenging to maintain quality levels when launching vehicles with a significant amount of new content. It’s a big accomplishment for our employees and supplier partners to achieve these initial quality results when so many of our 2011 model year launches coincided with the IQS survey period.”

-Doug Betts
Senior Vice President, Quality
Chrysler Group

2011 Dodge Durango RT

2011 Dodge Durango RT

J.D. Power and Associates surveyed owners of new 2011 model year vehicles that were registered between the months of November 2010 through February 2011. IQS measures new vehicle quality at 90 days of ownership.

In the past year, Chrysler Group has launched 16 new or significantly improved vehicles.

2011 Dodge Grand Caravan RT Man Van

2011 Dodge Grand Caravan RT Man Van

“We’ve made steady gains, improving reliability by 58 percent in the past four years, according to our internal warranty data,” Betts said. “We still have more work to do as we continue to improve the quality of all our products.”

As always, click on any of the pics in the post to see more photos of Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Vehicles. Thanks again for checking out Chrysler Catchall!

2011 Ram Laramie Longhorn

2011 Ram Laramie Longhorn

June 23, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – The Ram Truck brand continues to establish its own identity and clearly define its customer.

“As a stand-alone brand, Ram Truck is focused on truck customers – how they use their trucks and what features they’d like to see. Whether it’s a family that drives their half-ton Ram 1500 every day, a hard-working Ram Heavy Duty owner or a business that depends on its commercial vehicles without fail, Ram is going to be there for them.”

-Fred Diaz
President and CEO
Ram Truck Brand and Chrysler de Mexico

2012 Ram Cargo Van

2012 Ram Cargo Van

For 2012, the Ram Truck brand increases the capabilities of its hardest-working trucks – the Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cab trucks – and adds a new Ram Cargo Van, which expands Ram’s reach into the Class 1 segment.

Also for 2012, Ram 1500 – the most-awarded Ram truck ever – and Ram 2500 / 3500 Heavy Duty pickups get new safety, fuel efficiency and convenience features.

Ram Truck has emerged as a full-size truck leader by investing substantially in new products, infusing them with great looks, refined interiors, durable engines and features that further enhance their capabilities.

RamBox Holster

RamBox Holster

Ram trucks now boast these segment exclusives:

  • Coil spring rear suspension on Ram 1500 for best-in-class ride and handling
  • Available RamBox® lockable and lighted bedside storage
  • In-floor storage on all Ram crew cabs
  • The largest cab in the market – Ram HD Mega Cab
  • Standard six-speed manual transmission on all diesel models
  • 3,600-lb. towing for Class 1 cargo vans
2011 Ram 4500 ST Chassis Cab

2011 Ram 4500 ST Chassis Cab

The Chassis Cab trucks provide customers with first-time innovations and features along with new standards of strength, utility and driveability. Building on Ram Truck’s leadership in the heavy-duty pickup segment, Ram’s commercial-grade work trucks are built on proven frames and chassis, and engineered for maximum uptime, low cost of ownership, optimum performance and enhanced commercial capability.

“The commercial truck segment is all about total cost of ownership,” added Diaz. “When you account for fuel economy, brake wear, tire wear and the best powertrain warranty in the business, Ram Chassis Cab trucks offer the lowest cost of ownership. Also, the new Ram Cargo Van, with its class-leading capability and a lower total cost of ownership, is a great vehicle choice for small businesses and commercial fleets.”

2011 Ram HD Truck Cummins 6.7L Turbo Diesel

2011 Ram HD Truck Cummins 6.7L Turbo Diesel

Equipped with a choice of engines, including the legendary 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 engine or the powerful 6.7-liter Cummins Turbo Diesel, Ram Trucks offer the best powertrains in the industry and are known for their reliability. The 5.7-liter HEMI engine offers an amazing combination of power and fuel economy with 390 horsepower and 20 mpg highway. The Cummins Turbo Diesel-equipped Ram pickup is the only heavy-duty pickup to meet 2012 EPA compliance rules, without the need for a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF).

A partnership that extends back more than 20 years, Ram Truck and Cummins have delivered billions of miles of customer reliability. Cummins-equipped Ram trucks with more than 300,000 miles are common, while others have surpassed one million hard-working miles. All Ram Truck engines, transmissions and axles are covered by a segment-leading five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Ram Power Wagon

Ram Power Wagon

Also returning for 2012 is the award-winning Ram Power Wagon. The Ram Power Wagon is the most capable factory-equipped off-road-ready pickup truck on the road. It’s equipped with electric-locking front and rear differentials, an electronic disconnecting sway bar, Bilstein shocks, 33-inch BFGoodrich off-road tires, underbody skid plate protection, a 4.56 axle ratio for hill climbing and a custom-built Warn 12,000-lb. winch cleverly hidden behind the front bumper.

Truck customers – from half-ton to commercial – have a demanding range of needs and require their vehicles to provide high levels of capability. The Ram 1500, 2500, 3500 pickups; 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs and Ram Cargo van are designed to deliver a total package.

BusinessLink and Brandl Motors

BusinessLink and Brandl Motors

BusinessLink: The fast lane for small business

BusinessLink is a free program that connects business owners with a network of Chrysler Group dealers that are specially equipped to work with small businesses. Nationwide, Chrysler Group’s more than 490 BusinessLink dealers offer the convenience of one-stop sales and service essential to help commercial / small businesses stay on the road to profitability.

Business owners may access this free membership program with proof of business ownership at any BusinessLink dealer. Benefits include no dues or fees, specialized in-dealership commercial / small business sales and service personnel, extended service and repair hours, priority next-available-bay service, free shuttle service, 24/7 towing service, free loaners for select vehicles, expertise in commercial financing options and unique business variable incentives.

Find a local BusinessLink dealer at (877) 2THELINK or on the web at http://www.chryslerbusinesslink.com.

2011 Ram Outdoorsman

2011 Ram Outdoorsman

On The Job: The cost of doing business just went down

Chrysler Group’s On The Job vehicle program provides commercial / small business owners a variety of incentives and discounts to assist them in purchasing, servicing, maintaining and customizing vehicles to specifically address their unique professional needs. Among them:

  • Up to $1000 in custom commercial upfit allowances
  • Up to $1000 on vehicle graphics; allowing owners to turn their professional vehicle into a mobile rent-free advertising machine to promote their businesses
  • Up to two years of free oil changes

Small Business / Commercial incentives can be combined with all other retail incentives. These On The Job programs are designed to help business owners reduce the cost of doing business by doing business at any of Chrysler Group’s 2,300 dealerships. Most Chrysler Group vehicles qualify for On The Job program advantages when the vehicle is purchased for business use.

For On The Job program information, call (877) ONTHEJOB or click on http://www.dodge.com/en/commercial/programs_discounts/.

June 22, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – This Week in Motorsports is a video recap of weekend motor sports events in NASCAR, the Nationwide series and other competitions under the Chrysler LLC banner.

Take a look behind the scenes of  Chrysler Group‘s early and extensive testing and validation process for ease of use of the new UConnect advanced hands-free communication system. The system is currently in the Dodge Journey, Charger and the Chrysler 300. It offers users the opportunity to use their mobile devices wirelessly via bluetooth to make phone calls, stream music, and a host of other great features. Certain radios also offer navigation, as well as being able to control the climate inside of the vehicle! Check out the video above to see some of the extensive research and development that went into making the Uconnect radio system so user friendly.

2011 Dodge Journey with Uconnect 8.4

2011 Dodge Journey with Uconnect 8.4

Also, Brandl Motors has introduced a new video series called the “Brandl Media Minute” starring yours truly. We will be going through the finer points of how to operate some of the advanced systems found on today’s Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram vehicles. The first episode covers how to pair your bluetooth enabled phone with your Uconnect 8.4 Radio found in the 2011 Dodge Journey, Charger, and Chrysler 300. Check out the video below and let us know what you think!

As always, click on any of the images in the post to see more photos of Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Vehicles! Thanks again for checking out Chrysler Catchall!

June 17, 2011 10:21 AM- It is never a dull week at Chrysler Group LLC with so many exciting and important events always occurring. This week started off with a celebration, as nearly 40,000 people gathered at the company headquarters for “Family Day” on Saturday to enjoy food, entertainment and product displays.

The exciting events continued throughout the week and they’re all highlighted by our own Pete Misiak for us…Under the Pentastar:

Chrysler Group LLC Sterling Heights Assembly Plant

Chrysler Group LLC Sterling Heights Assembly Plant

In other Chrysler news, Fred Goedtel, Vice President and Head of Assembly Operations, Chrysler Group LLC, and Sterling Heights Mayor Richard Notte will join UAW representatives and invited guests to celebrate the beginning of construction of a new paint shop at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant. The company announced in October 2010 that it was investing $850 million to update the plant with a state-of-the-art paint shop for the production of future products.

As always, click on any of the photos in the post to see more photos of Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Vehicles. Thanks again for checking out Chrysler Catchall!

Jeep 70th Anniversary Celebration in Moab, Utah

Jeep 70th Anniversary Celebration in Moab, Utah

June 6, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – In celebration of this milestone and to keep the Jeep® brand momentum alive, the full-line of Jeep 70th Anniversary Edition modelsGrand Cherokee, Liberty, Compass, Patriot, Wrangler/Wrangler Unlimited – were presented against the red rock and glistening waters of the Colorado River.

Jeep 70th Anniversary Celebration in Moab, Utah

Jeep 70th Anniversary Celebration in Moab, Utah

Showcasing the evolution and innovation of the legendary 4×4 leader, seven key historical models illustrated important milestones in the Jeep brand’s history – not in a museum, but in the rugged outdoors where they belong:

  • 1944 Willys-Overland “Jeep” MB
  • 1945 Willys-Overland Jeep CJ-2A
  • 1949 Willys-Overland Jeep Station Wagon
  • 1963 Jeep Wagoneer
  • 1984 Jeep Cherokee
  • 1987 Jeep Wrangler
  • 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep 70th Anniversary Celebration in Moab, Utah

Jeep 70th Anniversary Celebration in Moab, Utah

In addition, five customized Jeep vehicles fresh from the 45th annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari provided a taste of new potential Jeep production and customization ideas in a true Jeep setting. The Jeep “image” vehicles included were the Wrangler Pork Chop, Wrangler Renegade, Compass Canyon, Cherokee Overland and the Grand Cherokee Off-Road Edition. More than 30 percent of the people who are in the market for a new vehicle are influenced by the vast selection and availability of aftermarket Mopar® accessories, which fit a variety of lifestyles.

Jeep 70th Anniversary Celebration in Moab, Utah

Jeep 70th Anniversary Celebration in Moab, Utah

This international media event produced outstanding photography and b-roll that features Jeep brand vehicles with the breathtaking landscape in Moab. To see more photos from the event as well as photos of Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram Vehicles, click on any of the images in the post. Thanks again for checking out Chrysler Catchall!

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