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  • New body shop adds more than one million square-feet to current footprint
  • Facility will build future products, beginning in 2013
  • Body shop to include state-of-the-art technology
  • Company’s total investment in U.S. facilities grows to nearly $3.5 billion since June 2009
Chrysler Group LLC Sterling Heights Assembly Plant

Chrysler Group LLC Sterling Heights Assembly Plant

October 18, 2011 , Auburn Hills, Mich. – Chrysler Group LLC announced today that it will invest $165 million to add a new one million square-foot body shop to its Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant. This follows an announcement in December 2010 that the Company would invest nearly $850 million in a new paint shop for the plant and brings Chrysler Group’s total investment in its U.S. facilities to nearly $3.5 billion since June 2009.

“Today marks another milestone in the rags to riches story of the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant. A plant that was slated to close nearly two years ago will now be a state-of-the-art facility that will play an integral role in the success of this company by building the next generation of all-new vehicles.”

-Scott Garberding,
Senior Vice President and Head of Manufacturing
Chrysler Group LLC

Chrysler Group LLC Sterling Heights Assembly Plant

Chrysler Group LLC Sterling Heights Assembly Plant

The investment includes the construction of the new body shop as well as the installation of equipment and conveyors that will be some of the most advanced in the industry.

In December 2010, Chrysler Group announced that it would invest nearly $850 million in the construction of an all-new, state-of-the-art 425,000 square-foot paint shop. In addition, some of the $850 million will be invested in the local stamping facilities in Warren and Sterling Heights.

“Last year, Chrysler made the decision to continue operating the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant indefinitely, maintaining good manufacturing jobs in Michigan and securing the future for more than 1,200 employees. Today, the plant is thriving with 900 new employees and additional investment that recognizes the commitment and dedication of this highly skilled workforce toward building a successful Chrysler Group.”

-General Holiefield,
Vice President, UAW/Chrysler Department

Chrysler Group LLC Sterling Heights Assembly Plant

Chrysler Group LLC Sterling Heights Assembly Plant

Since June 2009, Chrysler Group has invested nearly $3.5 billion in its U.S. facilities and has made significant progress toward building a successful enterprise, including:

Chrysler Group LLC Sterling Heights Assembly Plant

Chrysler Group LLC Sterling Heights Assembly Plant

About the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant

The Sterling Heights Assembly Plant was built in 1953 as a jet engine plant and was operated by the Army as the Michigan Ordinance Missile Plant with Chrysler serving as contractor building Redstone and Jupiter missiles. It was converted to an automobile plant in 1980 by Volkswagen and purchased by Chrysler Corporation in 1983.

Production of Chrysler LeBaron GTS and Dodge Lancer began in September 1984. Dodge Shadow and Plymouth Sundance production began in 1985, and Dodge Daytona production began in 1991. Through the end of the 1991 model year, the facility had produced nearly 1.3 million vehicles. Production of the 2001 Dodge Stratus and Chrysler Sebring sedans began in the fall of 2000, followed by the Chrysler Sebring Convertible. The all-new 2007 Chrysler Sebring Sedan launched in August 2006, followed by the all-new 2008 Dodge Avenger and 2008 Chrysler Sebring Convertible. The new 2011 Chrysler 200, featured in the award-winning Super Bowl spot with Eminem, and Dodge Avenger began production in December 2010. The Chrysler 200 Convertible launched in February 2011.

About Chrysler Group LLC

Chrysler Group LLC, formed in 2009 from a global strategic alliance with Fiat S.p.A., produces Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge, Ram, SRT, Fiat and Mopar vehicles and products. With the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete on a global scale, the alliance builds on Chrysler Group’s culture of innovation, first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925, and Fiat’s complementary technology that dates back to its founding in 1899.

Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., Chrysler Group’s product lineup features some of the world’s most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Challenger and Ram 1500. Fiat contributes world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small- and medium-size cars, allowing Chrysler Group to offer an expanded product line including environmentally friendly vehicles.

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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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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