Press Release: Auburn Hills, Mich - 1/4/01
Chrysler Group announces new production strategy for Jeep.
DaimlerChrysler Corporation will invest an additional $35 million in its new $1.2 billion Toledo North Assembly Plant (TNAP) in order to have greater flexibility to adjust production volume and add new products more easily.
The company is installing new equipment which will allow it to ramp up maximum production of the all-new Jeep. Liberty on a two-shift operation, while improving productivity.
As the company's newest assembly plant, TNAP was designed and built to be flexible enough to adjust volumes quickly, and ultimately build two separate products as well as prototypes of a third. The new investment, which consists of a building expansion, conveyors and other production and maintenance equipment, will enhance its ability to be flexible while making the manufacturing process more ergonomically friendly for the workforce.
"This investment in the new plant demonstrates the company's long-term commitment to the community and our workforce," said Gary Henson, DaimlerChrysler Corporation Executive Vice President - Manufacturing. "It will also help safeguard thousands of jobs in the Toledo area. Flexibility is crucial to the future of our manufacturing operations. Having the ability to react quickly to the market and build multiple models on the same production line will increase our competitiveness, quality and speed as we move forward."
Jeep Cherokee Production
DaimlerChrysler will discontinue Jeep Cherokee production by the middle of this year. Originally scheduled to end production in November 2000, the company continued production in order to meet demand in the market place.
"The Jeep Cherokee has had one of the longest and most successful rides in the history of the automotive industry," said Tom Sidlik, DaimlerChrysler Executive Vice President of Procurement and Supply and General Manager - Jeep Operations. "Jeep invented the compact SUV segment with Cherokee 18-years ago, and with the launch of the all-new Jeep Liberty, we will further enhance and broaden the overall Jeep brand."
As the company prepares to launch the new Jeep Liberty this spring at TNAP, employees from Jeep Cherokee production have been transitioning to the new operation to train for the production ramp up. Ending Cherokee production this year will ensure a smooth transition and a stable launch of the Jeep Liberty. Currently about 500 employees have been trained and are working in the new facility.
The Jeep Cherokee is built at the Parkway Assembly Plant, which will continue building Jeep Wranglers.