Hills, Michigan, Jul 24, 2001 - The first all-new 2002
Dodge Ram Truck rolled off the assembly line today at the Chrysler
Group's St. Louis North Assembly Plant (SLNAP), which is the beginning
of a three-plant production ramp-up that will create the capacity
to build more than 400,000 Dodge Ram trucks annually.
held a Job One ceremony today, marking the first day customer-ready
vehicles began rolling off the production line. Joseph L. Driskill,
Missouri Director of Economic Development; and Dennis J. Hancock,
Mayor of Fenton; joined Dieter Zetsche, President & CEO of
Chrysler Group; hundreds of employees; and company, community
and union leaders at the ceremony. As part of the event, Zetsche
test drove a new Dodge Ram, declaring that SLNAP was ready for
announced a new product for the plant: the all-new Dodge Ram 2500
heavy-duty truck coming next year.
all - new Dodge Ram will once again set a new benchmark in the
truck segment by improving and amplifying every area of the truck,
from design to handling to performance and capability," said
Dieter Zetsche, Chrysler Group President and CEO. "The same
words that describe the new Dodge Ram- powerful, capable, versatile,
reliable- apply to all people who have worked so hard to bring
this truck to the market, from the people here at the plant, to
all the engineers and suppliers throughout the value chain."
flexibility of SLNAP enabled the company to reach quality targets
much earlier in the pre-launch phase by building early prototype
vehicles on the production line to validate processes and train
employees. SLNAP will continue to share best practices and lessons
learned with Saltillo (Mexico) and Warren Truck Assembly Plants
(Detroit) as they begin ramping up Dodge Ram production in August
men and women of the St. Louis North team, along with our other
stamping, powertrain and component plants, have stepped up to
the plate to make this a successful launch," said Gary Henson,
Chrysler Group Executive Vice President Manufacturing. "The
flexibility of our truck operations will allow us to adjust volume
as needed, while running at higher utilization rates, which is
much more efficient. Likewise, as part of our restructuring, we
are consolidating our truck operations to bring our capacity more
in line with the market."
year's closing of the Lago Alberto Assembly Plant (Mexico), the
company will consolidate its truck production from four to three
LOUIS NORTH ASSEMBLY PLANT
The company invested $480 million in SLNAP to launch the new Dodge
Ram, including the addition of an all new 360,000 sq. ft. body
shop. The flexibility of the plant enabled the company to build
more than 700 pre-production trucks prior to launch in order to
validate quality levels.
team has been working really hard, not only to prepare for this
launch, but making significant improvements in quality and efficiency,"
said Jim Nihls, SLNAP Plant Manager. "Through their continued
hard work they earned the new heavy-duty 2500 truck, and it was
fitting that it was announced today."
the capacity to produce 150,000 trucks annually, or 592 per day
with 2,800 employees on a normal, two-shift operation. The plant
has the flexibility to produce Regular and Quad Cab; S+, SLT,
SLT+ and Sport; 4x4 and 4x2; 3.7-liter V-6, 4.7-liter V-8 and
5.9-liter V-8 versions of the all-new 2002 Dodge Ram.
PROOFING FOR QUALITY
By using a combination of statistical process controls and performance
feedback systems (PFS), the company is error proofing its production
processes to ensure top quality. The system is designed to halt
production if quality build criteria are not met. For example,
if a bolt isn't tightened to the degree specified (measured through
the torque wrench which is connected to the PFS system) the specific
operation will shut down until it has been corrected.
also inspects vehicles throughout body, paint and assembly processes,
as well as a series of tests after the vehicles roll off the final
assembly line. Once complete, the vehicles are tested on an evaluation
course at the facility.