AUBURN HILLS, MI-Chrysler Group LLC will reopen its Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit for the production of the next generation SRT Viper. With the plant's reopening, nearly 150 jobs, both hourly and salaried, will return to the city of Detroit.
The Conner facility was idled when production of the Dodge Viper ended in July 2010.
"The next generation Viper will make its return to the product lineup in late 2012 as a 2013 model," says Ralph Gilles, president and CEO, SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. "We're extremely excited that our ultimate American sports car will continue to live on and be produced exclusively here in the Motor City."
Current Chrysler Group hourly employees who previously worked at Conner were first offered the opportunity to return to their home plant. The balance of the positions will be filled by hourly employees volunteering to transfer to the Conner Avenue plant.
Conner Avenue will begin building the new Viper in late 2012, but employees began reporting for training and orientation this fall.
In preparation for the reopening, the Conner facility will begin its transformation by implementing World Class Manufacturing (WCM), a system that is focused on reducing waste and making continuous improvements throughout the assembly process to improve quality and productivity.
Viper production began in May 1992 at the New Mack Assembly plant, then moved to the Conner Avenue site in October 1995. All Vipers that rolled off the line were hand-built in a low-volume, modular process. Over the course of 15 years, Conner Avenue employees built about 12 vehicles a day for a total of 22,070 Vipers.
The reopening of the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant reaffirms Chrysler Group's commitment to the City of Detroit as the only auto manufacturer with two assembly plants in the city.
The Conner Avenue Assembly Plant was built in 1966 and purchased by Chrysler in 1995. Viper production began in May 1992 at the New Mack Assembly Plant and was moved to Conner Avenue in October 1995. Prowler production began in May 1997 and ended in February 2002. Viper V-10 Engine production was transferred from Mound Road Engine to Conner Assembly in May 2001. In 2003, the newly engineered SRT10 Roadster hit the market and the SRT10 Coupe followed in 2005. With a production run of 28,056, Viper production ended on July 2, 2010. As a result, the facility was idled.
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