CANADA: Third shift adds to Chrysler plant efficiency and flexibility
The new third shift at Chrysler Group's Brampton, Ontario, plant is helping to build the new Dodge Charger, reviving a model nameplate that has been unavailable for a number of years.
The Charger - now made as a four door sedan rather than a two door coupe - is being produced alongside other Chrysler group models on which it is based - the Chrysler 300 sedan and Dodge Magnum wagon. Production began in April alongside the new sporty 300 SRT-8 sedan and production of the equivalent Magnum SRT-8 begins next week.
"We are implementing new operating procedures to make the plant even more productive, while improving quality," said Frank Ewasyshyn, executive vice president - manufacturing at Chrysler. "This is our third plant running three shifts, and that ability to maximise our manufacturing resources also helps to improve productivity."
The other two plants that run three shifts are the Windsor (Ontario) Assembly Plant, which builds the Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country minivans and the Chrysler Pacifica 'crossover' SUV, and the Warren (Michigan) Truck Assembly Plant, which produces the Dodge Ram 1500 and Dodge Dakota pickup trucks.
At Brampton, the addition of a third shift has created approximately 950 new jobs. It was implemented to increase the plant's capacity and improve its flexibility to accommodate production of the company's family of rear-wheel drive sedans. On one platform, the workers at Brampton build the 300, the 300C Touring wagon for Europe, and the Magnum and Charger, including all model variants such as the Hemi V8-powered 300C, rear-wheel and all-wheel drive variations, and high performance SRT models, and the Magnum police cruiser.
In preparation for the launch of the Charger, Chrysler Group spent $US203 million at the plant. That included $68 million to upgrade assembly operations and $57 million to improve stamping. Earlier $1 billion was spent to prepare the Brampton facility for 300 and Magnum production.
Over 26,000 customers have pre-ordered the new Charger, which Chrysler bills as "featuring modern coupe styling with four-door functionality, American rear- wheel-drive muscle car genes, [optional] Hemi V8 performance and a host of standard safety and security technology".
US prices start $22,995 (€18,200, £12,500) for a base model with standard air conditioner and steel wheels. Considering the same money buys a relatively low-specification Ford Mondeo here in the UK, that looks like good value for a large, sedan with a 3.5-litre V6 engine.