Chrysler has marked the launch of production of the redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee with an event at its Jefferson North (Detroit) Assembly Plant (JNAP) and said it would add a second shift of production with 1,080 employees.

CEO Sergio Marchionne said the extra shift would start on 19 July and nearly all workers would be new hires.

“We are anticipating that there will be strong customer demand for the [new Grand Cherokee], so we decided it was prudent to add a second shift of production,” said Marchionne.

“The production launch signals the rebirth of the Chrysler Group,” added Marchionne. “The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a signature vehicle for Chrysler. It represents the best of this company, the direction we’re moving toward producing high quality, technologically advanced vehicles. We are confident the [vehicle] will receive the proper recognition for what it stands for when it hits the road in June.”

The nearly 3m sq ft assembly plant, located in Detroit, has been the site of Grand Cherokee production since its introduction in 1992. Chrysler is now the only automotive manufacturer still producing vehicles in the city of Detroit.

JNAP went through a complete transformation as part of World Class Manufacturing (WCM), an extensive and thorough process to restore all Chrysler Group facilities to their original and maximum functionality. Employees have planned and executed hundreds of projects aimed at improving the work environment, maximising quality, minimising waste and preparing for the new product. It is producing the new Jeep in a new flexible body shop that will deliver the most precise body dimensions ever built. Chrysler spent $686m on the Grand Cherokee programme, which included investments at the plant.

The new model offers a choice of three 4×4 systems, new Quadra-Lift Air Suspension and Selec-Terrain systems, and towing capability of 7,400 lbs. On-road dynamics are improved courtesy of new independent front and rear suspension systems and a new body structure that dramatically increases torsional stiffness for reduced noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels.

CommandView – a new dual-pane panoramic sun roof – extends from the windscreen to the rear of the vehicle.

The new 290hp 3.6-litre Pentastar V6 engine boasts an 11% improvement in fuel economy, delivering up to 23 mpg and over 500 miles on one tank of gas. The new flexible-fuel engine is standard and has variable-valve timing (VVT), double overhead camshafts and a high-pressure die-cast aluminum cylinder block in a 60-degree configuration.

Safety and security features include standard active head restraints, full-length side-curtain and seat-mounted side thorax air bags, electronic stability control, electronic roll mitigation, hill-start assist, and trailer-sway control. A blind-spot/rear cross-path detection system and adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning are optional.

Technology features offered include live mobile TV (FLO TV), Sirius backseat TV and UConnect web, which transforms the vehicle into a “hot spot” to deliver the internet directly to the vehicle.