Chrysler has started production of the new Jeep Patriot at its Belvidere assembly plant, reducing production costs 85% using flexible manufacturing.

The Patriot is the third model to be produced that the plant, now the flagship for Chrysler Group’s adoption of flexible manufacturing, having been extensively retooled in 2005 for US$419m. Production of the Dodge Caliber began in January 2006 and was followed in May by the Jeep Compass.

The main cost advantage comes from the plant’s ability to produce multiple models on the same assembly line. Frank Ewasyshyn, executive vice president – manufacturing, said that thanks to this, he expects the production of three new models to cost significantly less than the initial investment made in the plant to build one product.