The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Manheim’s Reconditioning Operations Help Drive DaimlerChrysler’s ‘Special Edition’ PT Cruisers to Retail Consumers

November 13, 2003

Manheim plays an instrumental role in driving DaimlerChrysler’s 2004 PT Dream Cruiser Series 3 to the retail market. The Dream Cruiser vehicles sport a two-tone paint job – a bright silver over midnight blue. While the vehicles are painted midnight blue at the factory, the silver is a custom addition performed by paint and body technicians in the reconditioning shop at Manheim’s Detroit Auto Auction in Taylor, Mich.

“As on ongoing effort by DaimlerChrysler to cut operating costs, the company was looking to sub-contract this work,” said Dave Pennybacker, quality image manager at Detroit Auto Auction. “We painted the prototype and were involved in the development of this project for two years. We bid against other nationally recognized specialty companies in the Detroit area, and we were awarded the contract.”

DaimlerChrysler will ship 1,300 Dream Cruisers to Detroit Auto Auction during the next several months, where expert paint and body technicians in the reconditioning operations will add the second tone. The facility has already received the first wave of vehicles.

“This is not a simple job, and it would have been cost-prohibitive for DaimlerChrysler to revamp its manufacturing process for this run of vehicles,” said David Nutter, Manheim’s vice president of reconditioning operations and value-added services. “Yet, it’s an ideal project for our reconditioning operations.”

The old Detroit Auto Auction reconditioning facility in Taylor was refurbished earlier this year to handle such special projects, such as the PT Cruiser.

“The paint job in itself requires great skill and precision, and on top of that, the vehicles must be disassembled before they can be painted,” said Pennybacker. “Once painted, they are reassembled and shipped to DaimlerChrysler dealerships across the nation.”

The 2004 PT Dream Cruiser Series 3 vehicle is the eighth special-edition PT Cruiser. The vehicle sports blue-tinted glass, 17-inch chrome wheels, a chrome trim package, a 220-horsepower engine and a two-tone dark gray and light slate gray leather interior. It is available with five-speed manual or automatic with AutoStick.

“What’s truly unique about this latest partnership is that it marks the first time that Manheim has been an integral partner in getting vehicles to the retail public,” said Nutter. “It also validates the significant growth opportunities available to Manheim beyond the auction business.”

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