AUBURN HILLS, MI
– The Chrysler Group has launched production of the all-new 2007 Chrysler Sebring Sedan at its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (SHAP), which formerly produced the Sebring, Sebring Convertible, and Dodge Stratus Sedan. The Chrysler Sebring Sedan represents Chrysler Group’s expanding Flexible Manufacturing Strategy (FMS), allowing the company to bring its new vehicles to market more quickly and the assembly plants the ability to manufacture multiple products on one assembly line.
The Sterling Heights Assembly Plant was extensively retooled to manage the complexity of building multiple models on one production line. The Chrysler Sebring program investment of $500 million included multiple plant upgrades, improving quality, productivity, and worker ergonomics. SHAP is now able to vary production mix between three products anywhere from 0 to 100 percent of each model and pilot a fourth.
$278 million was invested at Sterling Heights Assembly Plant to overhaul the body shop and improve the paint shop and assembly areas, including new tooling and about 620 new welding and material handling robots. Further, the plant has the capability to build multiple upper bodies and multiple car platforms, which will allow for the flexibility to add new models or “cross- load” models from other plants in order to better meet the dynamics of the market. The plant has the ability to also produce the Dodge Caliber should market demand lead to that in the future. These new capabilities will support the company’s pursuit of product leadership by providing the flexibility to efficiently manage increased distinction between the Chrysler, Jeep, and Dodge brands.
Another $228 million investment improved stamping operations at Sterling Stamping Plant. Sterling Stamping replaced 50 material handling and weld robots and introduced new state-of-the-art processes and capabilities, such as new lean die standards and Common System Architecture (CSA) lines. New lean die standards will reap a 45 percent cost savings over current standards and processes. The new CSA lines allow for greater flexibility by allowing more than one product to be welded and assembled on the same line, while also reducing waste and improving quality. CSA lines can support the manufacture of multiple products and one pilot product at the same time — a significant improvement from the one line, one product standards of the past.