June 1, 2006
All-new 2007 Jeep Compass goes into production in high-tech plant
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Auburn Hills, Michigan – The Chrysler Group has announced the manufacturing launch of the all-new Jeep Compass at its Belvidere, Illinois assembly plant. The facility was extensively retooled in 2005 and has become a flagship for the company’s adoption of flexible manufacturing, which allows the company to bring new vehicles to market more quickly and the plant to manufacture multiple products on one assembly line.
The plant began production of the Dodge Caliber in January, 2006, while the 2007 Jeep Patriot is scheduled to begin this Fall.
The core of the process is a body shop comprised of robots, rather than conventional dedicated tooling. Only the robots’ end affectors, or “hands”, need to change in order to build different models; the tool change is done automatically in the time it takes to cycle from one vehicle to the next. The plant, the first in the Chrysler Group to use a body shop comprised entirely of robotics, can vary the production mix between three products, while a fourth model can also be test-built as a pilot project at the same time.