February 13, 2007
Chrysler Group starts production of Jeep Patriot
2007 Jeep Patriot. Click image to enlarge
Auburn Hills, Michigan – The Chrysler Group has announced the start of production for the all-new 2007 Jeep Patriot at its Belvidere, Illinois Assembly Plant. The new Patriot is the tenth all-new vehicle for the 2006 calendar year; it is built on a fully flexible assembly line alongside the Jeep Compass and Dodge Caliber.
“We are now seeing the results of our flexible manufacturing strategy, which we believe is a competitive advantage for the Chrysler Group,” says Frank Ewasyshyn, Executive Vice President, Manufacturing. “Thanks to Belvidere’s ability to build multiple models on one assembly line, we expect the production of three all-new models to cost significantly less than the initial investment we made in the plant to build the Dodge Caliber.”
Belvidere is Chrysler Group’s first assembly plant to use a body shop comprised entirely of robotics; only the robots’ end affecters, or “hands”, need to change in order to build different models. The tool change is done automatically within the time it takes to cycle from one vehicle to the next. The plant is flexible enough to vary the production mix anywhere from zero to 100 per cent of each model, and a fourth model can also be piloted at the same time. The new body shop and other upgrades are part of a total US$419 million Belvidere investment announced in 2005.