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from a Chrylser Press release:

Production of All-new 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs off to a Great Start at Chrysler LLC's Saltillo Assembly Plant

PRESS RELEASE:

  • Addition of two all-new medium-duty trucks expands Saltillo production capabilities to seven vehicles
  • Flexible manufacturing capability allows production of multiple vehicles at one plant
  • $48 million investment provides 120,000 square-feet of expansion for commercial vehicle production
  • Delivering maximum uptime, value and power, all-new 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs offer dominant commercial capability, durability and dependability
  • New truck continues Dodge's commercial vehicle expansion, while delivering Ram-tough heritage and leadership to the Class 4-5 medium-duty truck markets
Auburn Hills, Mich. – Production of the all-new 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs is underway at Chrysler LLC's Saltillo Assembly Plant in Saltillo, Mexico. The Saltillo Plant—which also produces the Dodge Ram Mega Cab, Dodge Ram Power Wagon, Dodge Ram Heavy Duty 2500 and 3500 models, and Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab—takes on production of the Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs as part of Chrysler's Flexible Manufacturing Strategy (FMS).

To support new commercial vehicle production, Chrysler recently invested an additional $48 million into the plant, resulting in a 120,000 square-foot expansion that allows the plant to produce commercial vehicles and accommodate new frame configurations. This follows an additional $210 million investment into the plant for production of the all-new 2006 Dodge Ram Mega Cab in 2005. Dodge Ram 4500/5500 production got underway in July 2007, with the first vehicles reaching Dodge commercial vehicle dealerships in November.

In addition to increased production capacity, the expansion enables the plant to manage the greater complexity of the all-new 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs. This includes commercial-grade chassis and suspensions, four wheelbases (144, 168, 192 and 204 inches) and cab-axle lengths (60, 82, 105 and 120 inches), regular cab and Quad Cab® configurations, two-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive models, and three trim lines—ST, SLT and Laramie. All models are "Job-rated," meaning they are designed, engineered, tested and built to meet the rigid standards of commercial truck buyers.

“A continuous showcase of advanced manufacturing capability and adaptability, the Saltillo facility is one of our most versatile plants and a great example of Chrysler’s flexible manufacturing ability,” said Frank Ewasyshyn, Executive Vice President – Manufacturing. “Even with the added complexities of commercial vehicle production, we’re not only able to adjust operations to better respond to customer needs, but we’re also better positioned to build a positive business case for new products and derivatives as each plant is able to maximize production capacity.”

The Saltillo Assembly Plant has 2,100 employees working on two shifts and is one of five Chrysler production facilities in Mexico.

Flexible Manufacturing Strategy (FMS)

Chrysler's Flexible Manufacturing Strategy allows the company to produce a high-quality product faster and at a lower cost. In order to balance production with demand, the FMS approach allows the company to efficiently build lower-volume vehicles that take advantage of market niche and to quickly shift production volumes between different models within a single plant or among multiple plants.

FMS has been implemented product-by-product and plant-by-plant across the Chrysler manufacturing enterprise. Creating enhanced efficiencies, new investment is introducing state-of-the-art technology to Chrysler plants, enabling the company to produce more than one vehicle on a production line and conduct rolling launches of new models. Chrysler's workforce is also becoming more flexible with the implementation of team concepts and an increased emphasis on supporting assembly line operators.

2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs

Showcasing dominant commercial-grade capability, durability and dependability while extending bold, tough Dodge Ram heritage to the Class 4 and 5 commercial markets, the all-new 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs deliver maximum uptime and offer leading powertrain packages, a commercial-grade upfit-friendly chassis and bold, "big-rig" Ram styling.

Loaded with a “big-truck” look and feel, Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs boast a legendary Cummins turbodiesel in a 6.7-liter displacement as standard and a six-speed automatic or manual transmission. Together with class-leading brakes, a standard diesel exhaust brake system extends brake life while giving the driver increased control. With a commercial-grade frame (50,000-psi steel) to maximize strength and reduce weight, flat “clean” frame rails help facilitate ease of after-market upfits or retrofits.

Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs also boast numerous best-in-class advantages including the segment’s largest standard fuel tank (52 gallons), best-in-class first-gear launch, largest front brake rotors (390 mm) and brake caliper piston size (66 mm), and segment exclusive YES Essentials® stain resistant, odor resistant, anti-static seat fabric. Warranty coverage includes a five-year/100,000-mile Cummins diesel engine limited warranty and a three-year/180,000-mile automatic transmission limited warranty.

“The all-new 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs not only continue Dodge’s commercial vehicle expansion, but these powerful, capable work trucks fill yet another white space opportunity within the commercial vehicle market,” said Ewasyshyn.

Covering a broad spectrum of demographics, the typical customer for the Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs includes small business tradesmen, fleet customers and traditional chassis cab users.

Dodge Commercial Vehicles

Dodge continues to increase the breadth of its commercial products and offers a comprehensive array of vehicles and services designed with business customers in mind. Along with the Dodge Ram 2500/3500 Box-Off models and the Dodge Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs -- the Class 3-5 segments’ most powerful, capable and upfit-friendly work-trucks -- Dodge Grand Caravan cargo vans complement a growing Dodge commercial lineup that includes the class-leading Dodge Sprinter, which continues its legacy and leadership as the top-performing commercial van in the marketplace.

Dodge BusinessLink

Launched in 1999 and offering no-cost enrollment, Dodge BusinessLink is a full-service commercial program comprised of a select network of Dodge dealers who know and understand the unique vehicle needs of small businesses, fleet managers and other commercial vehicle customers. Providing exclusive benefits, Dodge BusinessLink dealers offer unprecedented business assistance including dedicated commercial account managers and sales teams, dealer inventories representing a higher mix of work-truck and other commercial vehicles, next in-bay service and technicians, extended hours to minimize downtime, free loaner vehicles and more. BusinessLink also includes Dodge’s “On The Job” program which offers discounts on upfits and direct cash incentives and savings on almost all Dodge commercial vehicles.

Dodge Brand

With a U.S. market share of 6 percent, Dodge is Chrysler’s best-selling brand and the fifth largest nameplate in the U.S. automotive market. In 2006, Dodge sold more than 1.3 million vehicles in the global market. Dodge continues to lead the minivan market with a 20 percent market share in the U.S. In the highly competitive truck market, Dodge has an 18 percent market share. Dodge is also entering key European volume segments with Nitro, Caliber and Avenger.

Source: Chrysler Media Services
 

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