Chrysler to Reopen Viper Plant in Detroit


AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - 

Dealers know the model as “The Snake.” And it’s coming back to life in Detroit.

Chrysler decided Wednesday it will reopen its Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit for the production of the next generation SRT Viper.

The automaker recounted the Conner facility was idled when production of the Dodge Viper ended in July of last year.

With the plant’s reopening, officials contend nearly 150 jobs — both hourly and salaried — will return to the city of Detroit.

“The next generation Viper will make its return to the product lineup in late 2012 as a 2013 model,” explained Ralph Gilles, president and chief executive officer of SRT Brand and Motorsports at Chrysler.

“We’re extremely excited that our ultimate American sports car will continue to live on and be produced exclusively here in the Motor City,” Gilles continued.

Current Chrysler hourly employees who previously worked at Conner were first offered the opportunity to return to their home plant.

Officials indicated the balance of the positions will be filled by hourly employees volunteering to transfer to the Conner Avenue plant.

The OEM noted Conner Avenue will begin building the new Viper in late 2012, but employees began reporting for training and orientation this fall.

In preparation for the reopening, Chrysler highlighted the Conner facility will begin its transformation by implementing World Class Manufacturing (WCM), a system that is focused on reducing waste and making continuous improvements throughout the assembly process to improve quality and productivity.

Chrysler recollected Viper production began in May 1992 at the New Mack Assembly Plant, then moved to the Conner Avenue site in October 1995.

All Vipers that rolled off the line were hand-built in a low-volume, modular process. During the course of 15 years, officials pointed out Conner Avenue employees built about 12 vehicles a day for a total of 22,070 Vipers.

“The reopening of the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant reaffirms Chrysler Group’s commitment to the city of Detroit as the only auto manufacturer with two assembly plants in the city,” OEM officials declared.

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