Fortunately the Viper is coming back, and coming back to the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant. The factory had been home to Viper assembly since it was moved there in 1995, but has laid dormant since July 2010. Now that the next-generation Viper is coming 'round the mountain, Chrysler is re-opening Conner Avenue to the tune of some 150 jobs. The re-opening of the facility makes Chrysler, in its own words, the only automaker with multiple assembly plants in Detroit proper.
Intriguingly, the press release after the jump refers to the upcoming new Viper not as a Dodge, but rather as an SRT product. The performance division was recently spun off by Chrysler into its own unit (much like the Ram truck brand was separated from Dodge), with Chrysler's chief designer and former Dodge chief Ralph Gilles at its helm, and the language seems to indicate that the new Viper could be the brand's first product. Color us officially excited.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Dec. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
- Conner Plant reopens to produce 2013 SRT Viper
- Nearly 150 jobs to return to Detroit
- New Viper to roll off the line in late 2012
Chrysler Group LLC announced today that it will reopen its Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit for the production of the next generation SRT Viper. With the plant's reopening, nearly 150 jobs, both hourly and salaried, will return to the City of Detroit.
The Conner facility was idled when production of the Dodge Viper ended in July 2010.
"The next generation Viper will make its return to the product lineup in late 2012 as a 2013 model," said Ralph Gilles, President and Chief Executive Officer - SRT Brand and Motorsports, Chrysler Group LLC. "We're extremely excited that our ultimate American sports car will continue to live on and be produced exclusively here in the Motor City."
Current Chrysler Group hourly employees who previously worked at Conner were first offered the opportunity to return to their home plant. The balance of the positions will be filled by hourly employees volunteering to transfer to the Conner Avenue plant.
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, 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.
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. Over the course of 15 years, 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.
About the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant
The Conner Avenue Assembly Plant was built in 1966 and purchased by Chrysler in 1995. Viper production began in May 1992 at the New Mack Assembly Plant and was moved to Conner Avenue in October 1995. Prowler production began in May 1997 and ended in February 2002. Viper V-10 Engine production was transferred from Mound Road Engine to Conner Assembly in May 2001. In 2003, the newly engineered SRT10 Roadster hit the market and the SRT10 Coupe followed in 2005. With a production run of 28,056, Viper production ended on July 2, 2010. As a result, the facility was idled.
About Chrysler Group LLC
Chrysler Group LLC, formed in 2009 to establish a global strategic alliance with Fiat S.p.A., produces Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Mopar, SRT and Fiat vehicles and products. With the resources, technology and worldwide distribution network required to compete on a global scale, the alliance builds on Chrysler Group's culture of innovation, first established by Walter P. Chrysler in 1925, and Fiat's complementary technology that dates back to its founding in 1899.
Headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., Chrysler Group's product lineup features some of the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300 and Town & Country, Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Durango, Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 and Fiat 500. Fiat contributes world-class technology, platforms and powertrains for small- and medium-size cars, allowing Chrysler Group to offer an expanded product line including environmentally friendly vehicles.