Belevedere Plant Adding 3rd Shift for Upcoming Compass and Patriot Production

Date 2006/5/11 9:00:46 | Topic: Facilities

(from a DaimlerChrysler press release)

The Chrysler Group today announced that manufacturing operations at its Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant will be expanded to include a third work shift beginning in July 2006. The new shift will add approximately 1,000 new jobs to the 2,650-employee facility. While some of the jobs will be filled with current Chrysler Group employees from other facilities, a majority of the jobs are expected to be filled with new hires.

The Belvidere plant started building the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber in January 2006 and will begin production of the all-new Jeep® Compass this month. Production of the all-new 2007 Jeep Patriot will begin later this year. The plant is flexible enough to vary the production mix between the three products anywhere from 0 to 100 percent of each model.

"We have seen a very positive initial consumer response to the Dodge Caliber and we anticipate a similar reception for the Jeep Compass and Patriot," said Tom LaSorda, President and Chief Executive Officer – Chrysler Group. "We have already demonstrated how a flexible, highly productive workforce producing high-quality vehicles can bring consumers more of the vehicles they desire in today's competitive market. That same formula is working at Belvidere."
Belvidere, the former Dodge Neon plant, added its second shift in March. The employees are working under a new organizational model designed to foster greater creativity and innovation by providing greater support and authority to assembly line operators. The plant was retooled to build the three new models with a $419 million investment in late 2005.

"It is quite a challenge to launch three new models and two new shifts but the Belvidere team is taking on that challenge," said Kurt Kavajecz, Plant Manager – Belvidere Assembly Plant. "We are honored to have been selected to implement many new manufacturing processes and to be the home of these great products."

The Chrysler Group is the city of Belvidere's largest employer and has a significant impact on the community with 2,885 employees throughout Illinois who generate $188 million in annual wages. The 3.6 million square-foot Belvidere plant currently has 2,650 employees represented by UAW Locals 1268 and 1761. The plant was the productivity leader in its segment according to the Harbour Report North America 2005.

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