Auburn Hills, Mich. -- Following a three-year, $750 million expansion process, production of Chrysler Corporation's all-new 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee began this week at its Jefferson North Assembly Plant in the City of Detroit.
"Because of consumer demand for Jeep Grand Cherokee, we've gone from a two-shift operation with annual capacity of 170,000 units when the plant opened in 1992, to a three-shift operation running around the clock with the capability of producing close to 350,000 units for the new model," said Gary L. Henson, Vice President - Manufacturing, Chrysler Corporation.
"We've accomplished our goal of adding over 800,000 square feet to the facility for the new Grand Cherokee, while simultaneously meeting increased demand for the previous model. The commitment of our workforce has been one of the primary drivers in our success at the Jefferson North facility in producing high quality sport-utility vehicles."
The three-year expansion process of JNAP occurred for the dual purpose of increasing production capacity along with providing an area to install and validate major assembly process equipment prior to launch of the new model. It also reduced overall conversion time of the plant from 16 to three weeks (pilot production of the new Grand Cherokee began in mid-June). All pre-production pilots were built at Jefferson North for increased quality measurements.
The overall foot print of the facility has expanded from 1.8 to 2.6 million square feet -- a total of 815,600 square-feet of additional floor space. The body shop, paint shop and final assembly all were expanded to improve quality, flexibility and increase volume for the new Grand Cherokee.
In addition, employment at the plant has more than doubled since 1992 from 2,100 workers when it opened, to over 4,300 employees today.
The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee sets new level throughout the entire sport-utility segment. With only 127 carry-over parts from the current Grand Cherokee, the new vehicle is designed, engineered and built to master every imaginable day-to-day on-or off-road situation. It will equal or better competition in every field: on-road ride and handling, off-road capability, refinement, style, efficiency, security and environmental responsibility.
The former Jefferson Avenue plant was located on the south side of Jefferson Avenue and produced a total of 8.3 million vehicles in its 83-year history. Over 1.6 million Jeep Grand Cherokees have been produced in the new plant since it launched in 1992.