The all-new 2008 JeepÃ‚Â® Liberty will be produced at Chrysler GroupÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Toledo North Assembly Plant (TNAP) in Toledo, Ohio. The all-new Jeep Liberty will be built alongside the all-new Dodge Nitro, which began production in August 2006.
The 2008 Jeep Liberty continues Chrysler GroupÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s expanding Flexible Manufacturing Strategy (FMS), allowing the Company to bring new vehicles to market quickly and efficiently; and enable its assembly plants to manufacture multiple products on one assembly line.
The Toledo North Plant was extensively retooled to manage the complexity of building two different models on one production line. The initial program investment of $638 million included multiple plant upgrades, improving quality, productivity and worker ergonomics. More than 160,000 square feet were added to the plant floor to enhance body and assembly processes. The all-new Liberty carried an investment more than 85 percent less than previous products. The vehicle is the second model of a two-model flexible manufacturing process implemented at TNAP.
The retooling of TNAP is part of $3.9 billion spent on Toledo manufacturing capabilities that include an original $1.2 billion to build Toledo North (opening in 2001) and $2.1 billion for ChryslerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Toledo Supplier Park, home of the all-new 2007 Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited four-door.
Ã¢â‚¬Å“With two new modern plants and four new products, Toledo has become a focal point of Chrysler GroupÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s flexible manufacturing capabilities,Ã¢â‚¬? said Byron Green, Vice President Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Truck and Activity Vehicle Assembly, Chrysler Group. Ã¢â‚¬Å“For years Toledo has been the home of Jeep, with the legendary Jeep Wrangler and the all-new Wrangler Unlimited. Now, the all-new Jeep Liberty continues the Jeep tradition.Ã¢â‚¬?
Flexible Manufacturing Strategy (FMS)
Chrysler Group’s Flexible Manufacturing Strategy allows the Company to produce a higher quality product faster and for lower cost. To balance production with demand, the FMS approach allows the Company to efficiently build vehicles that take advantage of a market niche, and to quickly shift production volumes between different models within a single plant or among multiple plants.
FMS is being implemented product by product and plant by plant across the Chrysler Group. New investment is introducing state-of-the-art technology to Chrysler Group plants, enabling the company to produce more than one vehicle on a production line and conduct rolling launches of new models. Additionally, Chrysler Group’s workforce is becoming more flexible with the implementation of team concepts and an increased emphasis on supporting assembly line operators.
The Liberty assembly process has the capability of being installed and launched without facility downtime due to innovative 2+1 flexibility implemented with the introduction of the Dodge Nitro. The innovative technology allows the production of two different upperbodies to be produced simultaneously on the same assembly line.
At the core of the new manufacturing process is a body shop comprising 150 new robots instead of the vehicle-specific heavy tooling that was previously used. The door, hood and liftgate assembly system is new, as are the side aperture assembly systems. Only the robotsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ end effectors, or Ã¢â‚¬Å“hands,Ã¢â‚¬? need to change in order to build the different models. That tool change is done automatically, within the time it takes to cycle from one vehicle to the next. TNAP is flexible enough to vary production mix between two products anywhere from 0 to 100 percent of each model. A third model can also be piloted Ã¢â‚¬â€ or test-built Ã¢â‚¬â€ at the same time, helping reduce the time needed to make new-model changeovers.
New methods of material flow are being implemented to manage the complexity of two models being built on one assembly line. An inbound part sequencing center is housed in the adjoining Stickney complex and manages more than 1,600 different parts that are used in the Dodge Nitro, Jeep Liberty and Toledo Supplier Park’s Jeep Wrangler two-door and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited four-door build processes. In addition to sequencing, this center provides parts metering, kitting and container management to both Toledo North and Toledo Supplier Park Assembly Plants. Additionally, a significant portion of the TNAP facility is fork-truck-free, as dollies provide materials to production areas, improving both employee safety and productivity measurements.
A new workplace organizational model, called Smart Manufacturing, is increasing the flexibility of the TNAP workforce, while fostering greater creativity and innovation from plant employees. This model is being implemented throughout the Chrysler Group’s Manufacturing organization. In addition to extensive training, the new workplace model lets employees design their own workstations. These changes provide a better work environment for employees and give increased support to assembly line team members.
“With the all-new Jeep Liberty and the new Dodge Nitro that was introduced here last year, the employees of TNAP are pleased to be contributing toward the Chrysler GroupÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s goal of world-class operational excellence” said Luis Rivas, Plant Manager Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Toledo North Assembly Plant, Chrysler Group.
Toledo North Assembly Plant
The 2.1-million-square-foot Toledo North Assembly Plant occupies 200 acres and has more than 2,700 employees working two shifts, with the third shift of approximately 750 employees to begin in the third quarter. Groundbreaking of Toledo North began in fall 1997.
A third Chrysler Group plant is located in nearby Perrysburg, Ohio. The Toledo Machining Plant opened in 1967 and produces steering columns and torque converters.
Commitment to the Community
Chrysler Group has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to invest in existing facilities and to provide good-paying jobs in urban environments. By renovating many of its existing facilities, DaimlerChrysler has been a leading corporate investor in urban America. The Chrysler Group is continuing this trend in cities such as Toledo, Ohio, St. Louis, Detroit and Warren, Mich.
In total, Chrysler Group has a significant impact on Toledo and the state of Ohio, with 7,941 employees statewide generating $465 million in annual wages and providing more than $26 million in taxable income to the state.
As a good neighbor and good citizen, Chrysler Group sponsors various community events through its philanthropic arm, the DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund.