Chrysler LLC celebrates the manufacturing launch of the all-new 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan, Dodge Grand Caravan Cargo Van, Chrysler Grand Voyager and Chrysler Town & Country Minivans for global markets at its St. Louis South Assembly Plant in Fenton, Missouri.
Pictured from left to right are; Fred Goedtel (Chrysler VP Small Vehicle Assembly), Joe Sh
Nearly 24 years after Chrysler launched the first minivan and created a new segment of automotive transportation, Chrysler launches yet another new minivan featuring an industry-first all-new Swivel 'n GoTM seating system and a center console table. Since its introduction in 1983, Chrysler has sold nearly 12 million minivans.
St. Louis South is the third Chrysler assembly plant to implement a fully robotic body shop, giving it the ability to automatically adjust to build multiple models within cycle time. Equipment, facility and process changes began in 2006 as the plant continued to build Chrysler and Dodge minivans. The investment will reduce new-model changeover downtime.
Chrysler recently invested over $500 million in its two St. Louis-area manufacturing facilities. The manufacturing plants, both located in Fenton, Mo., are home to the Dodge Grand Caravan, Dodge Grand Caravan Cargo Van, Chrysler Town & Country and Chrysler Grand Voyager minivans (South) and Dodge Ram Standard and Quad Cab pickup truck (North).
Part of this significant capital investment provided St. Louis South with the capability to manufacture multiple types of vehicles on one line.
Produced in both right and left-hand drive, the all-new 2008 Chrysler Grand Voyager will be exported to over 100 countries. Available with either gas or diesel engines, this addition represents a significant increase in complexity and production levels for the St. Louis Assembly Plant, as the Chrysler minivan models for markets outside North America have been produced in Europe until now.
"These new products confirm Chrysler's commitment to the minivan market and maintains our leadership position in this market segment," said Fred Goedtel, Vice President - Small/Premium /Family Vehicle Assembly. "Our focus on flexible manufacturing and utilizing state-of-the art technology will help us meet customer demands for high quality vehicles."
The ability to build multiple products on the same line enables the company to build and test prototype vehicles much earlier in the launch phase. Because production tooling and processes are employed (rather than a simulated line which is often used for prototypes), the company can train operators and resolve manufacturing issues and make quality improvements much sooner.