Friday, August 22, 2008

Advanced two-mode hybrid system available in Dodge Durango Chrysler Aspen -
Intelligent implementation of new manufacturing processes manages quality, cost

AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Aug. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Chrysler LLC's
Hybrid Electric Vehicles (HEVs) began rolling off the assembly line this week
at its Newark (Delaware) Assembly Plant. Chrysler is offering the two-mode
hybrid powertrain on both vehicles built at the plant, Dodge Durango and
Chrysler Aspen.


In order to smoothly add one of the automotive industry's most advanced
technologies into their established build process, cross-functional launch
teams conducted highly accurate, cost-effective computer simulation of new
assembly processes. Similar efforts were conducted at tooling suppliers.

"The implementation of this new manufacturing process was done
intelligently, with both quality and cost in mind," said Joe Ozdowy, Plant
Manager of Newark Assembly. "I'd like to congratulate and thank the team for
their dedication while bringing these important new products to market to help
satisfy the changing needs of our Dodge and Chrysler customers."

"The members of UAW Local 1183 continue to prove that they have the
expertise, the experience, the training and the professionalism to
successfully accomplish the most demanding and complex work," said Larry
, President of UAW Local 1183. "This demonstration of excellence is
something the men and women of UAW 1183 and UAW 1212 should be proud of."

The production of early pilot vehicles was done on the plant's assembly
line which helped to root out anomalies early in the pre-production process,
helping to ensure a higher quality launch.

Production of vehicles with the hybrid powertrain differs in several ways
from production of those with conventional powertrains. New processes were
implemented to accommodate HEV production, including a unique powertrain
assembly process, and ergonomic-assist systems to aid in new functions, such
as HEV battery installation.

There are several unique components associated with HEV production that
are installed at the plant, including:

-- 300-volt battery
-- Two-mode transmission
-- Torque power inverter module (TPIM)
-- Electric air conditioning
-- Auxiliary power module
-- High-voltage cables (AC and DC)
-- Hydro-electric power steering pump
-- Hybrid gate way module
-- Cooling module
Dodge Durango was the leader in its segment for initial quality, according
to J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Initial Quality Study(SM). With the advent
of HEV production, a new series of error-proofing processes was put in place
to ensure continued quality excellence.

"We are proud of the highly skilled and dedicated employees at Chrysler's
Newark plant," Delaware Governor Ruth Ann Minner said. "The employees at
Newark Assembly continue to work hard to ensure the success of this new
product line, and we are looking forward to these new hybrid vehicles being
available to the public."

The Advanced Two-mode Hybrid System

Chrysler LLC's advanced, state-of-the-art two-mode full hybrid system --
developed in partnership with General Motors, Daimler and The BMW Group --
integrates proven automatic-transmission technology with a patented
hybrid-electric drive system to deliver the world's first two-mode full

As a result of low- and high-speed electrically variable transmission
(EVT) modes, the system is defined as a "two-mode hybrid." In addition, the
sophisticated fuel-saving system incorporates four fixed-gear ratios for high
efficiency and power-handling capabilities. During the two EVT modes, the
system can use the electric motors to improve fuel economy, acceleration, and
for regenerative braking to utilize energy that would normally be lost during
braking or deceleration. The energy is stored in the batteries for later use.

The system's two modes are optimized for city and highway driving.

In the first mode -- at low speed and with light loads -- the vehicle can
operate in three ways:
- Electric power only
-- Engine power only
-- Any combination of engine and electric power
The two-mode hybrid provides all of the fuel-saving benefits of a
full-hybrid system, including electric-only operation. In this mode, the
engine is "shut off," with the vehicle moving under electric-only power at low
speed. The result is a significant reduction in fuel consumption in heavy
stop-and-go traffic.

The second mode is used primarily at highway speeds. In addition to
electric assist, the second mode provides full power from engine when
conditions demand it, such as when passing, pulling a trailer or climbing a
steep grade.

Pricing for the full-size 4x4 sport-utility hybrid electric vehicles is
nearly $8,000 below the competition. The manufacturer's suggested retail price
(MSRP) for the new 2009 Dodge Durango HEMI(R) Hybrid is $45,340, including
$800 for destination. The MSRP for the new 2009 Chrysler Aspen HEMI Hybrid is
$45,570, including $800 for destination. Additionally, customers are expected
to receive an estimated tax credit of $1,800.

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