A high-profile event in celebration of the manufacturer launch of the 2009 Dodge Ram at Chrysler's Warren Truck Assembly Plant was celebrated on September 12 by approximately 1000 attendees, including Jim Press, Chrysler LLC vice chairman and president, Governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, and other Chrysler employees and local dignitaries.
Approximately $220 million was invested into the Warren plant to prepare for the production of the new Ram. The Michigan Economic Development Council has supported the plant investment in many ways to ensure the availability of jobs for Michigan workers. Training funds to support the transformation also were provided by the Council. Governor Granholm was supportive of the production launch: "Today's launch of the all-new 2009 Dodge Ram demonstrates Michigan's continued leadership in the global auto industry. We are proud to support Chrysler's commitment to invest in Michigan and create jobs for Michigan workers."
The changes to the plant in preparation for production of the 2009 Dodge Ram involved a focus on customer satisfaction and manufacturing quality. More than 150,000 hours of training was put in over the past two years to ensure a high-quality launch. A change in work structure moved much of the plant workforce into working in small, self-directed teams rather than a traditional plant work-line. The change into teams helps with quality assurance more than anything else; now there are five times more quality-assurance team members on the floor.
The importance of in-station quality helps to address potential customer satisfaction issues. Changes have been made to productions areas such as body shop robotics, final assembly area, interior trim shop, and the chassis shop. Quality metrics have already shown improved quality since starting new production processes, with the metrics being provided from customer expectation surveys. The 2009 Dodge Ram will be the first vehicle to benefit from the new production processes implemented at the Warren Assembly Plant.
The 2009 Dodge Ram crew cab and Quad Cab pickups are also being built at the Warren location.
The plant has implemented a number of green initiatives and is ISO 13001 Certified. Natural gas is the only source of fuel, and low-energy light bulbs are used in conjunction with motion detectors to control light usage. A regenerative thermal oxidizer captures and re-uses heat. Shop solvents are redistilled and reused. Materials recycled include tires, oil, mercury, batteries, and many others.
The 2009 Dodge Ram also is being produced