May 25, 2016 , Detroit - The FCA US Jefferson North Assembly Plant celebrated a significant milestone today when the 6 millionth vehicle produced at the Detroit facility - a 75th anniversary edition 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee - rolled off the assembly line. In its 24-year history, the plant has built enough vehicles to circle the globe one and a half times.
The 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine of the granite crystal Grand Cherokee Limited 4x4 roared to life around 8:30 p.m. as Jefferson North employees performed final quality checks and prepared it for delivery to a customer in Michigan.
"Reaching this milestone is a reflection of this plant's commitment to supporting the continued growth of the Jeep brand around the world and playing a role in the comeback of Detroit," said Curt Towne, Jefferson North Plant Manager. "Our employees are proud to be part of this unique time in the history of both the Company and the City. They understand that not only are they contributing to the success of FCA US, but they are proving that Detroit will always be the Motor City."
To keep up with demand, nearly 4,500 people work at the 3-million-square-foot facility on an alternative work schedule, meaning three crews work two 10-hour shifts each day, six days a week. It takes a day and a half for a vehicle to travel from the body shop, where body panels are welded together, to when the vehicle rolls off the assembly line. In 2015, the plant produced 365,542 vehicles. Nearly 25 percent of the plant's production is shipped to 135 markets around the world.
One of three FCA US manufacturing facilities located in Detroit (the other two are the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, home of the Dodge Viper, and the Mack Avenue Engine Complex), Jefferson North has been pumping out vehicles since 1992. Chrysler invested $1.2 billion to bring the first Grand Cherokee to market, which included vehicle research and development, vehicle engineering, and construction of and equipment for the new Jefferson North plant. The groundbreaking for the new plant was on May 31, 1989. The first Jeep Grand Cherokee rolled off the line on Jan. 14, 1992.
In addition to the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jefferson North also produced the Jeep Commander from 2005-2010 and began production of the Dodge Durango in December 2010. The plant celebrated the 5 millionth vehicle produced - also a Jeep Grand Cherokee - at the plant on Aug. 13, 2013.
The former Jefferson Assembly Plant, built in 1907 by Chalmers Motor Car Company, was twice the size of the current plant's original footprint (3.6 million square feet compared to 1.75 million square feet, respectively) and produced a total of 8,310,107 vehicles in its 83-year history.
Video (04:11): Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, Michigan celebrated a manufacturing milestone, as a Jeep® Grand Cherokee rolled off the line as the six-millionth vehicle produced in the plant's history.
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