Chrysler’s Warren Stamping Plant (WSP) became the second facility this week to receive the bronze award for its implementation of World Class Manufacturing (WCM). Indiana Transmission Plant II won recognition as a bronze facility on Tuesday.

WSP is the first Chrysler stamping plant to achieve bronze status. It’s also the seventh North American facility to earn WCM recognition.

“The employees at Warren Stamping are to be commended for their commitment to implementing World Class Manufacturing and taking an active role in supporting the plant’s goal of achieving bronze,” said Brian Harlow, Vice President and Head of NAFTA Manufacturing, Chrysler Group LLC.

“The employees at Warren Stamping are to be commended for their commitment to implementing World Class Manufacturing and taking an active role in supporting the plant’s goal of achieving bronze,” said Brian Harlow, Vice President and Head of NAFTA Manufacturing, Chrysler Group LLC. “Employee involvement is vital to the success of WCM, so having our UAW partners at both the local and international level fully engaged in this effort has been critical in making Chrysler Group’s manufacturing facilities among the best in the world.”

WSP, which began parts production in 1949, received the bronze designation just over four years after adopting the WCM operating system.

The head of FCA Australia (Veronica Johns) resigned this week, despite rising sales; and will be replaced by Pat Dougherty, currently  the vice president in charge of Mopar’s parts and service division, which includes customer care over all North American dealerships.  Mr. Dougherty was also the head of Fiat North America and in charge of fleet sales.

pat dougherty - australia

The biggest success story for FCA Australia has been Fiat, whose sales doubled year-over-year, though some of that boost was from the Fiat Freemont version of Dodge Journey. Since the only Dodge sold in Australia is the Journey itself, sold only as a high-end version (akin to Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country in North America), Dodge sales suffered a bit, but are still 2% higher. Jeep is up 41%, Alfa Romeo 31%, and Fiat Professional up 9%. Only the Chrysler brand has fallen — down by 31%.

Ms. Johns, who had been with Chrysler Australia for 16 years, said she was stepping down for personal reasons. Mr. Dougherty will take over from Ms. Johns on December 1; he joined Chrysler in 1983.

In other Australian news, FCA replaced Karla Leach, its director of corporate communications, with Lucy McLellan, after Ms. Leach resigned.

(From drive.au, via  “Hemi 265.”)

Chrysler’s October sales month ends today, but early results show the Dodge Challenger SRT Hellcat is a big hit.

According to Dodge brand CEO Tim Kuniskis, more than 4,000 Dodge Challenger Hellcat orders were entered soon as the system was opened and the current total is now well over 5,000 orders.

Dodge expected strong consumer demand but the pace of new orders has exceeded forecasts.

One local Dodge dealer said all of the Hellcats coming into their dealership are sold and new orders won’t be offered until December. The person told Allpar that Hellcats are going for as much as $10,000 over sticker due to the limited run.

To add a little frosting to an already tasty cake, in the midst of dismal overall ratings for Fiat Chrysler vehicles in the recent Consumer Reports survey, the 2015 Challenger joined the Dodge Durango on their list of “recommended” cars.

The Hemi Hellcat V8 used in the Dodge Charger and Challenger not only generates 707 peak horsepower and 650 pound-feet of torque; it also builds up a stunning 411 pound-feet of torque at just 1,200 rpm, providing instant-on responsiveness, according to Charger/Challenger SRT chief engineer Darryl Smith.

Darryl Smith - Charger Hellcat

While showing social media folk a model Hellcat engine, Mr. Smith talked about the custom-designed, 2.4-liter supercharger, pointing out that while they started with the 392 (6.4 liter) SRT Hemi, they ended up changing 90% of the parts to deal with the added power.

On the track, we found that the Hellcat, while moderately easy to drive smoothly even with the “red key,” would jump instantly to even moderate presses on the gas pedal. It easy easy to race to over 120 mph, in the rain, on a short straightaway, despite a slow, gradual increase in power (to avoid spinning out on the treacherous surface).

More experiences will be reported on Monday; and you can listen to the Hellcat Chargers and Mr. Smith’s revelations in this brief video.


Indiana Transmission Plant II (ITPII) has become the first Chrysler transmission plant to earn an award for implementing World Class Manufacturing (WCM).

The plant achieved bronze status just over four years after adopting the WCM operating systems.

“The employees at ITPII have demonstrated their commitment to World Class Manufacturing by accelerating the rate of improvement in their plant in order to achieve bronze,” said Brian Harlow, head of NAFTA Manufacturing. “The support of the UAW at both the local and international level has been critical in making Chrysler Group’s manufacturing facilities among the best in the world.”

The Kokomo plant is the sixth North American plant to receive a WCM award. Four other facilities, the Toledo Assembly Complex, the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant, Dundee Engine Plant and Trenton Engine Complex, also have earned bronze status. The Windsor Assembly Plant earned the silver award earlier this year and is the highest ranking plant in North America.

This morning, Chrysler announced two voluntary recall campaigns affecting an estimated 33,443 light trucks.

Both recalls are to correct issues with Tire Pressure Monitoring systems.

The first is for for 23,053 2014 Ram ProMaster vans and covers a software upgrade that helps TPM sensors recognize from which tire pressure data is coming. Without the upgrade, a warning light may falsely signal that tire pressure is low. If the light is already activated, the system may not properly alert the operator if tire pressure actually becomes low.

The second campaign covers an estimated 10,390 model year 2014 Jeep Wranglers and Grand Caravan/Town & Country minivans. A test module was inadvertently left on, which could cause inaccurate tire-pressure readings and possible false warning. The module will be disabled under the recall.

Chrysler is unaware of any injuries or accidents associated with either recall.

Owners of vehicles included in the recalls will be notified next month and advised when they may schedule service, the cost of which will be borne by Chrysler Group.

Customers with questions may call Chrysler Group’s Customer Information Center at 1-800-853-1403.

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Long before the Challenger Hellcat was officially launched, Allpar noted that the engine — which we estimated at “620-680 horsepower” (depending on when the stories were written) — was being tested in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Then we wrote that it had probably been ruled out, for various reasons. Today, one source wrote that the trademarked Trackhawk name, which we had thought [...]

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