by David Zatz • Posted on April 2nd, 2012
With the Marysville axle plant open and the historic Detroit Axle plant long shut down, Chrysler has quietly begun to demolish the Detroit Axle plant on 6700 Lynch Road, directly across from the inactive Lynch Road (Plymouth) plant.
The Detroit Axle Plant is in both Detroit and Hamtramck, Michigan; built by Dodge Brothers in 1917 as a munitions plant, it was used by Graham Brothers for truck assembly starting in 1924. When Chrysler bought Dodge Brothers in 1928, truck production was moved to Hamtramck, and the plant was converted to axle production.
Detroit Axle was expanded numerous times; in 2001, the final expansion took it to a 1.2 million square foot facility on 48 acres of land. In its final year, 2009, it made front and rear drive axles for the Dakota, Ram, Grand Cherokee, and Commander; differentials for the LX cars; and trailing axles for minivans.
The fate of the site is unknown, and it is possible that Chrysler, which has been insourcing components, is planning on using it to resume production of axles and other components which are currently outsourced, possibly using licensed designs to avoid engineering costs. While Chrysler has been known to gut a building completely and rebuild its interior, the disadvantages of doing so with a building from 1917 might outweigh any savings.
Alternatively, the company could be trying to sell the land after unsuccessfully trying to sell the factory.
See more of the plant’s history and more Detroit Axle photography, then and now
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