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Automated System
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Larry Vellequette reported in Automotive News that Chrysler has purchased 531 acres of testing center near Naples, Florida, to expand vehicle testing. The facility will be especially useful in winter, along with its Yucca, Arizona facility. Chrysler was one of the first automakers to create an extensive testing facility in Chelsea, Michigan, a fairly good distance away from its headquarters in Highland Park (later moved to Auburn Hills). The track, which is was created by Ford, was sold to Harley-Davidson in 2002; the motorcycle company will still be leasing parts of the testing center. An anonymous source added: Chrysler built an excellent hot-weather proving grounds in Whitman, AZ in 1986. It had a 10 mile perimeter washboard road, with 4 mile oval, 2 mile oval, 2 mile straightaway, a duplicate of the Rubicon trail, a grade hill, and numerous ride-roads. There was a large, modern office building and garage/warehouse...

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Somewhere to drive by the next time I'm in Florida!
 

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I live near the Yucca facility. :)
 

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DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS!
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I've been to the Whitmann proving grounds a couple of times, it was sad when it went away. I got to see the occasional manufacturer-plated car running around as well.
 

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Mopar-nac The Moderator
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Bearhawke said:
I live near the Yucca facility. :)
And where are you DSLR pics? :)
 

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Why did Ford abandon this and where did they go?
 

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What does this mean for Chrysler? Is R&D expanding? I thought Chrysler had their own proving grounds already?
 

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dakrt99 said:
What does this mean for Chrysler? Is R&D expanding? I thought Chrysler had their own proving grounds already?
Yes, that is the point of my question. What does this give Chrysler that Arizona does not? Also, why did Ford leave and where did they go?
 

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Mopar-nac The Moderator
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Erik, from what I understand... Ford had been leasing the 531-acre property until Harley purchased it. Harley purchased it 2002 for $6.5 million from Collier Enterprises Ltd. Harley had been using the track for hot weather testing until 4 years ago when it moved its testing to its Kingman, Arizona. Harley-Davidson sold it to Chrysler for $7 million and had been asking $7.5 million for it.

Mike
 

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Yes, that is the point of my question. What does this give Chrysler that Arizona does not? Also, why did Ford leave and where did they go?
The main reason for it is year-round coast down testing. Chelsea can't do it in the winter, and Arizona has a tendency to be a bit windy.
 

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Erik Latranyi said:
Yes, that is the point of my question. What does this give Chrysler that Arizona does not? Also, why did Ford leave and where did they go?
Same thing I thought. The Yucca Proving Grounds at Kingman, was also a site that Ford once had. I think Ford just built another desert test track, but I do not recall where.
I was recently playing around with Google Earth and found two huge test tracks north of Edwards AFB, that are used by Hyundai and KIA.
I would think the Yucca Test track is better suited to Jeep and Ram, although it has a very nice high banked oval. Harley rents space there occasionally.
 

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Possibly because it is a straight shot down I-75? Sebring is also near by. Yucca is 2000+ miles from Detroit, the new site is only 1300.
 

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Mopar-nac The Moderator
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Two different styles if testing. Arizona offers one type of climate and Florida offers another.

Mike
 

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Chrysler is expanding its R&D facilities to accomodate testing for Global vehicles. Dont be surprised as more R&D facilities are purchased as Chrysler makes the leap toward selling vehicles built for the World.

Not cars made for the U.S., that are sold around the world. Walking the walk!
 
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