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The latest issue of the Automotive News has a front cover article on the discussions DCX has initiated with the labor groups at the Brampton plant to startup a 3rd shift to get production caught up with demand for the 300. The article goes on to talk about orders with deposits piling up, along with a related dwindling inventory of the Hemi motor (11 days compared to the 70 day supply the industry considers optimal). Dealers say 25% of the interest in the car is exclusively for the C model. Smart shoppers, I say! :)
 

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Here is the entire article.

DETROIT -- The Chrysler group is scrambling to boost production of the hot-selling Chrysler 300 at its Brampton, Ontario, assembly plant.

Union officials are lobbying for a third shift.

Although Chrysler group officials are noncommittal, they must ensure capacity for production of the Dodge Charger sedan at Brampton beginning in January.

Brampton also builds the 2005 rear-wheel-drive Dodge Magnum wagon.

The unexpected sales success of the 300 is testing the Chrysler group's production flexibility - and dealers' patience. Customers are waiting several months for delivery of the 300C, dealers say.

Inventory of the Hemi V-8 300C stands at an 11-day supply nationally, well below the 70-day supply the industry considers optimal.

"We're working with the manufacturing team on what we can do to get more output" of the 300 and 300C, says John Sloan, director of Chrysler brand car marketing. "We plan to do our best to manage the demand for the 300 and the Magnum, recognizing that we have this four-door (Charger) sedan coming."

The Chrysler group would not confirm that the Charger will be built in Brampton. But the plant is the only rwd car plant in the Chrysler group manufacturing system. Brampton has begun building Charger prototypes, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The Canadian Auto Workers has asked the automaker to consider adding a third production shift, says CAW President Buzz Hargrove.

"The next two to three months will be critical in terms of trying to come to a conclusion about whether there is enough demand for a third shift," Hargrove says.

The company declined comment on a timetable for a three-shift decision. It is too early to determine if the sustained demand exists for a third shift, said Chrysler group spokeswoman Mary Beth Halprin.

Through July, the company had orders and sales for the 300 and Magnum totaling about 146,000 units. Brampton began producing the 300 in January and the Magnum in February. For comparison, Brampton built 201,723 units in 2002 before beginning model changeover in 2003.

The plant operated with three shifts from 1998 to 2001 building the Chrysler Concorde and 300M and the Dodge Intrepid. The three vehicles were replaced by the 300 and Magnum.

A three-shift schedule would yield an estimated 1,350 vehicles daily, according to a source familiar with the situation. That is 380 more units than produced on two 8-hour shifts at the plant, the source said.

But on Aug. 9, Brampton workers began working two 9-hour shifts Monday through Friday, building 1,088 units daily, the source said. The extended shift is scheduled for 90 days.The plant also works two 8-hour shifts on Saturday and two 6-hour shifts on Sunday.

Dealers are impatient

Dealers are tapping their feet in impatience. "About 25 people a day come in looking for information on the 300C," says Eric Van Ace, general manager of David Ellis Chrysler Inc. in Canoga Park, Calif.

"We are not doing pre-sells. We have a waiting list of 316 people who we call. The V-8 models sell within an hour. The 6-cylinder turns in one or two days."

Says Alan Helfman, general manager of River Oaks Chrysler-Jeep in Houston, "The wait is eight to 12 weeks. I've got 68 sold orders with deposits."

The order bank for the 300 and 300C stands at 47,000 units, says Kevin McCormick, Chrysler group spokesman. The Magnum order bank totals 33,000 units, he says.

During the first seven months of this year, Chrysler sold 53,708 300 units. The total includes a small number of 300M vehicles. Dodge has sold 12,456 Magnums since the wagon hit the market in May.

Supply of the V-8 300C stands at 11 days; the V-6 300 is at 27 days, McCormick says. The Magnum has a 61-day supply, he says.

The Charger is a full-sized sedan based on the 300 and the Magnum's rwd chassis. Dodge dealers have pressed the automaker for a sedan since Intrepid production ended in summer 2003.

The Chrysler group will boost 300 production cautiously, Sloan says. The company wants to protect quality and foster the aura of exclusivity cloaking the sedan, he says.

"We are trying to get every additional unit, but we are going to do it prudently," he says. "We're getting feedback from customers that those who have them now appreciate the exclusivity, and those who are waiting believe it's a vehicle worth waiting for. I don't want to put a glut of product in the marketplace."

The Chrysler group was criticized when it failed to begin producing the Chrysler PT Cruiser at a second plant during the vehicle's sales heyday.

But sales of the once-hot model have slowed. Introduced in March 2000, PT Cruiser U.S. sales peaked at 144,717 units in 2001. Through July, PT Cruiser sales totaled 71,451 units.
 

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joey, good man ;) thanks for retreiving the article.
 

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Yeah, thanks joey, even if I only got to read it 3 years late...haha.

Bernie
 
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