AUBURN HILLS, Mich., June 15 -- The first European- built Chrysler 300C rolled off the assembly line today as production officially began at Magna Steyr's manufacturing facility in Graz, Austria.
DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group and Magna Steyr invested euro 30.7 million ($37.2 million) to add the necessary tooling and body shop stations required to bring the Chrysler 300C models on board. Magna Steyr is a wholly owned group of the Canada-based Magna International Inc.
Incorporating a third shift, the Chrysler 300C Sedan and Touring will be built in the same European body shop as the Jeep Grand Cherokee. All Chrysler Group vehicles at the plant will share the same trim, chassis and final lines.
"The introduction of the Chrysler 300C Sedan and Touring in markets outside of North America has been met with strong, positive customer response," said Dieter Zetsche, Chrysler Group President and Chief Executive Officer. "The production launch at Magna Steyr will allow us to have 300C vehicles on the ground quickly to meet growing international demand for one of our most award-winning vehicles."
DaimlerChrysler Management Austria (DCMA) worked closely with Magna Steyr in the preparation of their facility for the Chrysler 300C family. Most notably, the addition of the 300C range was already planned for when the plant went through an eight-week tooling, equipment and manufacturing process changeover at the end of 2004 and into 2005.
The body shop was completely rebuilt, and 75 percent of the conveyor line and marriage system was replaced. As a result, the flexible production line is now equipped to build multiple Chrysler Group models, while simultaneously piloting an additional model. This exemplifies Chrysler Group's lean, flexible manufacturing principles being implemented across its production facilities.
Magna Steyr will assemble the various offerings of the Chrysler 300C Sedan and Touring, including: left- and right-hand drive versions; rear-wheel and, for the Touring, all-wheel drive versions; a high-performance version -- the SRT8; and a diesel-powered model that will launch in late 2005.
The Chrysler 300C family solidifies the brand's presence in over one hundred markets worldwide. It offers customers expressive Chrysler design and personality, an all-new platform with world-class, rear-wheel and all-wheel drive technology, and exceptional interior driver and passenger space.
The Chrysler 300/300C is also produced at the Brampton Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada.
Note the "Touring" mentioned in the press release is EuroSpeak for station Wagon - also known in England as a "shooting brake"
"Picnics the way they used to be. And should be!
After a leisurely drive in an early shooting brake to an idyllic secluded location, browse a sumptuous spread with friends and family...
the classical picnic outing!"
Stapleford Park, England
Photo: The Earl of Lichfield