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Unread 2009-11-10, 11:57 AM   #43
JDLM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
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Chrysler will learn how to make cars in the Italian style

2010 Chrysler 300CFiat S.p.A. doesnít have the reputation of producing quality cars in Europe and yet, its engineers are coaching their Chrysler Group counterparts on producing high-quality cars quicker and more cheaply. At last weekís presentation of Chryslerís five-year plan, Doug Betts, Chryslerís senior vice president for quality, said that the company was aware of these issues.


Betts said Chrysler has adopted Fiatís assembly line audit system and durability testing methods. But Fiatís way may not be all that much of an improvement. In Europe, Fiatís quality has been improving but is still well below average. In J.D. Power and Associatesí 2008 Customer Satisfaction Index studies for France, Germany and the United Kingdom, Fiat scored in the bottom quarter of more than 20 brands in vehicle quality and reliability. Nonetheless, one change from Fiat that no one will argue with is an order to keep manufacturing equipment clean.

Scott Garberding, interim head of manufacturing, said itís far easier to spot problems on clean, uncluttered equipment and work areas. Betts, who joined Chrysler in 2007 from Nissan North America Inc., said Chrysler has adopted Fiatís quality audit standards, which require better fit and finish. In fact, outside auditors are being brought in to assembly lines to take up to 320 measurements.


Chryslerís new wing logo gets patent approval

Chrysler and Fiat CEO, Sergio Marchionne, revealed the companyís 5-year product plan. Marchionne describes the moment as being the ďfirst day of a new Chrysler.Ē

Among the massive changes, there will be a new logo to work alongside product refreshes in changing brand associations in the minds of consumers. The logo that has been in use since the mid-90s was streamlined, moving the ĎChryslerí lettering from above the wings to at their heart within a new blue block central to the design.


Chrysler has reported sales plunges across its brands. However, in 2011, it expects to break even, following the repayment of some $9 billion in government bailout money and a rise in revenue from $42.5bn in 2010 to $67.5bn in 2014. What these targets mean is that the company will be required to double global sales from 1.3 to 2.8 million vehicles. The brand change is significant and it reflects an ongoing restructuring that begins with a new 5-year product plan. Marchionne said that improvements were seen even before the development of new products.

He asserted that the break-even was achieved in September and the last few months have seen more money roll in than out. With this, Marchionne remained confident the cash wonít deplete as new models are developed off Fiat technology. By 2010, itís anticipated that ďemergencyĒ facelifts will renew 75% of the line-up while the remainder will be refreshed by 2012. This strategy will align with a range of new platforms from both Chrysler and Fiat arms. The Fiat 500 will place Chrysler into a new B segment market, while two further platforms set to be received from Fiat will allow new C and D segment offerings. New Chrysler platforms will underpin models in SUV, Minivan and CUV segments
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