AUBURN HILLS, Mich., June 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Nowadays, it's not just the all-new Dodge Dart that is turning heads and winning awards. Chrysler Group LLC's Belvidere Assembly Plant, home of the all-new 2013 Dodge Dart, was recognized as a winner of an Economic Development in Illinois Award (Edie). The annual award is given jointly by the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and the Illinois Development Council to recognize significant economic development projects finished in the prior year throughout Illinois. The Edies were formally presented at an event last week at the Illinois Chamber's annual meeting in Chicago.
To fully appreciate the honor of the award, one need only to look back to 2009 – when future production at Belvedere Assembly Plant (BVP) was uncertain. In June of that year, BVP implemented World Class Manufacturing (WCM), a methodology that focuses on reducing waste, increasing productivity, improving quality and safety, and restoring dignity to the employees. As a result, Belvidere employees submitted more than 20,000 suggestions and implemented more than 3,400 projects that have a potential annualized savings of $32 million – placing the plant on the path toward achieving Bronze status, the first milestone of WCM.
In recognition of those efforts, Chrysler Group – with the support of state and local government, as well as its UAW partners – announced in October 2010 that it would invest $600 million in a new 638,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art body shop and in new machinery, tooling and material handling equipment exclusively for the production of the all-new Dodge Dart.
During a ceremony in February at the plant with Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, Belvidere Mayor Frederic Brereton, and hundreds of employees, Chrysler Group Chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne announced the Company will add about 1,800 jobs at BVP, which includes the addition of a third crew and hundreds of jobs for production of the Dodge Dart, by the third quarter of 2012. Marchionne also acknowledged that the Company's investment had grown to nearly $700 million. Additionally, Chrysler Group's investment has also helped maintain 1,400 jobs at seven suppliers, and created 500 more new jobs with the opening of four additional suppliers.
"It was not by chance that we chose Belvidere to make this investment and build the new Dodge Dart," Marchionne told employees. "Our decision is evidence of the faith we have in your level of commitment and your passion to deliver great products for our customers. You have been essential in our ability to author a remarkable story of recovery.
"I want to thank Governor Quinn, Mayor Brereton and the UAW for working with us to bring jobs, investment and a new product to this area," said Marchionne. "With their help and this dedicated workforce, we are creating a work environment here in Belvidere that is dedicated to quality, and with the flexibility to compete with the best plants anywhere in the world."
DODGE DART: A Groundbreaking Car with the Ultimate Blend of Power, Fuel Efficiency, Handling and Style
The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart hits the mark with a modern, unmistakable Dodge design, which features great exterior proportions and unmistakable Dodge cues, such as the 152 LED "racetrack" taillamps and signature front grille. The exterior not only looks good, but delivers world-class aerodynamic performance, an agile, fun-to-drive experience on the road and up to 41 miles per gallon on the highway.
Interior comfort and style are on target for drivers and passengers with a modern blend of precision craftsmanship, exciting bursts of color and more interior roominess than some mid-size sedans. The new Dodge Dart offers drivers thousands of ways to personalize their car with 12 exterior colors, 14 interior color and trim combinations, three fuel-efficient engines, three transmissions, six wheel choices and five trim levels. Dart customers can choose a vehicle that fits their personality without sacrificing comfort or value. The all-new 2013 Dodge Dart offers the interior room of some mid-size sedans, class-leading safety, state-of-the-art technology and unmistakable style starting at a U.S. MSRP of just $15,995 (excluding destination).
Since its introduction in January, the Dodge Dart has won its share of awards. These include being named the "Most Significant Vehicle" of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) by AutoWeek's editors, Top 10 Cars of the Detroit Auto Show by Kelley Blue Book, and Vanity Fair Magazine's Seven Hottest New Cars at the 2012 NAIAS. The Dart was also named to Ward's "10 Best Interiors" List for 2012; and the Texas Auto Writers Association selected it the "Compact Car of Texas," "Best Value" and it's thin film transistor display received the award for "Best New Feature."
SOURCE Chrysler Group LLC