Chrysler builds New Grand Cherokee and adds 1,100 jobs

Chrysler builds New Grand Cherokee and adds 1,100 jobs

Chrysler Group LLC celebrated the launch of production of the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee at an event at the Jefferson North (Detroit) Assembly Plant (JNAP). Chrysler Group also announced that it will add a second shift of production with 1,080 employees, because it expects strong sales of the new sport utility vehicle, which is due in showrooms next month.

The second shift will start on July 19 and new employees hired for the second shift will be paid a "living wage" of between $14 and $16 per hour, but they will not get the $28 to $29 per hour paid to long-term Chrysler employees, Vice President and Director of the UAW Chrysler Department General Holiefield confirmed.

"The production launch of the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee signals the rebirth of the Chrysler Group," said Sergio Marchionne, Chrysler Group LLC CEO. He also added that Grand Cherokee is a signature vehicle for the new Chrysler, which spent $686 million on the Jeep project. It is Chrysler's first new product since the automaker emerged from bankruptcy and formed a partnership with Fiat SpA.

Marchionne also said the automaker plans to build a seven-seat Dodge sport utility vehicle off the platform developed for the new Jeep Grand Cherokee, with a very different body than the 2011 Grand Cherokee now rolling off the assembly line and that it would be ready to start building the Dodge SUV by the end of the year.

The all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee comes with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine, delivering 290-horsepower. Its design boasts an all-new sculpted body and athletic profile that define a sleek exterior and aerodynamic finesse. The interior provides consumers with more than four inches of increased rear-seat knee and leg room, and 17 percent more cargo volume.

The new Jeep Grand Cherokee also sports a lot of safety and security features including standard Active Head Restraints, full-length side-curtain and seat-mounted side thorax air bags, Electronic Stability Control, Electronic Roll Mitigation, Hill-start Assist, and Trailer-sway Control, a Blind-spot/Rear Cross-path detection system and Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Collision Warning.

2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo 4x2 pricing starts at $30,995 - $495 lower than the outgoing model and will be available in 3 models: Laredo, Limited and Overland.