By on February 19, 2010


Chrysler Group LLC has some serious faith in its planned Sebring “intervention,” as it has purchased the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant back from the estate of its bankrupt predecessor for $20m. According to the Detroit News, the move was necessary to secure $8.2m in local tax abatements, and as a result, the Sebring and Avenger will continue to be built there until 2012. But, warn ChryCo spokesfolks, “There is no commitment on the future of SHAP beyond 2012,” when the refreshed Sebring will finally be replaced by a new midsize sedan based on a Fiat platform.

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15 Comments on “New New Chrysler Buys Sterling Heights Plant From Old New Chrysler...”


  • avatar
    windswords

    My guess is they will keep it. IIRC FIAT was very impressed with SHAP. I believe they have a stamping plant as well as an assembly plant. The plant is flex capable so it can build more than one model. I thought I read somewhere on Allpar that FIAT was more impressed with SHAP than Belvedere, IL where the Caliber/Compass/Patriot are assembled.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    This one confuses me. We’re half way through the ’10 model year and the only “intervention” result that I have noticed is the Sebring’s deribbed hood.

    Supposedly there is a plan to tame the noise from the ungainly powertrain and improve the interior but interiors are expensive to redo. It doesn’t seem to me that the investment would be justifiable on a turd like the Sebring that has such a damaged reputation. Even more compelling is the limited additional two years of production (through 2012), not much time for a payback on a car that even rental agencies somewhat shun.

    Chrysler must want this plant and, of course, the accompanying tax abatement, but not to keep building Chryslers. It must figure significantly in Fiat’s upcoming production plans and my guess is that they’re willing to churn out two years worth of “intervened” crap to get it.

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    How about moving the Dodge Journey production there, alongside the Sebring and Avenger, since they share some platform components? Toluca is going to start building the Fiat 500, right?

    Good news for Michigan. For a change.

    Trouble is, Chrysler’s a zombie company. So the good news for Michigan may not last as long as an ice cream cone in July…

    I’d also add “why not offer to build Mitsubishi Lancer cars for Mitsubishi Motors North America on contract and beg a version to be re-introduced as the Dodge Neon?” but exactly why would Mitsubishi have any faith & trust in Chrysler after their nasty “divorce” earlier on…. and besides, Mitsu has an underutilized plant in Illinois. (It’s just that it’ll take Mitsu boucoup money to retool their plant for cars – and there are certain similarities in the platform development between the Lancer and the Sebring/Avenger).

    Besides which again, Mitsubishi may not last as long as an ice cream in July, either….

  • avatar
    getacargetacheck

    Thought I read Toledo North might be used to build the next Liberty which will also be on the Fiat D platform that will be used for the new Avenger, Sebring and Chrysler crossover in 2013. Would be great to see Chrysler build all those in one plant to keep costs down. Keeping SHAP open beyond then seems like keeping more capacity then they really need. Here’s hoping Chrysler can take a sow’s ear and make a silk purse for 2011. Not holding my breath.

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    Chrysler needs Mitsubishi like TTAC needs to write another article bashing Chrysler. Nobody wins…

    Good for the folks at SHAP. They are good hard-working people that I have had the pleasure of working with from time-to-time.

    The SHAP cars will be impressive, comapred to the current crop, when they hit the showrooms.

    Also… The 500 is being built at Toluca, but it’s replacing the PT in the assembly process. The Journey will continue production there for the near future.

    • 0 avatar
      Facebook User

      “Chrysler needs Mitsubishi like TTAC needs to write another article bashing Chrysler. Nobody wins…”

      If only TTAC didn’t have such a veritable fount of topics to bash Chrysler on. Let’s face it, there’s really no good reason for Chrysler to survive, apart from government largesse.

      As for “winners,” if just one person who didn’t know what a piece of sh*t the Sebring is comes across this site ahead of writing a check, that is indeed a victory!

    • 0 avatar
      pgcooldad

      Once again! Both the Avenger and Sebring are a 2010 IIHS top safety pick along with the Jeep Patriot and Dodge Journey.

      http://www.iihs.org/ratings/default.aspx

      I would rather be inside of a Sebring in a severe crash than any Toyota.

      My wife and kids ride in an Avenger. I have more peace of mind knowing that they are safe and could care less about a few more decibels of engine noise in the cabin. Cheap plastic doesn’t kill, run away cars do.

      And if you want a vehicle that retains it’s value, buy a Jeep. Chrysler owns than you know (sarcasm).

    • 0 avatar
      BuzzDog

      My wife and kids ride in an Avenger. I have more peace of mind knowing that they are safe and could care less about a few more decibels of engine noise in the cabin.

      I’m assuming you meant to say that you couldn’t care less, but quibbling aside, I’d rather put my loved ones into a Subaru Legacy.

      That way, they’d be safe and I’d have the peace of mind of knowing they’d actually get from point A to point B without needless worry over them being stranded on the side of the road due to a mechanical breakdown. Owner surveys from multiple sources show that the Legacy is rather reliable, which is something that can’t be said for the Avenger. Add in standard AWD and much better resale value, and the Legacy’s a pretty sweet deal.

    • 0 avatar
      Facebook User

      @pgcooldad — I’d rather take my chances in damn near anything else. The Avenger’s and Sebring’s handling and braking problems are well-documented.

      I’ll take the ability to avoid an accident, over an infinitesimal increase in the likelihood of surviving impact, any day.

  • avatar
    Autojunkie

    @ getacargetacheck

    It sounds like it would make sense, but Chrysler’s most flexible plants are only capable of building up to four (common platform) vehicles in a single plant. One of those four places is always kept open for future pilot production, so really they can only build three. It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s much more flexible than some of the competition.

    While the future of SHAP is still in doubt, I think it is necessary production capacity that Fiat will need as it’s product plans with Chrysler start to mesh.

    • 0 avatar
      Pig_Iron

      Agreed. It’s not SHAP’s fault the Avenger/Sebring is a dog in the market. There’s goodpeople at SHAP, and they want to succeed.

      Ultimately, they may have to add the Journey, or a higher margin vehicle to keep the plant alive. This in turn makes me wonder why Toluca isn’t building a subcompact?

    • 0 avatar
      windswords

      “It doesn’t sound like much, but it’s much more flexible than some of the competition.”

      And this is one of the reasons FIAT is so interested in SHAP in particular and Chrysler in general. Because most of the current products are uncompetitive and dumped on by the press, most people think that Chrysler has old antiquated plants. They have some of the most modern flex plants in the business. FIAT bought into Chrysler for TWO reasons: a distribution channel AND manufacturing facilities.

  • avatar
    mtymsi

    I don’t know the exact details but would think the $8.2mm tax break involves keeping the plant open longer than 2012.

    Insofar as overcapacity goes that has got to be an almost impossible question to answer. Who knows what future products they may have in mind for the plant or what the market acceptance will be? I’m thinking that rather than the current models produced there is why the plant is staying open and was transferred to the new Chryco.

  • avatar
    John Horner

    $20m seems like cheap money for a plant like that, especially if it comes with over $8m in tax breaks.

  • avatar

    The once great US industry now consists of rebadging cars from other industrialized nations. What happened to American know how. If you create a detailed list by 2015 the only American car engineered in North America will be the Corvette. However, you could say the CTS platform is partly American.


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