Each year, many automotive plants take a few weeks off around the 4th of July to let workers spend time with their families with preparing the plant in question for the next model year vehicle but due to the high rate of growth by the Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jefferson North will not take time out of their schedule around the 4th of July for 2013 model year retooling. Instead, workers will report to duty as normal and the plant will continue operating through the originally planned downtime in the beginning of July.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee has moved 38,000 units in the first quarter of 2012 (up 44% from 2011 Q1) while the Dodge Durango has sent out 11,000 new models for an increase of 33% over the previous year’s first three months. Jefferson North is already working overtime for two of the production shifts along with working two out of every three Saturdays - meaning that the plant is already running near full capacity. Considering that the company is working so hard to build these uber popular full size sport utes, it comes as no surprise to hear that JNAP will not take the scheduled two weeks of downtime around July 4th.
Chrysler Group representative Jodi Tinson told the Detroit News that the company will be able to execute the needed changes to prepare for the 2013 model year Grand Cherokee and Durango while the workers are present - most likely because there aren’t very many changes being made between the 2012 and 2013 model year Chrysler SUVs. The JNAP facility is also slated to produce the Maserati Kubang - a luxury SUV based on the Grand Cherokee and Durango - but it is unclear as to when that Italian designed ute will see production although rumors suggest that it will begin within the next year.
This is good news for both the company (as it shows steady growth among these models) as well as for the workers - who are benefiting from all of this overtime and extra hours. Similar situations have arisen for other companies this year, including General Motors, who had to change downtime schedules for their Hamtramck Assembly Plant to accommodate demand for the Chevrolet Volt.