Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne says the struggling automaker will add 1,100 workers, most on a new second shift, as it ramps up production of the all-new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
While some workers will be called back from among the many idled in recent years, a significant number of the 1,100 will be new hires, company officials revealed.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the brand’s flagship sport-utility vehicle but has seen a significant slump in sales. Analysts blame not only rising fuel prices – which have impacted all traditional SUVs – but also the poorly-reviewed boxy design of the outgoing model.
Not only has Chrysler revamped the styling for 2011 but heavily updated the 3-million square foot Jefferson North Assembly Plant where the new Jeep Grand Cherokee officially went into production today.
Aiming to reduce its quality problems – which have repeatedly earned it poor marks from third-party arbiters like J.D. Power and Associates and Consumer Reports magazine – Chrysler has introduced 600 robots into Jefferson North, which first opened in 1992, the same time Jeep launched the original Grand Cherokee. In all, the maker is investing $700 million to update the factory.