After nearly two years in hibernation, the 400,000 square-foot Conner Avenue Assembly Plant is rumbling to life as it opens its doors to produce the next generation SRT Viper. With the decision made to reopen Conner, the team went to work beginning in the fall of 2011 to implement and adopt Fiat's World Class Manufacturing (WCM) that makes employee safety the number one priority, focusing on eliminating waste, increasing productivity, improving quality, and restoring dignity to the employees.
"With no plans for the future, Conner Avenue was on life support when it closed in the summer of 2010," said Doug Gouin, Head of Viper Operations. "Now, with a transfusion of passion, determination, World Class Manufacturing and an all-new vehicle, the plant has been revived. You can feel the energy and excitement about what is happening inside when you walk through the door."
Chrysler Group LLC Chairman/CEO Sergio Marchionne, SRT Brand President/CEO Ralph Gilles, and employees of the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant in Detroit presented 2013 SRT Viper #001 to owner Scott Thomas during a ceremony at the plant last Jan. 10, 2013, to celebrate the start of production.
The new Viper returns to the market with more power and performance from its all-aluminum, mid-front 8.4-liter V-10 engine that delivers 640 hp and 600 lb.-ft. of torque, to go along with superior craftsmanship, new technologies and creature comforts.
Thomas purchased the first production Viper for $300,000 at the Barrett-Jackson Orange County (Calif.) Auction in June 2012, with the proceeds benefiting the Austin Hatcher Foundation for Pediatric Cancer.
Production of the flagship performance machine of SRT began on Dec. 5, 2012. Shipments to customers will begin in February 2013 to ensure that every SRT Viper meets Chrysler Group's stringent quality standards before it leaves the plant.