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To be built in Austria too from next year:
Jeep Commander production starts in Detroit

Jeep Commander front side view

2006 Commander is on the leading edge of a Jeep product offensive.

28 July 2005.

The Chrysler Group is today marking the manufacturing launch of the all-new 2006 Jeep Commander at the Jefferson North (Detroit) Assembly Plant, which has been the home of the Jeep Grand Cherokee since 1992. Commander is the fourth model in the current Jeep brand line up, along with the Toledo-built Wrangler and Liberty.

Commander production marks the first time that JNAP has had the capability to produce more than one model at a time.  The Chrysler Group is giving each of its assembly plants the ability to produce multiple models on one production line, giving the Company the agility needed to respond quickly to market demand. Additionally, the plant will begin producing the SRT8 version of the Grand Cherokee in November.

Jeep Commander 2006 top down view

Stepped roof provides 2nd and 3rd row occupants with plenty of head room.

"This manufacturing flexibility is critical to the future success of the Chrysler Group," said Simon Boag, Vice President - Assembly and Stamping, Chrysler Group. "As we transform our operations, we are giving the Company the freedom to schedule any build order necessary."

In addition to other plants, the Company previously announced the next two plants that will become fully flexible: Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant, where Dodge Caliber production will begin in the first quarter of 2006, and Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant, which produces the Chrysler Sebring and Dodge Stratus. Next year both plants will have the ability to produce multiple models in batch sizes as small as one unit.

Such flexibility is critical to accommodate Chrysler Group's on-going Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brand product offensive, including a record breaking year of new product introductions planned for 2006.

Jeep Commander 3 rows of seats

First Jeep with three rows of seats.

With foresight and strategic planning, the plant changeover to Commander production was primarily accomplished during the plant's Jeep Grand Cherokee changeover in early 2004, eliminating the need for two retooling periods. That move not only avoided the costs associated with a second retooling, it also gave the plant the ability to start piloting the Commander a full eight months before customer production in a rolling launch that did not require any additional down week or weeks.

The company invested $241 million into JNAP in preparation for the production of the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Part of that investment -- $104 million -- was for Commander body, paint and assembly tooling.

Jeep Commander side view

Commander is two inches longer than the Grand Cherokee.

To accommodate the new model, many Commander-specific modifications were made to the plant. For example, the Commander is two inches longer than the Grand Cherokee, so changes had to be made along the assembly line from body-in-white to final assembly. And as the first Jeep with three rows of seats, additional ergonomic arms had to be added to the assembly line to assist operators with seat installation. The Commander's unique Command View skylights over the second row of seats required additional robots  to insert overhead glass. About $25 million was invested into robotics for Commander's new body style.

Jeep Commander flat boot to front seats backs

Second and third row seats fold forward to create a flat load floor.

"Smart" Manufacturing - Recent agreements with UAW-represented employees have also cleared the way for new operating principles. The pacts are designed to foster greater creativity and innovation on the plant floor. They allow for work teams, self-designed work stations, a framework for flexible job classifications and extensive employee training. These elements will help provide a better, safer work environment and further support assembly line operators

The all-new 2006 Jeep Commander is on the leading edge of a Jeep product offensive scheduled for the next few years.  With its classic design, the Commander is engineered to perform as only Jeep vehicles can, is the first with three rows of seats and is equipped with advanced safety technologies.  Commander shares the same exhilarating performance as its sibling, the Grand Cherokee, produced by the 5.7-liter HEMI V-8 engine with the Multi-Displacement System.

Jeep Commander dashboard

Two-tone instrument panel is a design unique to Commander.

Sequenced Parts Delivery - Aiding the production of the Jeep Commander is a 360,000 square-foot facility where parts are sequenced for just-in-time delivery. The center, which is just south of JNAP, has supported production at the plant since July 2004 and is operated by TDS/US. This certified minority-owned Tier 1 enterprise will handle the sequencing of parts for the Jeep Commander. The TDS/US-managed center with a total workforce of about 200 employees, handles nearly 1,500 unique parts from more than 35 commodities, like Door Kits or Trim Kits. There are currently eight sequenced parts delivery operations supporting Chrysler Group plants.

Sequencing centers such as the one at Jefferson organize parts, deliver them to work stations on the vehicle assembly line and keep in-plant stocks at an optimal level. By carefully managing the material flow of the plant, the sequencing center helps JNAP focus on manufacturing quality.

TDS/US is a proven logistics supplier to the Chrysler Group. Earlier this year Chrysler announced its largest minority logistics contract by mandating TDS/US to operate an inbound parts sequencing center for DaimlerChrysler's Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant. The contract with TDS/US at JNAP is another demonstration of Chrysler Group's commitment to minority-owned suppliers.

Commitment to Detroit - The Jefferson North Assembly Plant is one of Chrysler Group's six manufacturing facilities in the City of Detroit. Others include Conner Assembly Plant, Detroit Axle Plant, Mack Engine I and II,  and Mt. Elliott Tool & Die. Other operations include the Plymouth Road Office Complex (PROC), the UAW/DaimlerChrysler National Training Center, and DaimlerChrysler Transport. The company's commitment to the city is strong, and with 14, 000 employees, is one of Detroit's largest private employers. The company has invested over $6 billion in the city since 1990.

Jeep Commander console

2006 Commander is a modern interpretation of a classical design ethic.

Jefferson North - Jefferson North Assembly Plant has approximately 2,700 employees and is 2.6 million square feet. It built the first Jeep Grand Cherokee in January 1992.

Commander Production in Europe - The all-new Jeep Commander will also be built at the Magna Steyr manufacturing facility in Graz, Austria.  Production is scheduled to begin in early 2006 to support demand in Europe and other markets outside of North America.  The vehicle will join the five other Chrysler Group products already produced in Graz: the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler 300C Sedan and Touring, Chrysler Voyager and the Chrysler Grand Voyager with the exclusive Stow ‘n Go™ seating and storage system.  Jeep Commander will have its European premiere at the 2005 International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt.  It will expand and strengthen what is already a strong Jeep lineup, bringing the powertrains, functionality, style, safety and value that international customers demand.

Jeep Commander front seats

Newly designed seats are supportive and comfortable.

Jeep Lineup Expansion - “The 2006 Jeep Commander is significant for a number of reasons,” said Jeff Bell, Vice President Jeep, Chrysler Group. “First, Commander signals our commitment to remain the leader in the sport-utility market, a market that Jeep invented more than 60 years ago. This is the first seven-passenger 4x4 that is Jeep Trail Rated. Second, Commander is the only SUV in its class to offer two V-8 engines. In addition, the Jeep Commander expands and strengthens what is already a stellar lineup, consisting of the Wrangler, Liberty and Grand Cherokee. And finally, the all-new Jeep Commander initiates the expansion of the Jeep vehicle lineup that will take place during the second half of this decade.”

Heritage - In developing the 2006 Jeep Commander, designers looked to past Jeep vehicles for inspiration: the Willys Station Wagons (1946 to 1962), the Jeep Wagoneer (1963 to 1991) and especially the Jeep Cherokee (1984 to 2001). All were classically Jeep in appearance, with sharp lines, planar surfaces and rugged looks. The 2006 Jeep Commander is a modern interpretation of that design ethic.

Jeep Commander 2nd row

Each row slightly higher than the one in front of it.

The Jeep Commander’s upright windshield, backlite and rear end, as well as its more vertical body sides and side glass, embody the vehicle’s classic Jeep styling. Even the side-view mirrors are blocky and stout. Overall, Commander looks strong and confident because of its military bearing - upright and rugged.

“The Jeep Cherokee is an authentic, classic shape that is rooted in the public consciousness,” said Donald A. Renkert, Senior Manager, Jeep Studio, Chrysler Group Product Design Office. “By reinterpreting that vehicle, and other classic Jeep vehicles of the past, the Jeep Commander elicited nods of recognition from consumers, even though it is a brand new vehicle. There is a sense of deja vu about the Jeep Commander that brings knowing smiles of satisfaction.”

The satisfaction continues inside the vehicle, where attention to detail is evident. For example, the two-tone instrument panel is a design unique to Commander. From the gear shift knob, to the four round gauges that make up the instrument cluster, to the new steering wheel, Commander is refined and uniquely Jeep in appearance.

Jeep commander DVD for rear passengers

2006 Commander Rear DVD Player.

The newly designed seats are supportive and comfortable. And, for the first time in a Jeep vehicle, there are three rows of them, each row slightly higher than the one in front of it. This distinctive stadium seating arrangement makes forward viewing easier. The second and third row seats fold forward to create a flat load floor. Commander is only two inches longer than the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee, even though it is designed to accommodate three rows of seats. And since they have the same wheelbase (109.5 inches), Commander is as maneuverable and off-road capable as the Grand Cherokee.

The Jeep Commander’s stepped roof provides second and third row occupants with plenty of head room. Complementing the available front-mounted sun roof is Command-View™, new and innovative skylights (complete with shades) over the second row of seats.

Go Anywhere, Do Anything - Class-leading off-road capability and on-road refinement were mandatory for the Jeep Commander. So the Jeep team went to the head of the class: They provided Commander with the same 4x4 systems, suspension and powertrains as the award-winning 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee, including an independent front suspension and rack and pinion steering. Available on Commander are:

  • Three full-time four-wheel drive systems, Quadra-Trac I®, Quadra-Trac II® and Quadra-Drive II®

  • Two transfer cases offering Brake Traction Control System (BTCS), and Electronic Limited Slip Differentials (ELSD) for best-in-class tractive performance

  • Three available engines: the 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8 with the Multi-Displacement System, the 4.7-liter SOHC Power Tech V-8, and the 3.7-liter SOHC Power Tech V-6 engine

Jeep Commander Command-View™, new and innovative skylights (complete with shades) over the second row of seats.

Command-View™ skylights (with shades) over the second row of seats.

“The on-road refinement and off-road capability of the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee are key reasons why it was named 4x4 of the Year by 4-Wheel & Off-Road magazine,” said Craig Love, Vice President, Rear-Wheel Drive Product Team. “Now, the only vehicle on the market with the same pedigree is the all-new Jeep Commander.”

Safety and Security - Like all Chrysler Group vehicles, the 2006 Jeep Commander is designed to improve not only handling and accident avoidance, but also to provide excellent crash protection.

Jeep Commander is the first Chrysler Group vehicle with electronic roll mitigation. Using input from multiple sensors, the system deploys the air bags in certain rollover scenarios, as well as side impact events.

Crash protection features available on the Jeep Commander include advanced multi-stage air bags with an Occupant Classification System, available side curtain air bags, seat belts equipped with pretensioners and digressive load limiting retractors, and BeltAlert®, a buckle-up reminder system for the driver.

2006 Jeep(R) Commander Third-row HVAC

2006 Commander Third-row HVAC.

Crash avoidance features on the 2006 Jeep Commander include standard Electronic Stability Program (ESP), Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) and an All-Speed Traction Control System (TCS). A tire pressure monitoring system, ParkSense™ rear park assist, Uconnect™ hands-free communications, DVD-based navigation system, SmartBeam® headlamps and rain sensitive wipers provide additional safety and security on the road.

Jeep Trail Rated - The Jeep Trail Rated badge on the 2006 Jeep Commander shows that the vehicle has been designed to perform in a variety of challenging off-road conditions identified by five key consumer-oriented performance categories: Traction, Ground Clearance, Maneuverability, Articulation and Water Fording.

Jeep Trail Rated is an industry-leading methodology established by the Nevada Automotive Test Center (NATC) and Jeep Engineering to objectively measure and consistently predict off-road performance for all Jeep vehicles today and into the future. Through a combination of natural and controlled field tests, as well as computer simulated environments, Jeep Trail Rated provides a repeatable and consistent measurement of off-road performance for all Jeep vehicles. Only Jeep vehicles are Trail Rated.

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