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AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Aug. 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Chrysler Group today marked the manufacturing launch of the new 2008 Dodge Dakota at Dodge City, the familiar name for the Company's Warren (Mich.) Truck Assembly Plant. The 2008 Dodge Dakota will be built there alongside the Dodge Ram 1500 and Mitsubishi Raider pickup models.

"Dodge City has been producing trucks for nearly 70 years," said Frank Ewasyshyn, Executive Vice President -- Manufacturing, Chrysler Group. "It has served as a model for manufacturing flexibility, producing not only the Dodge Dakota, but also the Dodge Ram 1500 and Mitsubishi Raider, each in multiple cab configurations."

Flexible Manufacturing Strategy (FMS)
Chrysler Group's Flexible Manufacturing Strategy allows the Company to produce a higher quality product faster and for lower cost. To balance production with demand, the FMS approach allows the Company to efficiently build vehicles that take advantage of a market niche, and to quickly shift production volumes between different models within a single plant or among multiple plants.

FMS is being implemented product by product and plant by plant across the Chrysler Group. New investment is introducing state-of-the-art technology to Chrysler Group plants, enabling the company to produce more than one vehicle on a production line and conduct rolling launches of new models. Additionally, Chrysler Group's workforce is becoming more flexible with the implementation of team concepts and an increased emphasis on supporting assembly line operators.

Other plants in the Chrysler manufacturing system that have most recently demonstrated production flexibility include Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, which now produces the Jeep(R) Grand Cherokee and Grand Cherokee SRT8 and the Jeep Commander; Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant, which builds the Dodge Caliber, Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot; and Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant, which produces the Chrysler Sebring Sedan, Chrysler Sebring Convertible and Dodge Avenger. These plants have the ability to produce multiple models in batch sizes as small as one unit.
Such flexibility is critical to accommodate customer demand and Chrysler Group's ongoing Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge brand product offensive, including a record-breaking ten vehicle run of new product introductions in 2007.

The new 2008 Dodge Dakota
For 2008, the Dodge Dakota will again be offered in two body styles -- Extended Cab and Crew Cab -- and six trim levels: ST, SXT, SLT, TRX/TRX4, Sport and Laramie. The 2008 Dodge Dakota's exterior includes a newly styled hood, grille, front fascia, rear spoiler, fenders and headlamps. All-new fascias integrate with the restyled grille and incorporate fog lamps. The new Dakota's interior includes a new instrument panel, center console and accent finishes, and several new interior storage choices.

The 2008 Dodge Dakota Extended Cab's available Full Swing(TM) rear access doors open nearly 170 degrees -- unique in the segment -- to an interior with class-leading room and seating for five. With rear seats folded, up to 30 cubic feet of storage space is available.

The 2008 Dodge Dakota Crew Cab also offers best-in-class room: -- 37.1 cubic feet -- and seating for up to six. With rear seats folded, a new under- seat storage system, a first for Dodge Dakota, is easily accessible.
The new 2008 Dodge Dakota is the most powerful mid-size pickup on the market, by virtue of a new V-8 engine -- the only V-8 option available in the mid-size pickup segment. The new 4.7-liter V-8 produces 302 horsepower, a 31 percent increase; and 329 lb.-ft. of torque, a 13 percent increase. The new engine is also capable of operating on E85 ethanol fuel, making the Dodge Dakota equipped with this engine a Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV).
The 2008 Dodge Dakota is also the only pickup in its segment to offer full-time four-wheel drive.

Warren Truck Assembly Plant
Warren (Mich.) Truck Assembly Plant covers approximately 3.31 million square feet of floor space and has approximately 3,500 employees. It was built in 1938 and has been producing trucks since opening. In April 2007, the Chrysler Group announced $50 million investment at the suburban Detroit plant, part of the $1.78 billion the Company will spend to build and retool five Michigan plants as part of its Recovery and Transformation Plan.
Dodge Brand

With a U.S. market share of 6 percent, Dodge is the Chrysler Group's best- selling brand and the fifth largest nameplate in the U.S. automotive market. In 2006, Dodge sold more than 1.3 million vehicles in the global market. Dodge continues to lead the minivan market with a 20 percent market share in the U.S. In the highly competitive truck market, Dodge has a 15 percent market share. Last year, Dodge entered key European volume segments with Nitro and Caliber. Dodge Avenger made its European debut this year.

Chrysler Group
 
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