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DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler unit will add a third shift Monday at its Warren truck plant.

The move will gradually put 1,000 laid-off union workers back on the job as Chrysler prepares the factory for two new model launches.

The new shift, announced in October, is being added despite sluggish car and truck demand so far this year that left the automaker with an oversupply of pickup trucks built at the plant.

Chrysler is investing $35 million to increase capacity at the Warren facility by 20 percent, to about 338,000 trucks a year.

The plant builds full-size Dodge Ram pickups and midsize Dodge Dakota pickups.

Chrysler is gearing up to launch a redesigned Dakota in Warren this summer and a new midsize truck for Mitsubishi Motors Corp. next year.

Full Story HERE
 

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I may be premature in wondering what the Big Three pundits's spin on this development will be, but you have to admit that it's interesting in light of the recent, more pronounced (and presently unsuccessful) Japanese assault on the last bastion of Big Three health: FS trucks.
 

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Originally posted by tgagneguam@May 9 2004, 06:02 PM
I may be premature in wondering what the Big Three pundits's spin on this development will be, but you have to admit that it's interesting in light of the recent, more pronounced (and presently unsuccessful) Japanese assault on the last bastion of Big Three health: FS trucks.
I thought Tundra sales were decent and Titan sales were strong.

The Tundra is a lame and underpowered truck, but the Titan is pretty impressive if you can look past the cheap interior and poor build quality. Nissan has a platform and powertrain that with some tweaks (interior refresh, better quality control) can make a compelling truck.

The big three have essentially lost the minivan market now that the second and third generation Japanese minivans are out. DC sales are decent, but the writing it on the wall. The 2005 DC minvans, aside for the new seating feature, are not competitive (read the latest C&D), the "new" Ford Freestar is at the bottom of most everyone's lists in any comparison, and the new GM minivans will probably set a new low water mark with their weak powertrain and ugly styling.

You can say it's wise to invest your money in growing markets and ignore the slow growing minivan market, but I would disagree. You need to defend existing markets with good products too if you want to be in the overall marketplace long term.

I hope the Big 3 can defend the FS truck market better that they did the minivan market.

Mark
 

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I think it's remarkable what Dodge has done in the last 10 years with their Ram trucks. Truck buyers are generally fiercely loyal. A Ford buyer is usually a LIFETIME Ford buyer. The fact that Dodge was able to draw customers in to the dealerships and buy Rams with the '94 redesign is a near-miracle (the old Ram was an ugly POS, and I don't think I saw more than five or six of them before 1994).

Dodge had a bold, compelling new style going for them, and that's what got most people. The rest discovered it was actually a good, well put-together truck.

This is part of Nissan and Toyota's problem. Don't get me wrong, the Titan and Tundra (and T-100 before it) were and are solid vehicles. The Tundra's styling however is...well...it's a Toyota. Doesn't exactly scream "BIG TRUCK". It kinda just whispers. It doesn't stand out, and so is overlooked. I don't see many Tundras going around. Nissan did get the bold "BIG TRUCK" styling and presence...but it stands out in the bad way, like the Aztek. Bold styling is a gamble, and I think Nissan's gamble didn't pay off.

I tend to judge how good a vehicle is by how many I see on the road. I see loads of F-150s, new Rams and Chevies of all ages. I have yet to see a single Titan or Tundra anywhere but sitting on a dealer's lot.
 

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The Tundra is a nice truck. But it's not full-size, and next to the new F-150 is positively wimpy looking. The Titan, as mentioned previously, suffers from build quality issues and the difficulty of cracking buyer loyalty.

Speaking of size, the F-150 is a gigantic truck (about the size of an older F-250), but it doesn't come off as being oversized somehow. It's also a shining example of what happens when a domestic manufacturer decides to set a new standard in the market. Cadillac is another example of this, but they had to start from a much lower position and are still fighting for the recognition they deserve (whereas Ford was #1 or #2 depending on how you want to view the sales numbers).

I really don't understand the move to ramp up production of a product that is already sitting at dealerships for almost 4 months. Let that inventory go down a little before you start producing more.
 

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Originally posted by awalbert88@May 10 2004, 07:58 PM
Speaking of size, the F-150 is a gigantic truck (about the size of an older F-250), but it doesn't come off as being oversized somehow. It's also a shining example of what happens when a domestic manufacturer decides to set a new standard in the market. Cadillac is another example of this, but they had to start from a much lower position and are still fighting for the recognition they deserve (whereas Ford was #1 or #2 depending on how you want to view the sales numbers).

The new F150 is tops in several areas, like interiors, and I understand they are very nice riding, comfortable trucks, but Ford increased weight close to 500 lbs over the old F150 to do it. This wastes most of the power and efficiency gains from going to the 3-valve V8, and the pressures will only get worse as either fuel economy standards or gas prices go up, and as demands for more horsepower increase. It's got a newly reengineered (and more expensive to build, I'm sure) engine, and it's slower and thirstier than similar GM trucks. Actually, it's the slowest of all the full-sized trucks.

Last redesign, GM decreased the weight of their full-size pickups, while making the same improvements in ride and stiffness that Ford did this time.

I wouldn't hold the F150 up as a shining example. It's selling well because of the truck loyalty we've talked about here, but I think it's sloppy engineering that let's weight increase so much with one redesign, and it's only going to make things hard on them down the road.
 

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Originally posted by MelvinJ+May 10 2004, 08:21 PM--></div><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (MelvinJ @ May 10 2004, 08:21 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> <!--QuoteBegin-awalbert88@May 10 2004, 07:58 PM
Speaking of size, the F-150 is a gigantic truck (about the size of an older F-250), but it doesn't come off as being oversized somehow.  It's also a shining example of what happens when a domestic manufacturer decides to set a new standard in the market.  Cadillac is another example of this, but they had to start from a much lower position and are still fighting for the recognition they deserve (whereas Ford was #1 or #2 depending on how you want to view the sales numbers).

The new F150 is tops in several areas, like interiors, and I understand they are very nice riding, comfortable trucks, but Ford increased weight close to 500 lbs over the old F150 to do it. This wastes most of the power and efficiency gains from going to the 3-valve V8, and the pressures will only get worse as either fuel economy standards or gas prices go up, and as demands for more horsepower increase. It's got a newly reengineered (and more expensive to build, I'm sure) engine, and it's slower and thirstier than similar GM trucks. Actually, it's the slowest of all the full-sized trucks.

Last redesign, GM decreased the weight of their full-size pickups, while making the same improvements in ride and stiffness that Ford did this time.

I wouldn't hold the F150 up as a shining example. It's selling well because of the truck loyalty we've talked about here, but I think it's sloppy engineering that let's weight increase so much with one redesign, and it's only going to make things hard on them down the road. [/b][/quote]
funny... buyer loyalty (even when it's unfounded) is great for domestics in some cases (like F-150 buyers who'd buy any truck ford would throw at them), but bad in others (like when a mercedes buyer refuses to admit their new E-class is crap). just depends on which side of the perception fence they sit.

the domestics had better be careful when trying to educate consumers to ignore what they think they know, and pay attention to what reality is... it might just work! not every new GM, ford and chrysler product is class-leading just yet!
 
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