US carmaker Chrysler’s Toluca plant in Mexico is once again assembling the PT Cruiser, according to the Wall Street Journal, after low demand and excess inventory brought a halt to production in August. Chrysler had planned to stop producing the retro-styled wagon, once a big seller for the company, but new Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne, also CEO of Fiat, saved the model in July, extending its lifecycle by one year.
Chrysler PT Cruisers are built at the Toluca, Mexico plant which used to make some of the Shadow ES/Dusters and Neons, and currently makes the Chrysler Sebring Convertible and Dodge Stratus.
Chrysler kept total Chrysler PT Cruiser startup costs below $600 million, including design, development, re-tooling, training, facility improvements, increased automation and pre-production trials.
Toluca can produce a total of 40 vehicles per hour. At full production summer, Toluca can produce about 180,000 Chrysler PT Cruisers annually. Approximately 3,400 team members operate on two shifts at the Toluca plant.
Toluca will produce both right and left-hand drive 2.0 liter and 2.4 liter versions for the world market. This is the first right-hand drive vehicle produced in the Toluca plant. In order to reduce the complexity of adding a right-hand drive version, the vehicle was designed to maximize side-to-side symmetry.
Additional right-hand drive assembly and testing capabilities were added throughout the plant, including: on-line electrical system testers, radiator and hose installation processes, chassis dynamometers, wheel alignment equipment, seat installation and tool duplication for all operations that vary between the two configurations.