June 17, 2015
Brent Snavely

Part of the mystique of the Dodge Viper is how the $87,000 super car is made.

Each car is hand-built by 64 hourly workers the company refers to as craftsman at a 400,000-square-foot plant just south of 8 Mile Road on Detroit's Northeast side.

Unlike most auto plants that are visible from interstate highways it's easy to be a block or two away from the Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, which is tucked behind an extended-stay hospital, without even seeing it.

On Friday, FCA US -- the company previously known as Chrysler -- allowed the media to tour the plant for the first time in years. Inside, the gleaming polished floors, spacious work stations and wireless tools make for a plant that is vast and open and a lot quieter than typical automotive plants.

Here, each worker performs a range of tasks that the company says are comparable to what 150 different workers do at a normal assembly plant.

That's possible because the pace is glacial compared with a normal assembly plant and the entire approach to building the vehicle is completely different from the mass produced process used to make higher volume cars.

At most most modern assembly plants finished cars pour off the line every minute. But at the Conner Avenue plant, it takes 2.5 hours for cars to cycle through the plant.

Detroit Free Press