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FIRST PICKUP TRUCK ROLLS OFF LINE AT TOLEDO ASSEMBLY PLANT

 TOLEDO, Ohio, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- The first non-Jeep(R) vehicle ever produced at Toledo Assembly Plant, a 1994 mid-size Dodge Dakota pickup truck, rolled off the assembly line today during celebration ceremonies at Chrysler's Stickney Avenue facility.
 Accompanied by UAW Local 12 Jeep Unit Chairman Jim Waingrow, Ohio Gov. George Voinovich drove the red Dakota onto a platform amid the cheers of nearly 1,000 plant employees, plus officials from the United Auto Workers, and city, state and federal guests.
 "The state of Ohio has played a leading role in the revitalization of Northwest Ohio's economic base," said Gov. Voinovich. "Improvements to the Toledo Assembly Plant represent a key example of our efforts to build a solid partnership with businesses that invest in their future, and in the future of Ohio."
 In addition to the Dakota, the Toledo complex produces Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Cherokee vehicles.
 Bernard I. Robertson, Chrysler's vice president of Jeep/Truck Engineering and general manager of Jeep/Truck Operations, said that "achieving this kind of manufacturing flexibility is a tremendously important achievement. This Job One roll-off is a testament to the faith that Chrysler management has in the employees of this plant."
 Robertson called Toledo "America's comeback plant."
 "There's no doubt that people who were looking for reasons to put this plant out of its misery had plenty of ammunition. Toledo Assembly came back because labor and management -- working together -- fought successfully to preserve jobs."
 Robertson pointed out that, over the last year, Toledo Assembly Plant's quality has improved 24 percent, while at the same time, productivity shot up 25 percent.
 "That is the formula for success," said Robertson.
 The Toledo community also turned out in force to celebrate the new arrival at Toledo Assembly.
 Toledo Edison President Don Saunders presented a check for $1.6 million to Robertson as part of Edison's program to encourage capital investment in Northwest Ohio.
 "Chrysler was the first Toledo Edison customer to enter into this type of arrangement," said Saunders, although there are "other set-aside programs in place specifically targeting energy efficiency improvements."
 The Toledo complex currently builds 853 Jeep vehicles a day, including 573 Cherokees at a facility on Jeep Parkway, and 280 Wranglers at the Stickney plant. Dakota assembly is expected to add 270 units a day on a single shift.
 The combination of the hot-selling Wrangler (up 26 percent over last year's sales pace) and Dakota (running at a 17-percent improvement over last year), along with the consistent Jeep Cherokee has resulted in 900 new hires at Toledo, added Robertson. The complex has about 5,300 hourly and salaried workers.
 Dodge Dakota pickup trucks are also produced at the company's Dodge City-Warren (Mich.) Truck Assembly Plant.
 -0- 9/23/93
 /CONTACT: Alan Miller, 313-576-8093, or Mike Aberlich, 313-576-8094, both of Chrysler/
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CO: Chrysler Corporation ST: Ohio IN: AUT SU:

ML -- DE007 -- 5195 09/23/93 12:07 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 23, 1993
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