« Back to Home « Back to Home
FEATURED NEWS
Print Friendly

Quality is Everyone’s Mission

Learn the ‘customer first’ approach at FCA US LLC

October 15, 2015

072087_0097

Much of the vehicle development process occurs at the Chrysler Technology Center (CTC) in the Auburn Hills, the Michigan–based headquarters for FCA US.

FCA US LLC has the world’s only automotive headquarters where a vehicle can go from a sketch to a manufactured vehicle all under one roof. Why does this matter? It helps maintain the ‘customer first’ approach at the earliest stages of vehicle creation.

Before designers’ sketches have even evolved into clay models, research is conducted to collect, analyze and integrate the voice of the customer into a new vehicle concept. A “customer first” approach to quality keeps the customers’ needs at the forefront of decision-making and planning through all stages of vehicle development.

Chrysler Technology Center’s unique combination of people, technology

JWPcwt_3174

Giant fan blades inside the wind tunnel at the FCA US LLC Headquarters and Technology Center. The 6,400 horsepower electric wind tunnel fan provides engineering and testing support.

Much of the vehicle development process occurs at the Chrysler Technology Center (CTC) in the Auburn Hills, the Michigan–based headquarters for FCA US. With approximately 14,000 employees under one roof, it is the only automotive headquarters in the world where vehicles can go from the sketch stage to prototype vehicles that are manufactured and subjected to extensive engine, driveline durability and performance testing as well as wind tunnel aerodynamic/acoustic development and extreme weather validation all under one roof.

Some of the most punishing vehicle tests at CTC involve the Road Test Simulator (RTS), also known by its well-earned nickname “The Shaker.”  It recreates the abuse vehicles endure at the hands of a 95th percentile customer – meaning a customer who drives the vehicle in more severe conditions than 95 percent of all drivers. The Shaker mimics a wide range of on-road and off-road driving surfaces and puts a lifetime of wear and tear on a vehicle in only one month’s time.

Going the extra mile

150227_Fiat_500X-Arjeplog-Sweden_0195pf02phrt2pa1108o73i3a326__mid

A Fiat 500X goes through the paces during winter-weather handling tests at FCA’s Arjeplog (Sweden) Proving Grounds.

The thousands of simulated and laboratory tests conducted at CTC set the foundation for the regimented reliability, capability and durability testing that continues at FCA’s proving grounds around the world.

In addition to the extensive testing facilities at the proving grounds in Chelsea, Michigan, and Balocco, Italy, the Company also conducts extreme weather testing at FCA’s Arizona Proving Grounds in Yucca and the Arjeplog (Sweden) Proving Grounds within the Arctic Circle. At the Company’s Florida Evaluation Center in Naples, vehicles undergo coast-down testing to assess overall frictional drag, aerodynamics and tire rolling resistance.

Engineering and Quality teams also study how vehicles perform in less predictable environments. Reliability test fleet vehicles are driven day and night on all kinds of public road surfaces, at high and low altitudes and through blizzard conditions, as well as dry, desert heat and hot, humid locations all over the globe.

Building quality into each vehicle

2014_0204_SHAP_9065

A 2015 Chrysler 200 is measured and inspected in the Metrology Lab at the all-new Body Shop in Chrysler Group’s Sterling Heights (Mich.) Assembly Plant.

Since 2009, FCA US has announced significant investments in its manufacturing facilities, making substantial progress to enhance quality, efficiency, safety and technology in its plants. Supported by World Class Manufacturing (WCM) principles, workers play an integral role in ensuring success and reducing warranty repairs.

Inside an assembly plant’s Quality Assurance Center, randomly selected vehicles undergo audits and detailed technical measurements on more than 400 vehicle functions, such as heating, cooling, emissions, and fit-and-finish. FCA US assembly plants also employ state-of-the-art metrology centers–a high-tech laboratory with a clean-room environment. The metrology labs use laser scanners and a complex set of fixtures that mimic the body shop’s process so that engineers and technicians can find the root cause of any build variations ? even when components appear perfect to the naked eye. All these tools are used to find and resolve any issues before vehicles are shipped to dealers.

Quality development at FCA US prioritizes customers’ needs with the goal of designing and building vehicles owners will be proud to recommend to their friends and family.