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Chrysler and Fiat Plan to Open $850 Million Paint Shop in Q1 2014

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A Fiat gets a paint job

A Fiat gets a paint job Photo via Chrysler

With the continued amalgamation of Chrysler and Fiat manufacturing comes news that a 935,000-sq. ft. paint shop will open at Chrysler’s Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Detroit, Mich.  The paint shop, which is a large component of Chrysler’s $850 million investment in Sterling Heights, is scheduled to open sometime in Q1 2014, according to CBS’ Detroit affiliate.

The paint shop will help serve the goal of integrating a universal paint system between Chrysler and Fiat plants in order to reduce unnecessary complexities in the manufacturing process and enable the partners to enact quick model changes when need be.  Automotive News Europe quotes Chrysler’s senior manager for paint facilities John Powell as saying that the Sterling Heights facility is designed to eliminate contamination while requiring as little maintenance as possible and providing the optimum in flexibility.

The facility is the latest effort to unite the Chrysler and Fiat brands since the former was bought by the latter in 2011.  Chrysler spokesman Gualberto Ranieri is quoted as saying “There is no Berlin Wall that divides the company,” which is reassuring considering that Fiat is largely based in Turin, Italy.