Changeovers shift into high gear

Production for the 2002 model year is in full swing. Here are some highlights of the changeover from 2001 models.

* AutoAlliance: A rolling changeover for the Mazda 626 took place the week of July 30; one for the Mercury Cougar is scheduled for the week of Sept. 4.

* BMW: The plant near Spartanburg, S.C., was shut down July 30; it reopens Aug. 30.

* DaimlerChrysler: A new plant in Toledo, Ohio, began production of the Jeep Liberty in March.

The Dodge City plant in Warren, Mich., was down for 4 1/2 weeks and the St. Louis (North) plant was down for three weeks for the redesign of the Ram 1500 pickups.

* Ford Motor Co.: Ford declined to release its model year changeover dates. The new Ford Thunderbird and Lincoln Blackwood began production in June. After being down a week for inventory adjustments, the Atlanta plant reopened Aug. 6, producing the 2002 Ford Taurus and Mercury Sable.

* General Motors: Most GM plants have completed rolling changeovers.

The Oklahoma City plant produced the Chevrolet Malibu until May 11, when the plant went down for a major renovation. The plant will begin building the seven-passenger Chevrolet TrailBlazer and GMC Envoy during the first quarter of 2002. The Malibu is still built at the 'C' plant in Lansing, Mich.

In Silao, Mexico, production of the Chevrolet Avalanche began March 26. The Cadillac Escalade EXT is in pre-production in Silao; production of salable units begins Oct. 15. On March 28, production of the Buick Rendezvous began in Ramos Arizpe.

The Toluca, Mexico, plant, which builds the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado, will do a rolling change- over Sept. 1. The Pontiac Aztek, built in Ramos Arizpe, will have a rolling changeover the weekend of Nov. 10.

Saturn is scheduled to begin building the Vue sport-utility Oct. 1.

Production of the Cadillac CTS will begin during the fourth quarter at the Lansing, Mich., Grand River plant.

* Honda: All of Honda's plants will have rolling changeovers between the 2001 and 2002 models. They are taking place over separate weeks. The Acura TL changed over in February; the Accord changed the week of July 30; and the Acura CL changed the week of Aug. 6. The Odyssey will change the week of Aug. 20, the Civic the week of Aug. 27, the Acura EL (built for the Canadian market) the week of Sept. 10; and the Acura MDX the week of Oct. 22. The Accord, built in El Salto, Mexico, changed over last week.

* Mitsubishi: All five of the cars produced at the Normal, Ill., plant completed changeovers in late June. n NUMMI: The plant's car line changed over May 7 in a rolling changeover. The trucks will have a rolling changeover Sept. 4. The Pontiac Vibe is scheduled to begin production in January. The Vibe will replace the Chevrolet Prizm in the lineup.

* Toyota: The plant in Cambridge, Ontario, will begin production of the Toyota Matrix in January.

You can reach Debi Domby at ddomby@crain.com

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