It's model changeover season at North American auto plants. Here are the highlights of this year's changeover schedule:
CHRYSLER CORP.: Job 1 of the redesigned 1998 Chrysler Concorde and Dodge Intrepid is scheduled for Sept. 16 at the Bramalea, Ontario, plant.
This is the first redesign of the LH cars, which debuted in the 1993 model year.
Most of Chrysler's changeovers were completed earlier this month. New products include the Plymouth Prowler, which began production on July 7, and the Dodge Durango, scheduled for Job 1 on Sept. 2 in Newark, Del.
FORD MOTOR CO.: Most plants will make quick rolling changeovers with limited downtime.
The most notable changes at Ford include the addition of the 1998 Lincoln Navigator at the Michigan Truck (Wayne, Mich.) plant and the deletion of three vehicles: the Ford Aerostar, which was produced in St. Louis; and the Ford Thunderbird and Mercury Cougar, which were assembled in Lorain, Ohio.
GENERAL MOTORS: Most changeovers and retooling will not cause the assembly lines to shut down.
Most of the plants have completed model changeover. The last plant scheduled to switch to 1998 production is the Doraville, Ga., minivan plant.
Oldsmobile added a new car for 1998: the Intrigue, which replaces the Cutlass Supreme. Production began May 19 in Fairfax, Kan.
TRANSPLANTS: Of the three 1997 models assembled at AutoAlliance's Flat Rock, Mich., plant, only the Mazda 626 will be produced in 1998. The 626 has been redesigned, and 1998 models are scheduled to begin production Sept. 2. The Ford Probe and the Mazda MX-6 have been discontinued.
Other new and redesigned models for the transplants include the:
Mercedes M class
Volvo 70 series