[URL]http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1096495811485&call_pageid=968350072197&col=969048863851[/URL]\nSep. 30, 2004. 08:02 AM\nBrampton to build new Dodge Charger\nRear-wheel sedan planned for 2006\n\nCould create need to add 3rd shift\n\nTONY VAN ALPHEN\nBUSINESS REPORTER\n\nThe Charger is coming to Brampton.\n\nDaimlerChrysler Canada officials confirmed yesterday the auto maker\nwill rejuvenate the legendary Charger and build it at its Brampton\nassembly plant in the second half of next year.\n\nThe decision, one of a series of moves DaimlerChrysler's parent\ncompany is considering, could have a big influence on whether the\nCanadian subsidiary will add a third shift to meet booming demand for\nits other new models.\n\n"The Charger has great potential," company president Mark Norman said\nin a brief interview yesterday.\n\nThe rear-wheel sedan, which disappeared in the early 1980s, will be\nbuilt on the same platform as the hot-selling Chrysler 300 and 300 C\nsedans and Dodge Magnum wagon, all built in Brampton.\n\nCompany officials would not project sales volumes for the Charger,\nwhich is scheduled to enter dealer showrooms as a 2006 model.\n\nThe decision ends months of speculation that Brampton would be the\nlogical plant to manufacture the Charger since it is the company's\nonly North American plant equipped to build rear-wheel drive cars.\n\nDodge launched the Charger name in 1966 as a high-powered sports car\nand it quickly became popular among the street-racing set.\n\nAn orange 1969 Charger, dubbed the General Lee, was arguably the\nbiggest star of the popular television series The Dukes of Hazard in\nthe late 1970s and 1980s. The exposure generated free publicity for\nthe model and boosted sales.\n\nChrysler phased out the model in the late 1970s and revived it briefly\nin the 1980s as a front-wheel coupe.\n\nDaimlerChrysler is currently looking at several possibilities for its\nnetwork of plants and the Brampton operation is a big piece of the\npuzzle.\n\nThe company is in the process of introducing 25 new products over a\nthree-year period.\n\nThe Brampton plant, which employs about 3,000 workers, has been\noperating two nine-hour shifts five days a week, plus eight hours on\nmost Saturdays and another six hours on some Sundays because of the\npopularity of the 300 and 300 C sedans.\n\nFurthermore, initial reports show demand for the Magnum is also\nextremely strong.\n\nA third shift would add another 900 jobs at the plant and create more\nspin-off work for auto-parts suppliers in the region.\n\nInsiders say it will be difficult to add the Charger to production in\nBrampton without a third shift, considering the strong demand for the\n300 and 300 C vehicles and apparent potential for the Magnum.\n\nDaimlerChrysler is trying to determine whether sales volumes for the\n300 and 300 C will continue over the long term, warranting the\naddition of a third shift in Brampton or retooling elsewhere.\n\n"There are choices in how to best utilize the corporation's capacity,"\nNorman said following a product review for journalists.\n\nNorman said DaimlerChrysler has not set a firm deadline to decide on a\nthird shift at Brampton, but industry insiders believe the auto maker\nwill decide by the end of the first quarter of next year.\n\nThe company started negotiating with the Canadian Auto Workers earlier\nthis month, seeking contract improvements to increase competitiveness,\nstaffing numbers and overtime schedules in a potential third shift at\nBrampton. But the company has also suggested it could assemble the\nmodels at some U.S. plants.\n\nAt DaimlerChrysler's product presentation yesterday, vice-president of\nmarketing Ron Smith described the 300 models as the best car in the\ncompany's history.\n\n"It's head and shoulders above what we've ever done," he gushed.\n\n"It's incredible to drive."