Inside a newly reopened Chrysler plant in Detroit, a car revs to life. Despite its status as the Motor City, Detroit has only two automobile plants entirely within the city limits. One is Chrysler’s Conner Avenue Assembly Plant, which reopened in December after being closed for more than two years during the automaker’s bankruptcy. Later this month, the factory’s first Viper — considered a “halo” vehicle, built to enhance a company’s image rather than drive sales — will roll off the line. A worker at Conner, Mike Chapman, says that “you’re more like a craft person than a line worker” there, while at other plants “you’re pretty much like a robot.” Elsewhere, workers spend less than a minute on each car; at Conner, they spend a half-hour on each car. And with almost no automation in place, the loudest sounds are the roars of a Viper’s engine.
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