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Hello Everyone,

Just wanted to say, I just found this forum and hope to visit it often. As the title says, I have spent the last 7 years at the Belvidere Plant making Neons, and have been part of the pilot team for both the Dodge Caliber and Jeep Compass. I've been in the plant for the last few weeks ahead of most of production as we ramp up to start producing these Calibers.

While I want to make it clear that I'm not a "Tuner" or a "Gear-head", I can answer some of the questions that I've seen on these forums in different sections. I may be dead on in answering some questions, and totally wrong in others but any answers I give will be ones I've gotten from management at the plant or engineers at Headquarters in Detroit. But please remember I am just a production worker who is on the line building these vehicles and probably can't answer any technical questions, I'll leave that to the Engineers....(who are gonna usually be wrong if they are plant engineers..haha) Kinda an inside plant joke.

So... first question I saw was a question on Modding.... A little history first if you don't mind. I was told when the first Neon SRT rolled out that the reason for the SRT was to make a vehicle that would appeal to the "younger" crowd that is totally mod-able with relatively inexpensive after market parts that DCX Engineers worked closely with after-market companies to design. Many of the performance parts you can buy are made by companies that supply us the OEM parts. This is supposed to continue with the Caliber. You will be able to buy most if not all the types of after-market stuff for the Caliber that you could for the Neon.

The design of the Caliber is DCX's first (at least in my experience) attempt at a Global car. This car will be sold all over the world. We have 5 engines that we are putting in this vehicle. 1.8L, 2.0L, 2.2L, 2.4L and a Diesel. I was told at HQ that the Diesel was to be marketed in Europe and China but may be made available as a special order in the US.

The car is marketed towards 25 to 35 yr old's and not a entry level vehicle like the Neon.

I saw a question about interior, something about Seats.... this vehicle will be a dream to anyone who wants to express their individuallity from the factory. Examples include....12 different wiper blades, 139 different seats, and I couldn't tell you the different colors, interior packages, configurations in the dash...just a mind boggling amount of options. There are 8 different rear seat belts, while the middle rear seat belt has 18 choices. Now some of these won't be for the US market, but because of different laws or spec's in other countries, requirements were meet thus so many different parts.

There are some really really cool standard and optional equipment, such as an integrated flashlight that works as the rear cargo lamp that is built right into the headliner. You simply push it and it pops out into your hand, you shine it on what you want to see, pop it right back in. Its battery recharges ready for the next use.

A subwoofer built right into the rear of the vehicle, and as an option, when you have the lift gate up, there is a Dual speaker system that will flip down so the speakers flip out. Perfect for tailgating.
Another comment I read was from Maxpyro. He said,

"I just wish that dcx stuck with a normal but new platform for a sedan. It should be sleek and maybe a little "hip" like the new mazda 3s. "

Might want to wait until our Sister Plant, Sterling Heights, launches their JS model. As far as I know they haven't decided on a model name for it, JS is their Pilot designation. It will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, meet all your criteria. It is a 4 door, sporty, very very sharp sedan that is to replace the Stratus. The pilot is a super sharp car and is on the same platform as the Caliber, Compass, Patriot line that we are making at BAP. It will blow the Mazda 3 away in styling and performance, mark my words.

You have any questions about the Caliber feel free to ask, I'll answer what I can. I personally think we have a winner with the car and while we have some production challenges as we get ready to start the line up, we are very aware of quality. The goal of BAP (Belvidere Assembly Plant) is to be the best Assembly Plant in the world. I think we are well on our way to making it.
 

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I know peopleat DCX and well....there are almost no, yes no, common components on that platform. They are all new and being tested for the first time. Time will tell what the quality looks like....
 

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I saw a question about interior, something about Seats.... this vehicle will be a dream to anyone who wants to express their individuallity from the factory. Examples include....12 different wiper blades, 139 different seats, and I couldn't tell you the different colors, interior packages, configurations in the dash...just a mind boggling amount of options. There are 8 different rear seat belts, while the middle rear seat belt has 18 choices. Now some of these won't be for the US market, but because of different laws or spec's in other countries, requirements were meet thus so many different parts.
why not use some of the cooler options in the show car(s) then?? even the one at sema.. time constraints or something? (these are rhetorical)


Might want to wait until our Sister Plant, Sterling Heights, launches their JS model. As far as I know they haven't decided on a model name for it, JS is their Pilot designation. It will, beyond a shadow of a doubt, meet all your criteria. It is a 4 door, sporty, very very sharp sedan that is to replace the Stratus. The pilot is a super sharp car and is on the same platform as the Caliber, Compass, Patriot line that we are making at BAP. It will blow the Mazda 3 away in styling and performance, mark my words.
this IS a sedan right? not a hatch like the other 3?
 

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Does anyone know if the Caliber is going to be available with a manual transmission? I've been driving for 45 years and I am on my second auto. I want it to go away! A nice black Caliber with 2.4, AWD and a stick would fill the bill nicely! Please Maker of Calibers tell an old man good things?
 

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Outlander said:
Does anyone know if the Caliber is going to be available with a manual transmission? I've been driving for 45 years and I am on my second auto. I want it to go away! A nice black Caliber with 2.4, AWD and a stick would fill the bill nicely! Please Maker of Calibers tell an old man good things?
I would think so...but i could be wrong...
 

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i looked @ dodge.com today.. they have a... pre-emptive build&price, it looks like they're using it to see what options most people would want on it. the RT has a 2.4L, dunno about the turbo, there's also the diesel and gas-electric hybrid available..

on the customise page it says
*Preliminary option and pricing information only. Actual vehicle specifications will differ from those presented on the site, and the information on the site may vary over time. But don’t let that stop you from having some assembly-line fun: your feedback will help us build the right car for you. Build your dream car and have an impact on the future of Caliber!
Prices are for survey purposes only and do not represent an offer to sell. Prices may vary between repeat visits to the website and will change before the official vehicle launch date.
**Concept vehicle is not trim level specific.
i dont see any options aside from the 4 spd auto.. [nothin about CVT is on it]
 

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Calist said:
I saw a question about interior, something about Seats.... this vehicle will be a dream to anyone who wants to express their individuallity from the factory. Examples include....12 different wiper blades, 139 different seats, and I couldn't tell you the different colors, interior packages, configurations in the dash...just a mind boggling amount of options. There are 8 different rear seat belts, while the middle rear seat belt has 18 choices.
Um that is a little toom much dont ya think?
 

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So how many different colors to the seatbelt covers come in?? can i get gold plated wipers...on the up side, if u decide to go all out, and choose your own colors for everything, at least there wont be as many exactly like it crusing around.
 

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lol... thats true, but think about it, this is a GLOBAL car, not every option is going to be available here.. and i'm sure by the 12 dif. wiper blades, i was thinking configurations; like the single-wiper, dual wiper, which direction, heated wipers, whatever..
 

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suzq044 said:
i looked @ dodge.com today.. they have a... pre-emptive build&price, it looks like they're using it to see what options most people would want on it. the RT has a 2.4L, dunno about the turbo, there's also the diesel and gas-electric hybrid available..

on the customise page it says


i dont see any options aside from the 4 spd auto.. [nothin about CVT is on it]
The CVT is on it in two different forms. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #17
suzq044 said:
why not use some of the cooler options in the show car(s) then?? even the one at sema.. time constraints or something? (these are rhetorical)

This was all done by the interior design department in Auburn Hills, don't know why they picked what they picked but a good guess would be whatever is popular in Europe that they think will sell in the US as well.


this IS a sedan right? not a hatch like the other 3?
Easiest way to explain what the JS looks like would be a 4 door version of the Chysler Crossfire, instead of a rounded rear end, its more like the Charger, squared off. Front end is more V'd in the front with headlights that give it a Hawk like look to it.... if that makes any sense to you. I believe, like the Stratus, it will come with a V-6, 2.7 I think standard, and also have a 2.4L 4 banger. Not completely sure on the engine though.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Germaneon said:
What will be the weight of the Caliber?
And will the Export-Calibers have again a speed governor as the Chrysler Neons had (130 mph cut off)? :(

P.S.: Thank you for building my Neons, you did a good job. Never had a break down yet. :cool:

http://www.neons.de.vu
Sorry, Can't answer that for you. I don't know. I'll try to check on weight for you next time I talk to my engineers. Sadly, I'm in the trim department and the engineers that could answer those questions would probably be in Final or shipping.

Governor questions are gonna be engine line/drive train engineers but... I'd say yes, there will be a governor on all vehicles. You just gotta figure out the way around it. Those SRT neon guys will tell ya how...lol
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Outlander said:
Does anyone know if the Caliber is going to be available with a manual transmission? I've been driving for 45 years and I am on my second auto. I want it to go away! A nice black Caliber with 2.4, AWD and a stick would fill the bill nicely! Please Maker of Calibers tell an old man good things?
Sorry Outlander, but as far as I know, all CVT transmissions are automatic. On the up side, they will come Autostick. At least they did in the Pilot program.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
suzq044 said:
one question.. will that rallye grille be an option? or maybe a rallye package?
So many options available its hard to say, maybe in the future it will be, but nothing we are currently building has that grill. Maybe an after market option or an SRT-4 option. SRT's won't be built for a while yet, they told us the launch date, but darned if I can remember it. Think its sometime in the Summer of 06.
 
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