Chrysler Group LLC has resumed production at its first factory since emerging from bankruptcy last week: a Detroit plant that makes the low-volume Dodge Viper sports car.
The re-opening will bring some life to the Conner Avenue plant, which Chrysler has been unable to sell.
The company has built only 61 cars there this year, and former CEO Robert Nardelli said in bankruptcy court documents last month that the business has drawn limited interest from potential buyers.
Chrysler shut its assembly operations after filing for bankruptcy on April 30. Executives have said most plants would resume production by the end of June.
“At this time, we cannot give exact timing in regards to the start of production at our other manufacturing facilities,” the carmaker, now controlled by Italy’s Fiat S.p.A., said in a statement today.
The plants initially will resume production of 2009 models and then switch to 2010 production after the normal summer shutdown in July.
Dow Jones reported the Viper plant reopening earlier.
In last month’s court filings, Mr Nardelli said Chrysler had offered to sell the entire Conner Avenue operation for $10 million.
“We received no purchaser interest,” Mr Nardelli said. “The market for such assets is extremely depressed at this time.”
The documents also said that on May 15, Chrysler received a $5.5 million offer from Devon Motor Works to buy the Viper operation, with no assumption of liabilities, and to lease the plant for one year.
Devon Motors was founded by Scott Devon, CEO of Cole’s Quality Foods, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, a maker of frozen garlic bread and toast, a receptionist at Cole’s said at the time.
Another nibble has come from Poland’s AutoGroup SA.