The Chrysler Technology Center has 5.4 million square feet of floor space, which – outside of the Pentagon – makes it the largest headquarters in North America. This monster of a facility allows developers to work from the beginning of the design phase all the way to concept production and testing. The facility has 129 different dynamometers that are in constant operation, and a climate testing cell that can generate temperatures between -40 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit. That particular cell is also able to simulate a snow storm or intense rainstorm with wind speeds up to 100 mph — allowing developers to test vehicles in any condition without traveling to different parts of the world or keeping up with weather conditions.

That climate cell just got a major update to the tune of $2.5 million. The most important part of the update is a brand new, four-wheel-drive dynamometer that can handle vehicles with up to 350 horsepower at the front wheels and 650 in the rear. In addition to the new testing equipment, Chrysler also updated the ventilation system so that it can test vehicles with high-output and diesel engines. Consumers are snatching up four- and all-wheel-drive vehicles faster than ever, and Chrysler feels the most recent upgrade will help it better deliver the durability its customers expect. The CTC located in Auburn Hills, Michigan and has run 24 hours a day for the last 24 years.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

FCA Prepares New 4x4 Dyno For Rain And Snow Testing Exterior
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Chrysler uses the climatic test cell to see how well its vehicles hold up under just about any condition imaginable. Its goal makes sense – provide the most durable and reliable vehicle possible. I hope it enables it to bring more durability to its line. When I worked as mechanic I can’t even count the number of times I’ve had to tear into the front-end of a 300C for a clunking noise, or replace the totally integrated power module used on most Chrysler vehicles.

Personally, I’m more concerned with Chrysler’s inability to prevent serious safety recalls like the most recent airbag recall on the Dodge Charger. I think Chrysler is putting too much effort into distracting consumers from the problems at hand. Until Chrysler can provide a vehicle that isn’t going to rip my face off when an airbag inadvertently deploys, or catch on fire 10 minutes after I drive off the lot, I won’t be overly impressed.

2015 Jeep Renegade

2015 Jeep Renegade High Resolution Exterior
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Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert -
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read More
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Press Release

Where in North America can you go from testing the 4x4 capabilities of a 2015 Jeep® Renegade Trailhawk at minus 40 degrees with snow whipping by at 100 mph, while at the same time baking a Renegade Limited just a few steps away at 130 degrees?

FCA Prepares New 4x4 Dyno For Rain And Snow Testing Exterior
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Answer: The Chrysler Technology Center (CTC) at the FCA US headquarters in Auburn Hills, Mich.

FCA US LLC is using its all-new 4x4 dynamometer (dyno) at CTC to bring another industry-leading capability in house. The existing drive cell that houses the new dyno can be chilled to 40 below zero and create wind speeds up to 100 mph. Testing is done in blizzard-like conditions in order to evaluate, among other things, how a vehicle performs when dense snow clogs its air intakes.

FCA US invested $2.5 million to upgrade the existing climatic test cell. The upgraded drive cell consists of a new front dyno that can handle loads of up to 350 horsepower with a rear dyno operating up to 650 horsepower. The cell also received a significant upgrade in ductwork and exhaust capabilities to accommodate high-output engines such as the 2016 Ram 2500’s 6.7-liter Cummins High-Output Turbo Diesel with a segment-topping 900 lb.-ft. of torque.

“Our world-class environmental test center provides dynamic and static testing conditions to simulate the climatic environments that are experienced by our customers around the world,” said John Nigro, Vice President-Product Development, FCA-North America. “With more 4x4 and all-wheel-drive (AWD) vehicles in our fleet than ever, this investment will go a long way to providing the durable cars and trucks our customers expect from us.”

FCA Prepares New 4x4 Dyno For Rain And Snow Testing Exterior
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FCA’s Climatic Test Facilities are used to simulate and control environmental conditions. The climatic cells are capable of simulating the most frigid conditions in mid-winter to the extreme heat of the Gulf Coast countries. Development in climatic chambers allows FCA to design and develop products to survive the harshest environments.

The extreme climate test is one of thousands performed daily at CTC, located at the FCA US headquarters. It is the auto industry’s only headquarters building where a vehicle design can go from a napkin sketch to production prototype to advertising campaign – and everything in between – under one roof.

CTC’s 5.4 million square feet of floor space makes it the largest headquarters of any kind in North America, except for the Pentagon. Among its features:

The aerodynamics testing facility generates the highest wind speeds (160+ mph) of any domestic OEM’s wind tunnel
Its 129 dynamometer cells run 24 hours a day, seven days a week
The facility has been running 24/7 since it opened in 1991
CTC’s current employment numbers (14,000+) represent its historic peak
The site produces no landfill waste

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