Fiat + Chrysler = ?
"Chrysler Proving Grounds is used to test almost everything attached to our products, which is why it's a vital facility," Cappa says. "We have not announced any changes for CPG." He adds that there is "nothing on the table" about selling it. In Chrysler's troubled world, that's as close as it gets to a vote of confidence.
Some veteran workers are hoping for better times with Fiat in the picture. The company will need a place to test its European cars to conform to U.S. standards-and that's likely to be the proving grounds.
"I'm very hopeful that Fiat will do some good things for us," says Hollis Bennett, who supervises two brake test labs and has worked for Chrysler for thirty-six years.
No matter what happens to the company that built it, though, the proving grounds will probably continue to launch more new cars in the years ahead. They just may not be made by Chrysler. Most observers feel that the facility is too important and too developed to disappear.