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Chrysler dedicates proving grounds

DETROIT -- Chrysler Corp. Wednesday dedicated its new $12-million proving grounds 32 miles northwest of Phoenix, saying the facilities will help it determine effects of high temperatures and desert conditions on its vehicles.

The No. 3 U.S. carmaker said the 3,812-acre site in Wittmann, Ariz., includes a 4.2-mile oval test track and a 10-mile gravel road to test durability as well as facilities to evaluate braking, performance and handling for year-round testing.

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The site will supplement Chrysler's proving grounds in Chelsea, Mich.

Chrysler officials said construction of the Arizona site, completed in October, was done so as not to disturb the ecology of the land.

Only one access road was used for vehicles involved in the construction of the grounds, which began in April 1984. That road was then plowed over for reseeding to desert conditions this winter, company officials said.

Additionally, about 1,000 cacti were removed to make way for the test tracks, but they were replanted elsewhere on the property.

Chrysler also said efforts were made to preserve the wildlife of the area, including a herd of wild burros, which were transferred to Kingman, Ariz., for adoption.

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