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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) recently announced plans to invest a total of $4.5 billion in five of its existing Michigan plants, and to work with the city of Detroit and the state of Michigan on building a new assembly plant within city limits. The move would increase capacity to meet growing demand for its Jeep and Ram brands, including production of two new Jeep-branded products, as well as electrified models. The proposed projects would create nearly 6,500 new jobs.
These actions represent the next steps in FCA’s U.S. manufacturing realignment which began in 2016. In response to a shift in consumer demand toward SUVs and trucks, the company discontinued compact-car production and retooled plants in Illinois, Ohio and Michigan to make full use of available capacity to expand the Jeep and Ram brands.
"Three years ago, FCA set a course to grow our profitability based on the strength of the Jeep and Ram brands by realigning our U.S. manufacturing operations," said Mike Manley, FCA chief executive officer. "Today’s announcement represents the next step in that strategy. It allows Jeep to enter two white-space segments that offer significant margin opportunities and will enable new electrified Jeep products, including at least four plug-in hybrid vehicles and the flexibility to produce fully battery-electric vehicles."
FCA will invest $1.6 billion to convert the two plants that comprise the Mack Avenue Engine Complex into the future assembly site for the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, as well as a new Jeep SUV and plug-in hybrid models, adding 3,850 new jobs to support production. The company intends to start construction of the new Detroit facility by the end of the second quarter in 2019.
As part of this announcement, the Jefferson North Assembly Plant would receive an investment of $900 million to retool and modernize its facility to build the Dodge Durango and next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee. FCA expects to create 1,100 new jobs at the Jefferson North plant.
The reborn Mack facility would be the first new assembly plant to be built in the city of Detroit in nearly three decades. In 1991, Jefferson North was the last new assembly plant built in the city. When complete, Mack would join Jefferson North as the only automotive assembly plants to be located completely within the city limits of Detroit.
FCA also confirms the investment at its Warren truck plant to retool for production of the new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, along with their electrified counterparts, would increase to $1.5 billion. Production is expected to launch in early 2021. In addition to the new Jeep models, the plant would continue building the Ram 1500 Classic. It is expected that 1,400 new jobs would be added. As a result of this investment announcement, production of the new Ram Heavy Duty will continue at its current location in Saltillo, Mexico.
To support the additional production, FCA’s stamping plants in Warren and Sterling Heights, Michigan, will receive investments of $245 million and $160 million, respectively, with Sterling Stamping expected to add more than 80 new jobs.
For more information, visit www.fcanorthamerica.com.