Stellantis, the parent company of Jeep®, announced in December that it would close its Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois, which employs 1,350 workers. Despite efforts from Illinois Governor JB Pritzker to convince Stellantis to turn the plant into an electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing center, nothing has materialized so far.
Governor Pritzker signed an amendment to the Reimagining Electric Vehicles (REV) in the Illinois Act, which expanded tax incentives for car manufacturers to reorganize existing automobile production facilities for EV production. The ultimate goal of the REV Act is to have 1 million EVs on state roads and highways by 2030.
Stellantis COO of North America, Mark Stewart, has stated that the company is “continuing to look at what can be done to reuse that facility,” but this does not provide immediate answers for those who will lose their jobs at the end of the day, today.
UAW Local 1268 President Kevin Logan has reported that the state offered Stellantis a very high sum to keep the plant open, but the automaker declined to comment on the negotiations. Stellantis is heavily investing in EVs and batteries, with plans to launch over 75 battery electric vehicles globally by 2030 and establish four battery plants in North America.
Jeep will launch its first pure EV, the Recon, next year. While the future of the Belvidere plant remains uncertain, Governor Pritzker’s efforts to incentivize EV production in the state could potentially attract other car manufacturers and help reinvigorate the local economy.
Constructed in 1964 and 1965, the Belvidere plant has been responsible for producing a diverse range of vehicles over the years. From the early days of Dodge and Plymouth models, such as the Polara, Fury, and Horizon, to later vehicles like the Neon, Caliber, and Dart, the factory has been integral to the history of Chrysler’s manufacturing output. Other models that have been produced at the plant include the Charger (L-Body), New Yorker, Dynasty, Imperial, and Fifth Avenue.
The plant is focused on producing the Jeep Cherokee (KL), which has been in production since 2017 and will continue to be produced until 2023. Overall, the Belvidere Assembly Plant has a rich legacy of automotive production and has played an important role in the history of American manufacturing.
The last 2023 Jeep Cherokee is scheduled to roll off the assembly line today.