Last night, the United Auto Workers (UAW) announced they had reached a tentative agreement with Stellantis. While it signaled the return to work for those at the Mopar Distribution Centers, Toledo Assembly Complex, and Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, it also marked a celebration for the community of Belvidere, Illinois.
“Eight months ago, Stellantis idled Belvidere Assembly Plant, putting 1,200 of our members on the street. From the strength of our strike, we are bringing back those jobs and more,” stated UAW Vice President Rich Boyer. “Stellantis is reopening the plant, and the company will also be adding over a thousand jobs at a new battery plant in Belvidere.”
According to the UAW, the new product at the plant will be a new mid-sized pickup truck. While many believed it would be a variant of the Brazilian-built compact Ram Rampage pickup, our sources have indicated that it could be a true successor to the popular Dodge Dakota. However, we expect this new midsizer to stray away from its body-on-frame roots and instead be based on the STLA Large architecture, which underpins the upcoming Dodge Charger (LB) and off-road-oriented Jeep® Recon (EJ).
It makes sense that the new pickup would be based on the STLA Large unibody-based architecture, as Belvidere is already set up as a unibody production plant. However, it only marks the beginning as the plant has produced several types of vehicles on the plant’s flexible line. So, the possibility of other vehicles joining Belvidere isn’t off the table.
Reports have indicated that the state of Illinois has lined up 250 acres of land near the Belvidere facility, in addition to the 280 acres Stellantis already owns. More real estate would be needed to build a new battery facility. Stellantis is already the largest property-tax payer in Boone County, paying $1.9 million in property taxes in 2022.
UAW President Shawn Fain indicated that the new pickup would offer electrified and internal combustion engine (ICE) power. “We are bringing both combustion vehicle and battery jobs to Belvidere,” said Fain.
We hope to learn more about the plans for Belvidere later this week.
Source: UAW and Crain’s Chicago Business News