Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has 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 state of Michigan on building a new assembly plant within city limits. The move would increase capacity to meet the growing demand for its Jeep® and Ram brands, including the production of two new Jeep-branded white space products, as well as electrified models. The proposed projects would create nearly 6,500 new jobs.
This is exciting news for Detroiters, as General Motors (GM) has recently announced that the closure of the Hamtramck Assembly Plant.
In their new plan, FCA would invest $1.6 billion to convert the two plants that make up the current Mack Avenue Engine Complex, into a future site for the production of the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee as well as the new three-row E-segment Jeep SUV. The plant will also build a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) of the next-generation Grand Cherokee. FCA plans to start construction of that plant by the summer of this year. The all-new three-row Jeep will begin production at the end of 2020, while the all-new Grand Cherokee will be out in early 2021.
FCA also announced plans for the current home of the Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP), which the current home to the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango production. The plan is to invest more than $900 million to retool and modernize the plant, to continue to build the current generation Dodge Durango as well as the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee. FCA expects to add 1,100 new jobs to JNAP.
With the addition of the reconfigured Mack facility, it would be the first new assembly plant in the city of Detroit, since JNAP opened in 1991. The two plants would be the only two assembly plants, located in the city limits of Detroit.
The Pentastar engine lineup that is currently produced at the Mack I Engine Plant would be relocated to FCA’s Dundee Engine Plant as part of a $119 million investment. Pentastar production at the Mack I Engine Plant will end around the third-quarter of this year. The second part of the Mack facility has been idle since September 2012.
A huge part of the announcement was that the original investment to the Warren Truck Assembly Plant (WTAP) would get an increased investment of $1.5 billion, compared to its original plans announced by the company in 2017. Currently, FCA has extended the production of the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic Quad and Crew Cab models. The plant is scheduled to retool and produce the highly-awaited Jeep Wagoneer, Jeep Grand Wagoneer, and the rumored next-generation Dodge Durango. Production of the new Wagoneer models is expected to launch in early 2021. The plant is expected to add 1,400 new jobs.
As part of the changes to WTAP, the Ram Heavy Duty lineup will continue production at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant (Saltillo Truck) for the time being instead of coming to WTAP as originally plant.
To add to additional production, FCA announced that the Warren Stamping Plant and the Sterling Stamping Plant would receive additional investment. The Warren Stamping Plant will receive $245 million, and the Sterling Stamping Plant will receive $160 million. Sterling Stamping would add more than 80 new jobs as well.
“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, Chief Executive Officer, FCA N.V. “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.”