Construction has begun for a new paint shop at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant (WTAP) in Warren, Michigan. While the new Mack Avenue Assembly Plant (MAAP) on Detroit’s eastside has been getting a lot of attention as the cornerstone to the future of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) in and around the “Motor City”, another big project for future Ram Trucks and the Jeep® brand.
Currently, WTAP is home to the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic (DS platform) Quad Cab and Crew Cab pickups for the United States and Canada. The plant will also become the new home for the Jeep® brand’s new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer vehicles that will be launched during the 2021 model year. Both vehicles are based on the new Ram 1500 (DT) architecture and will offer electrified variants as well.
In original plans, the WTAP was to be home to the highly revised 2019 Ram Heavy Duty trucks as well as the new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models. However, sales of the 2019 Ram 1500 Classic have stayed strong and helped propel Ram into the 2nd biggest truck maker, surpassing Chevrolet. Ram’s decision to continue the Ram 1500 Classic production, may keep the truck around till the 2022 model year. At that point, the fifth-generation 2023 Ram Heavy Duty trucks would be built and launched from WTAP. This would open production at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Mexico, where the current revised fourth-generation Ram Heavy Duty trucks are built, and a new global Ram metric-truck would be assembled, according to plans giving at the FCA Captial Market Day presentation in June of last year.
The next-generation Dodge Durango (SD) will also join the Wagoneer twins at WTAP, in the 2023 model year according to our sources.
The aging WTAP has been in need of updating, as production for the fourth-generation could not meet demand. It was because of this reason, that the production of the fifth-generation Ram 1500 was moved to a completely updated Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (SHAP), just a few miles away from WTAP.
FCA has committed $1.5 Billion to upgrade the plant for its future product and the new paint shop is the first step in the process. Before construction was started, crews removed existing parking lots and prepared the area for expansion. According to FCA, two construction crews will be working ten-hour days, seven days a week for the next three months to construct the new 300,000 square-foot facility that will house the new paint shop and office area.