According to reports from The Detroit News, Stellantis is exploring the sale of its North American Headquarters and Technical Center located in Auburn Hills, Michigan. This is part of a larger initiative where the company is considering selling or closing 18 facilities, as discussions with the United Auto Workers (UAW) continue.
The 504-acre complex, once bustling with over 15,000 employees before the pandemic, boasts an impressive 5.4 million square feet of space, making it one of the largest standalone business complexes globally. In the United States, it’s second only to the Pentagon in size. Originally completed between 1993 and 1996 for the Chrysler Corporation, the building has changed hands multiple times, serving as the North American headquarters for DaimlerChrysler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), and now Stellantis North America.
Post-pandemic, most of Stellantis North America’s employees at the facility have been working remotely, with only a small group of engineers and designers present. Consequently, a significant portion of the complex has remained unoccupied.
Insiders suggest that a potential property sale would afford Stellantis greater flexibility regarding the campus, which encompasses labs, engineering facilities, and design studios. The company may consider selling the property while retaining a lease for its remaining operations.
Mark Stewart, Stellantis COO for North America, has indicated that the company is looking at closing specific sites, including various Mopar aftermarket parts distribution centers. He emphasized that these changes are part of an effort to modernize and do not necessarily imply job reductions. Of the 18 listed sites, ten are in the U.S., including the Trenton Engine Complex and the Tipton Transmission facility.
The idled Mount Elliott Tool & Die facility in Detroit and Jeep® Cherokee plant in Belvidere, Illinois, are also on the list. While Stellantis has proposed a solution for the Belvidere plant, the specifics were not disclosed. Rumors suggest that the Belvidere facility could be changed into a Mopar parts distribution center.
Stellantis is also evaluating its Mopar parts distribution centers, with potential closures or modernization efforts underway for select facilities, including those in Michigan, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Milwaukee, New York, Orlando, and Sherwood. New centers in Fishkill, New York, and Macon, Georgia, are being considered.
In May 2021, Stellantis introduced a flexible workplace model, known as “the New Era of Agility,” for salaried employees at its Auburn Hills campus. This model aimed for an estimated 70% remote work arrangement, with the remainder in-office. Subsequently, the company began reassessing its real estate portfolio, including the possibility of leasing space at the headquarters.
While Stellantis maintains that the Chrysler Technology Center will remain its North American Headquarters and Technical Center, recent changes, such as removing familiar ads from the complex’s tower, indicate that the company is making significant moves at the Auburn Hills campus. The situation continues to evolve as discussions with the UAW progress.