FCA Plans Jeep Expansion

After 27 long years, Detroit will finally get a new auto assembly plant courtesy of Jeep. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) recently announced the new auto assembly plant will create nearly 6,500 jobs as part of a $4.5 billion manufacturing expansion in Southeast Michigan. Additionally, FCA said it is converting its current Mack Avenue Engine factory to an assembly plant that’ll be responsible for the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee and a new and unknown, large Jeep SUV. Production at the brand’s five existing factories throughout metro Detroit is also scheduled to increase.

While speaking to reporters, Mike Manley, current CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), that the latest investment is intended to grow core brands and electrify the Jeep lineup. According to the automaker’s long-term plan unveiled last Summer (2018), Jeep hopes to have an electric counterpart for every vehicle in its lineup. Another untapped market for the automaker is the large and rapidly growing demand for three-row SUVs – a segment that’s currently dominated by crosstown rival General Motors with its Tahoe, Yukon, and Escalade. Manley told reporters that diversifying its products will allow the automaker to capture new customers and encourage loyalty in an already-strong set Jeep and Ram products. “Economic indicators, as we see them, are strong,” Manley said.

The Plans

  • A $1.6 billion investment will convert the Mack Avenue Engine Complex into a manufacturing site. The next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee and an all-new three-row full-size Jeep SUV are both slated to be manufactured there, in turn creating 3,850 new jobs.
  • A Warren Truck investment that was initially announced in 2017 is now expanded to $1.5 billion. The plant will be responsible for the new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, as well as the continued assembly of Ram 1500 Classic pickups. This means 1,400 new jobs.
  • A $900 million investment will help retool and modernize the Jefferson North Assembly Plant for continued production of the current-generation Dodge Durango and the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee. 1,100 new jobs are expected.
  • As a result of all these separate investments, the automaker has decided that production of the new Ram Heavy Duty will remain at its current location in Mexico. FCA intended to move that production from Mexico to Warren, but it seems the expanding Jeep lineup takes precedence.
  • The above-mentioned Detroit assembly sites will also be responsible for producing plug-in hybrid variants of their respective Jeep models, with the flexibility to build all-electric variants in the future.
  • The Sterling Stamping and Warren Stamping plants will receive more than $400 million to support additional production, a move that’s slated to create about 80 new jobs at the Sterling Plant.
  • A $119 million investment will see the Pentastar engine production shift from the Mack Plant to the Dundee Engine Plant instead, with production at the Mack plant slated to cease by the end of the third quarter of 2019.

Manley was clear in explaining that these recent moves are all about keeping up with the demands of expansion. The automaker hopes to harness what it considers the untapped opportunity, both in the U.S. and abroad. Vehicles like the Grand Cherokee and latest-generation Wrangler are highly-popular exports that the brand intends to continue pouring its resources into. Three-row designs are also important for the automaker’s future, with Manley stating “As you know, that segment (three-row SUV) today does not have a huge number of competitors. We should be very competitive.”

Follow Miami Lakes AutoMall on social media to stay up to date with the latest news, including news about the long-rumored Grand Wagoneer and plans for a three-row Jeep SUV. To Explore the brand’s current offerings, look no further than the flagship Grand Cherokee or the more adventurous and iconic Jeep Wrangler at Miami Lakes Jeep.

Photo Source/Copyright: Jeep

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