Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is making a commitment to America with the announcement at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that the company would expand the Jeep lineup with three new models and invest $1 Billion in US facilities and create 2,000 new jobs.
FCA has confirmed the addition of a Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer and a pickup truck to the Jeep stable, and promised retooling and modernization of the Warren, Michigan and Toledo, Ohio plants, to bring in 2,000 more workers.
“The conversion of our industrial footprint completes this stage of our transformation as we respond to the shift in consumer tastes to trucks and SUVs, and as we continue to reinforce the U.S. as a global manufacturing hub for those vehicles at the heart of the SUV and truck market,” said Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer of FCA. “These moves, which have been under discussion with Dennis Williams and the rest of the UAW leadership for some time, expand our capacity in these key segments, enabling us to meet growing demand here in the U.S., but more importantly to increase exports of our mid-size and larger vehicles to international markets.”
The Warren plant will be entrusted with building the new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, and the Toledo south plant will be given responsibility for the as-yet-unnamed Jeep pickup. The Warren plant will also adapt to build the Heavy Duty Ram pickup currently produced in Mexico. The plants are expected to be ready to go in 2020.
“The expansion of our Jeep lineup has been and continues to be the key pillar of our strategy,” explained Marchionne. ‘Our commitment to internationalize the Jeep brand is unwavering, and with these last moves, we will finally have the capacity to successfully penetrate markets other than the U.S. which have historically been denied product due to capacity constraints. In addition, these all-new products will reach new consumers, as well as those that have been part of the Jeep tradition.”
The Toledo plant currently builds the Jeep Wrangler (on which the new pickup is rumoured to be based) and has been announced to retool for the next generation Wrangler, due over the next couple years.
The initiatives represent the second phase of FCA’s plan (announced at last year’s show in Detroit) to realign its North American manufacturing to fully utilize its production capacity, and quickly realign its plant output in response to market demands.
Since 2009, FCA’s total U.S. committed investment has now grown to more than $9.6 billion, and 25,000 jobs have been created.