FCA announces $4.5B Jeep, Ram factory investment

Jeep 2018 product slide

Jeep 2018 product slide

The yet-to-be-named large three-row SUV will be manufactured at the current Mack Avenue Engine Complex in Detroit, which is being converted into vehicle assembly facility. The plant builds the Jeep Compass and Patriot and, starting in the second quarter of this year, the 2013 Dodge Dart.

As Jeep plans to electrify models in its SUV lineup, each of the above plants will produce plug-in hybrid versions of the Jeep models produced there, "with flexibility to build fully battery-electric models in the future", the company said in its announcement. Construction on the plant is meant to begin by the end of the second quarter of this year, with the first three-row SUVs set to roll off the line by the end of 2020 and the next-gen Grand Cherokee arriving in the first half of 2021.

The main factory plan won't happen in a vacuum and is part of a big shuffle at Jeep production plants in MI.

Once complete, Mack will join Jefferson North as the only automotive assembly plants to be located completely within the city of Detroit. Meanwhile, production of the Pentastar V6 engine at the existing Mack plant will relocate to FCA's Dundee plant. The company's Warren Truck facility would get an extra $1.5 billion for continued production of the Ram 1500 classic and the new Jeep Wagoneer which is in the pipeline. Jeep's most recent five-year plan called for up to 10 plug-in hybrids and four electrics by 2022. Those models were officially confirmed way back in 2017.

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According to a statement from FCA Spokesperson Jodi Tinson, almost 1,400 workers will lose jobs from the change.

Fiat Chrysler was the only one of Detroit's three automakers to increase sales in a flat USA market a year ago, thanks to record deliveries for its Jeep and Ram brands. The plan, which FCA says will create almost 6,500 new jobs, will help to meet increasing demand for Ram and Jeep products, and to electrify Jeep models. FCA also says that the announcements are contingent on "development packages with the state and other local governments", likely meaning tax breaks.

The automaker adds that the city of Detroit has 60 days to agree to the terms of a memorandum of understanding.

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