FCA Announces $1 Billion Investment in U.S. Plants; Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer Body-on-Frame
Marchionne Claims Plans Were In Discussion “For Some Time” Before Election
Whether president-elect Trump’s claims of a “big border tax” on vehicles coming from Mexico are just saber-rattling bluster or a real indication of policies to come, it seems auto manufacturers don’t want to be perceived as being on the wrong side of prevailing public opinion. The latest automaker to announce additional significant investments in U.S. manufacturing facilities is Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). At the 2017 Detroit Auto Show, FCA chief executive Sergio Marchionne announced a total investment of $1 billion dollars at its Warren Truck assembly plant and Toledo Assembly complex in Ohio.
The Warren Truck plant will receive investment to build the upcoming Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. Warren will also be upgraded to build Ram HD pickups. Currently, all Ram HD models are sourced from Saltillo, Mexico. Separately, Automotive News quoted Marchionne as saying the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer would be body-on-frame SUVs, decisively quashing any speculation the models would be based on the unibody Grand Cherokee. This would effectively position the duo as competitors to the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban on the lower end and the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator on the higher end.
Toledo will receive investment to build a pickup version of the forthcoming JL Wrangler. To make room for the pickup variant, Jeep Cherokee production is moving from Toledo, Ohio, to Belvidere, Illinois, the former home of the Dodge Dart compact sedan, which has been discontinued. These latest investments bring FCA’s cumulative investment in U.S. facilities to $9.6 billion and 25,000 jobs.
Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Automotive News