FCA to invest $4.5B for new Detroit plant, expanded production at current facilities

It’ll create 6,500 jobs and add electric and three-row Jeeps

We expected some shifts in manufacturing plans as Fiat Chrysler plans to begin electrifying its Jeep brand, but this news bodes well for Michigan. FCA announced today that it would spend $4.5 billion to expand production in the state, including building a new assembly plant in Detroit and increasing capacity at five other facilities in the state. The plan, which FCA says will create nearly 6,500 new jobs, will help to meet increasing demand for Ram and Jeep products, and to electrify Jeep models.

$1.6 billion will be set aside to transform the Mack Avenue Engine Complex into a site to build the next generation of Jeep Grand Cherokee, as well as an unspecified, new three-row Jeep model. FCA says this part of the plan will create 3,850 new jobs.

FCA is increasing its investment in the Warren Truck plant to $1.5 billion in order to continue building the Ram 1500 Classic, as well as the new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, creating 1,400 new jobs. FCA says that the new Ram 1500 Heavy Duty will still be built in Saltillo, Mexico.

At FCA's Jefferson North facility, the automaker will invest $900 million to upgrade the plant. This site will continue to build the Dodge Durango, as well help build the next Jeep Grand Cherokee. FCA expects this to create 1,100 new jobs.

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.

"Three years ago, FCA set a course to grow our profitability based on the strength of the Jeep and Ram brands by realigning our U.S. manufacturing operations," said FCA CEO Mike Manley, referring in part to earlier investments in Illinois, Ohio and Michigan. "Today's announcement represents the next step in that strategy," Manley continued. "It allows Jeep to enter two white space segments that offer significant margin opportunities and will enable new electrified Jeep products, including at least four plug-in hybrid vehicles and the flexibility to produce fully battery-electric vehicles."

Other investments include $119 million to move production of the 3.0-, 3.2- and 3.6-liter Pentastar engines from Mack I to the Dundee Engine Plant, and $400 million for increased capacity and 80 new jobs at the Sterling and Warren stamping plants.

This comes at a time when FCA's U.S. rival GM is undergoing its own restructuring, wherein it is ceasing production of a number of models and cutting jobs in the U.S. and Canada.

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