Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recently announced they will spend a large sum of money investing in the plants that build some of their most popular SUVs and trucks. Right now the figure sits at $1 billion to begin the retooling of the Warren Truck Assembly plant which has been in operation for nearly 100 years and the Toledo Supplier Park which has been ready to be retooled for some time now. This news and the movement of FCA comes at the perfect time when much of the US automotive industry is coming under scrutiny by a new Presidential administration.
The Warren Truck Plant is expected to be the location where the new Jeep Wagoneers and Grand Wagoneers will be built. These two names are returning to the US market in 2020 and will ride on body on frame builds that have been derived from the Ram pickup truck. In addition to the ability to build these vehicles in Warren, FCA can move the production of the Ram heavy duty pickup to the Warren plant as well. Currently this truck is produced in Mexico, but with the assembly line for the two top level SUVs in Warren, this truck can also be produced in the US.
The Toledo Assembly Complex is where the Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Wrangler are currently built. These two don’t share an assembly line because one is a unibody build and the other is a body on frame. This is what could happen in Warren as well. The money being put into the Toledo plant will help Jeep begin to produce the new Wrangler pickup truck that will be added to the Jeep lineup in the future. With both of these plants updated, there will be nearly 2,000 more jobs created in the two FCA plants.
These two moves have been in the works for several years and are part of an agreement with the UAW that dates back to 2015. FCA has been steadfast in its commitment to increasing the investment into their truck and SUV segments to bring us more capability and more of what we want. The trimming of some of the other models across the main FCA brands has allowed the company to invest heavily in the most popular and most profitable segments of their business to give us what we’re looking for in the new US automotive market.
Because FCA had already planned to make this investment several years ago, the fact these moves will be met with admiration and approval from the new Presidential administration is simply a bonus for FCA. Many other automakers are scrambling to redirect investments back into the US to avoid threatened fines and added taxes for those vehicles that are imported, especially by companies that currently have plants and headquarters in the US. As these new products make it to the market over the next few years, we will see the transition of Jeep to compete with nearly every brand and level of SUV on the market.