Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has announced funding for the last piece of the Jeep production puzzle.
The automaker will spend $1 billion to retool its Toledo and Warren assembly plants in anticipation of three new models, capping off a spending spree that made this round of production plant musical chairs possible.
FCA needs to unload the cash in order to keep the Jeep Wranger pickup, Wagoneer and ultra-lux Grand Wagoneer in the production pipeline.
The funds will see the Warren Truck Plant and Toledo Assembly Complex retooled and modernized to handle the new vehicles. While the 2018 Wrangler is already bound for the Toledo plant with cash in hand, the future pickup can’t be built on the production line vacated by the Belvidere, Illinois-bound Cherokee without a switch to body-on-frame capability.
At Warren, two models in search of a home will finally be able to put down roots. The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are tapped to fill out the upper echelon of Jeep’s lineup. Whether or not the Grand Wagoneer flirts with a $140,000 price ceiling remains to be seen, but at least there’s no longer a scramble to find assembly plants with excess capacity (or money).
“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,” said FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne in a statement.
The upgrades should be in place by 2020, which gives some idea of when production can commence. Roughly 2,000 jobs should be created from the investments, which will also allow Warren to build heavy-duty Ram pickups.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]