By on February 26, 2019

2019 Ram 1500 Classic Warlock_1

Fiat Chrysler’s Tuesday announcement will surely make it the darling among domestic automakers, especially in the eye of a certain American president.

To fund the creation of new and next-generation models, most of them Jeeps, FCA is committing $4.6 billion to numerous Michigan plants, $1.6 billion of which will flow to Detroit’s Mack Avenue Engine Complex (soon to become a vehicle assembly plant). Among the vehicles funded with this promise are the long-awaited Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. Oh, and there’s another new Jeep on the way.

Another tidbit: FCA really likes the extra cash brought in by the old-generation Ram 1500 Classic. The model, seen above in Warlock trim, will soldier on.

It’s a long list, involving plenty of product shuffling, so here’s a brief overview of how the funding breaks down:

  • $1.6 billion to convert Mack Avenue Engine Complex into an assembly site for the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee and what FCA describes as an “all-new three-row full-size Jeep SUV.” This would create 3,850 jobs.
  • $900 million to retool and modernize Jefferson North for continued production of Dodge Durango and next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee. Another 1,100 jobs created here.
  • The roughly $1 billion Warren Truck plant investment announced in 2017 grows to $1.5 billion for production of the Jeep Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, and Ram 1500 Classic. Expect 1,400 new jobs.
  • Sterling Stamping and Warren Stamping plants get $400 million to support additional production. Another 80 jobs might be created.
  • $119 million to relocate Pentastar V6 engine production from Mack Avenue to the Dundee Engine Plant.

The automaker notes that all three vehicle assembly sites will build plug-in hybrid versions of the new Jeep models, “with flexibility to build battery-electric models in the future.” Each plant investments apparently hinges on land acquisition and the negotiation of juicy development incentives that FCA is sure to receive.

Image: FCA

As for the models’ timeline, the mystery three-row Jeep should enter production by the end of 2020, with the next-gen Grand Cherokee coming online in the first half of 2021. Construction should start at Mack (future fendering above) by the end of the second quarter of 2019, FCA claims, with the engine shuffle taking place in Q3.

The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer — full-size models easily maxing out in the six-figure price range — should begin rolling out of Warren Truck in early 2021. Production of Ram’s temporary, gap-filling 1500 Classic is “being extended to meet market demand” — good news for cost-conscious truck shoppers still in love with the crosshair grille. Just how long we can expect the old Ram to linger on is unknown. (Probably until people stop buying them, or until a midsize model comes along.)

Because of the Classic’s new lease on life, Ram HD production will remain in Saltillo, Mexico, FCA says.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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40 Comments on “Fiat Chrysler Goes on a Cash-flinging Spree, Promises $4.5 Billion for Plants, 6,500 Michigan Jobs...”


  • avatar
    Hummer

    Good news for sure, but puts me back on my same boat if HD production stays in Mexico. I don’t want a Mexico built Powerwagon and I’m certainly not spending money on a Jeep Gladiator/Wrangler that has a lowly V6.

    Throw me a bone FCA.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    so whats this mean for the chally/charger/300? carry on? same with the 500s?

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I know the capacity isn’t coming online immediately, but it still sounds like good news for GM employees in their plants that are being shuttered.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Maybe. There is no guarantee that Fiatsler will hire on former GM workers, now jobless.

      My guess is that Fiatsler will contact former Chrysler workers to see if they would be interested. In case any one missed it, there is a labor shortage in America today.

      More than 7 million jobs going unfilled with less than 6 million unemployed in America.

      Here is a suggestion for the industry: make it worthwhile for retired military to go back to work and utilize the people skills and technical skills they acquired while serving in the military, for a win-win solution to the skilled-labor shortage.

      • 0 avatar
        SPPPP

        Nearly all those jobs would be filled if corporations would increase wages. The labor shortage is largely a fake crisis created by fat cats who don’t want to pay competitive wages. Thus, “Oh, no, we can’t get domestic workers – better import some H1B workers real cheap.”

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I concur.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          SPPPP, yeah, that’s true.

          Many of the retired military I know, chose not to go back to work for an employer because the money paid was simply not worth it. Not worth their time.

          As one retired lady Lt Col (Combat Nurse – RN) told me, “I’d rather volunteer here and there whenever I feel like it than to assume responsibility and work for the crumbs they’d pay me.”

          A retired MSgt I have coffee with often told me, “For me to take another job, they would have to make it worth my while and pay me a lot of money, A LOT OF MONEY!, and it’s gotta be here – local. No more traveling.”

          In my own case, I never could see myself going to work for someone else in 1985 and that’s why I became self-employed for the next 30 years, and my own boss.

          Worked for me. But there sure were a number times when I could just barely scrape enough money together to make payroll to pay my (illegal alien) day-laborers.

          I sure hocked a lot of guns on numerous occasions to get enough money for expenses. But I managed to buy them all back when the money rolled in.

          Can’t say I miss those days.

      • 0 avatar
        Lockstops

        “Here is a suggestion for the industry: make it worthwhile for retired military to go back to work and utilize the people skills and technical skills they acquired while serving in the military, for a win-win solution to the skilled-labor shortage.”

        Those military skills don’t always translate well into civilian life: this one guy I used to know went from the armory to making car engines, but the result was always a grenade.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          That was pretty good

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “Those military skills don’t always translate well into civilian life”

          Yes, that’s true! But instead of a grenade, the end result was often a bomb.

          OTOH, most retirees share the common trait of “self-discipline.”

          This guy who used to work for me named Nguyen, a retired AF MSgt (Carpenter by trade), kinda took over where I left off when I quit working in Dec 2015.

          He’s doing most excellently; refurbishing houses, renovating properties for the real estate business where his wife works.

          Basically the same thing I did for my wife’s dad and her family real estate business.

          So there’s that.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Good for FCA.
    Be funny if they overtake GM in US sales in my lifetime.
    Real funny.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I hope that Fiatsler does “overtake GM in US sales”.

      Fiatsler has proven every single day since it died that Fiatsler deserves to live.

      GM’s got nothing. Shoulda stayed dead. All that wasted taxpayer money trying to selectively keep the UAW employed, while mom&pops died, and now GM is closing plants anyway, regardless.

      • 0 avatar
        redapple

        All that FED money was to float the Union.

        Do People realize a guy on the line, non skilled, is at about 35$/hr cash. Add the bennies on top of that. WOW !

        Corporate wise, industry wise, a prepackaged bankruptcy would have been better.

      • 0 avatar
        PSX 5k Ultra Platinum Triple Black

        I hope they do take over GM in sales. If I had to buy a vehicle now, the only GM products I would maybe think about would be a V6 Colorado or a V6 Blazer. Every FCA vehicle is better vs a GM (or Ford). Even still, I’d rather have a Gladiator or a Grand Cherokee if I could afford it, but a Colorado or Blazer is cheaper so I’d unhappily settle for them. I love the challenger, charger, durango, Cherokee Trailhawk, RAM 1500 and Grand Cherokee.

        And it seems like GM is trying to make their vehicles undesirable. The Silverado is incredibly ugly, cheap interior and no new engine options (I don’t care about the new mds 5.3 V8). The Xt6 only has a nice exterior,, yet the Lincoln Aviator is better in every other way. Xt4 looks cool on the outside, but I’d buy a RDX over that for resale, reliability (I know it’s not reliable in CR this year) and value. Plus it’s faster and cooler inside and out.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve203

      What Marchionne said a year ago happened: FCA made more profit last year than Ford.

  • avatar
    Steve203

    I am consistently impressed with what FCA has accomplished over the last 10 years. In the back of my mind was the thought that FCA might buy D-Ham when GM shuttered it June 1. I wonder if it’s a coincidence that this announcement comes a week or so after GM announced that D-Ham would stay open at least 7 months longer? I can just see Mike Manley muttering “rats, D-Ham would have made my life simpler, but I can’t wait any longer, need to build more plants *now*”

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Steve, Fiatsler has built vehicles that real, every day people like Joe Sixpack and Sally Homemaker actually want to buy.

      I’m amazed at the proliferation of Hi-Po Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM vehicles I encounter on the road.

      I met a retired military guy the other day at the military Commissary on Base who hauled a Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 on a trailer behind his Motorhome. He is parking his Motorhome in the RV area on the Base and using the SRT to sightsee around the area.

      Wadda life!

    • 0 avatar
      redapple

      steve

      good observation. they need floorspace. bet they d get it cheap. and have all kinds of incentives thrown in by the state of mich and the city of DTW.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve203

        “…good observation. they need floorspace. bet they d get it cheap. and have all kinds of incentives thrown in by the state of mich and the city of DTW.”

        I was wondering where the staff was going to park as the paint shop that rendering shows being added to the existing buildings would eat up most of the parking lot space between the existing buildings and the street.

        And that is where things get complicated.

        The local Detroit news was all over this story tonight. The plan is for the city to close off a two mile long stretch of the street that runs along the west side of Mack Engine and JNAP, then add that area and property along the street to the Chrysler complex, adding about 200 acres to the plant footprint.

        The city does not have clear title to some of the land along the street. There are no houses involved, but there are private owners, including Matty Moroun. Moroun has quite a record for obstructing projects unless he gets paid, a lot. He owned the old, abandoned, train stations and let it become an eyesore, for years, as the city sued him to either clean it up or tear it down. He did finally sell the train station to Ford last year. And, in spite of years of his obstruction, the new bridge connecting Detroit and Windsor appears to actually be starting construction, with the groundbreaking last July.

        The city used eminent domain powers to clear out a neighborhood of residential and commercial properties to provide the land to GM for D-Ham in the 80s. Destroying that neighborhood caused such a backlash that a law was passed revoking the city’s eminent domain power to take land for something like an auto plant, so the city can’t force any of the private owners to sell their land at a less than exorbitant price.

        The deal for the expansion at Mack Engine is contingent on the city getting clear title to the land needed within 60 days.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I am rooting for FCA I would like to see them bury GM. Barra and the GM board keep shrinking GM to where GM will not be a major player even in the US. This makes me wonder if Barra’s plan is to eventually sell GM off.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Phil LeBeau had an interesting segment on Nightly Business Report this evening about Jeep and “Imported from Detroit”.

      Couldn’t hurt. They say any press, even bad press, is good for publicity.

      My guess is there’s a good chance the new Wagoneer will be built in that old converted former engine plant. And that means a lot of jobs for this area and more investment in this area than at any time since 2008.

      • 0 avatar
        EGSE

        I watched that NBR broadcast a few hours ago. Nothing but good press, make that glowing press about FCA especially the U.S. product lines.

        Marchionne said that if an auto manufacturer didn’t have at least 1 million vehicle sales per year it couldn’t survive. The Jeep brand alone is surpassing that.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I saw that report.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    As a Grand Cherokee driver, I’d definitely be interested in a hybrid/plug-in-hybrid version.

  • avatar
    jatz

    FCA is poop. I love the Renegade but it’s 4K more to get an AT in the base Sport 4×2.

    That way exceeds every J-brand’s markup for same in their <20K vehicles.

  • avatar
    WildcatMatt

    With the 60-day deadline baked into the Mack Ave deal, I wonder how much of this is spin and FCA has announced a large package knowing only part of it will ever go through by design.

    That being said, if they’re serious and the Mack Ave deal falls through, if Mary Barra wants to make some short-term cash, could she lease out one of the “unallocated” plants to Jeep for, say, 10 years?

  • avatar
    Steve203

    ” if they’re serious and the Mack Ave deal falls through, if Mary Barra wants to make some short-term cash, could she lease out one of the “unallocated” plants to Jeep for, say, 10 years?”

    I think FCA is serious. For years, Marchionne said he wanted to introduce the Grand Cherokee into more markets, but he couldn’t get enough of them out of J-NAP. While other plants take summer and winter shutdowns, J-NAP keeps churning out GCs.

    The timing of the announcement, a week after GM extended D-Ham through the end of the year, makes me think FCA might have had it’s eyes on D-Ham, but when the extension was announced, gave up waiting on GM and went ahead with this plan.

    I figure the extension of D-Ham is only a ploy to play off it’s local against Grand River and Fairfax to see who GM can get the most concessions out of. If that’s the case, Mary may have outsmarted herself. If they wind up closing D-Ham next year anyway, it will be too late to sell it to FCA, Ford is stagnant and has no need for another plant, no foreign automaker will want it as they will not want to deal with the union, so GM will be facing paying millions for demolition and cleanup.


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