Fiat Chrysler Has a Restart Plan, but It Comes Too Late to Save the Timetable of Big Jeeps
After being understandably cagey about its plans to resume North American production, Fiat Chrysler appears to be ready to get back to work. Well, eventually.
After other automakers cautiously penned new return dates this week, FCA did the same, telling suppliers on Wednesday that its restart will be a multi-phase operation. Sadly for those awaiting the launch of Jeep’s two largest models, March’s industry shutdown has pushed their dream vehicles further into the future.
As reported by Automotive News, the automaker’s Mexican facilities are first up to turn on the lights. There’s key product south of the Rio Grande that FCA would like to see come back online posthaste, namely Ram 1500 Classic and Heavy Duty pickups. Saltillo Truck Assembly is scheduled to return on April 27th, but not before Ram Promaster van production commences this coming Monday.
The company is barreling back in full strength, however. Marlo Vitous, FCA’s head of North America supply chain planning and global inter-regional flow, told suppliers that the production restarts will be a one-shift affair, with copious sanitation efforts in place to protect workers.
Moving north, FCA claims its U.S. facilities will begin returning to work on May 4th — a key date followed by many auto manufacturers. The estimated return date for Jeep Wrangler production in Toledo, Ohio, as well as all Detroit-area plants, is May 4th, with Jeep Cherokee production in Belvidere, Illinois tentatively slated for May 18th. The same goes for Jeep Gladiator production at FCA’s second Toledo plant.
North of the border, Canada’s Brampton, Ontario facility, home to FCA’s rear-drive sedans and coupes, carries a May 4th return date. Windsor, ON’s minivan plant is scheduled to come online on May 18th, the same day as Mexico’s Toluca plant (home to the Dodge Journey and Keep Compass).
FCA says it is trying to get supportive powertrain and stamping operations in line to support the production efforts. As of Wednesday, the timing of those facilities’ restart could not be determined.
At least two upcoming products can call themselves victims of the shutdown: the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and next-generation Grand Cherokee, both scheduled to hit dealers in 2021. Production of those models have now been pushed back three months, likely scrapping the models’ public auto show debuts. Both the new Grand Wagoneer and Grand Cherokee were expected to be seen in the flesh late this year.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler]
Lorenzo on Apr 17, 2020
I really wonder about the Windsor and Brampton plants. They're in Canada, not under US jurisdiction, and the Prime Minister keeps hinting at waiting for a vaccine, which would be months away under the best of circumstances. Those plants might be more at the mercy of Canadian government policies than can be supposed.
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