The Building Tradesman Newspaper

Friday, March 08, 2019

Fiat Chrysler to pump $4.5B in SE Michigan

By The Building Tradesman

DETROIT - Fiat Chrysler announced Feb. 26 that it would invest $4.5 billion to build a new assembly plant here and add production at five existing Michigan facilities.

The investment would create 6,500 jobs for FCA, as well as thousands of other jobs for building trades workers. The FCA said it would invest $1.6 billion to convert the idled Mack Avenue Engine factory on the city's east side into an assembly plant, where the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee and a new, large Jeep SUV would be built. The company also said it will add production at five existing factories in metro Detroit.

FCA also announced that it plans to invest $900 million investment at Jefferson North to retool and modernize that plant for continued production of Dodge Durango and next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee. 

“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 Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley. “Today’s announcement represents the next step in that strategy. 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.”

FCA said it intends to start construction of the new Detroit facility by the end of June 2019, with the first large three-row Jeep vehicles expected to roll off the line by the end of 2020, followed by the all-new Grand Cherokee in the first half of 2021.

The reborn Mack facility would be the first new assembly plant to be built in the City of Detroit in nearly three decades. Jefferson North was the last new assembly plant built in the city in 1991. When complete, Mack would join Jefferson North as the only automotive assembly plants to be located completely within the city limits of Detroit.

There's more good news.  Fiat Chrysler's Pentastar engines –the 3.6-, 3.2- and 3.0-liter –currently built at Mack I would be relocated to the Dundee Engine Plant as part of a $119 million investment. 

FCA also confirmed the increased investment (totaling $1.5 billion) at Warren Truck to retool for production of the all-new Jeep Wagoneer and  Grand  Wagoneer, announced in 2017,  along with their electrified  counterparts.  Production is expected to launch in early 2021.

And, to support the additional production of Ram Heavy Duty trucks, the FCA's Warren Stamping and  Sterling Stamping plants will receive investments of  $245 million and $160  million, respectively, with Sterling Stamping expected to add more than 80 new jobs.

In total,  FCA  has committed to invest  nearly  $14.5  billion in its U.S. manufacturing operations and created nearly 30,000 new jobs since June 2009.

“The announcement," said Michigan AFL-CIO President Ron Bieber, "is great news for Michigan’s working families. This investment will bring thousands of good-paying union jobs that are essential to rebuilding the middle class and creating an economy that works for everyone. We know the great skill and hard work that union men and women put into making Michigan the auto capital of the world. I know with Governor Whitmer’s leadership our brothers and sisters are ready to help Michigan keep that title.”