Fiat Chrysler just announced a $4.5 billion investment in Michigan manufacturing facilities, including a new one in the city of Detroit set to build an “all-new three-row full-size Jeep SUV,” as well as investment in five other plants, one of which will build the next-gen Jeep Wagoneer and Jeep Grand Wagoneer—both with electrified variants.
The announcement came earlier today in a press release, in which Fiat Chrysler said it will create nearly 6,500 new jobs as it spends all of that cash on a new plant, and on adding production capacity to five existing facilities.
Of the $4.5 billion, $1.6 billion will be invested into the company’s Mack Avenue Engine Complex, which is comprised of two facilities: Mack Avenue Engine 1, and Mack Avenue Engine 2, the latter of which has been idled since the fall of 2012, and the former of which is the current site of Pentastar engine production.
FCA’s plan is to spend $119 million moving Pentastar production to the Dundee engine plant in Dundee, Michigan, which currently builds 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines. Then, the $1.6 billion will go into properly equipping both the Mack Avenue facilities so that they can build the next generation “WL” Jeep Grand Cherokee and also an “all-new three-row full-size Jeep SUV,” FCA says. Construction on the Mack plant is expected to begin before the end of the second quarter this year, and FCA says it will be “the first new assembly plant to be built in the city of Detroit in nearly three decades.” The new Grand Cherokee is expected in the first half of 2021 and the new three-row is expected by the end of 2020, according to FCA.
In addition, FCA announced that it will drop $900 million on its only Detroit automobile assembly plant, Jefferson North Assembly Plant, or JNAP, modernizing it and preparing it to also build the next-gen “WL” Grand Cherokee, as well as to continue making the Durango.
The press release also mentions a $400 million expenditure on Sterling Stamping and Warren Stamping plants, as well as $1.5 billion at the Warren Truck plant, which currently builds the Ram 1500 Classic, in order to prepare it for the new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, whose production should start in early 2021. FCA also mentions that they will both have “electrified counterparts.”
Yes, there will be two different models—Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, and—since they’re being built at Warren, that all but confirms that the new Wagoneers will be body-on-frame, just as the Jeep gods demand.
FCA says its Warren, JNAP, and Mack assembly plants will crank out plug-in hybrid versions of the vehicles built there, and that there will be “flexibility to build fully battery-electric models in the future.” CEO Mike Manley says in a quote that FCA plans to build at least four plug-in hybrid Jeeps.
The Auburn Hills-based company does point out that there are still some loose ends that need to be tied before this all goes down, including waiting for the city of Detroit to meet terms of a Memorandum of Understanding, as well some finalizing of agreements with governing bodies.
In any case, it’s all very exciting for Michigan, and especially for Jeep. Gosh I hope the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are 1/100th as cool as the original.