Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced that its rugged Jeep brand will add an all-new pickup truck to its vehicle lineup at North American International Auto Show in Detroit on Sunday.
FCA did not provide any additional details about when production of the pickup truck might begin, but the company did say it will revive its Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer as the demand for larger utility vehicles continues.
To bring back the classic SUVs, FCA will invest $1 billion at its manufacturing plants in Michigan and Ohio, which will add approximately 2,000 new jobs.
The Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan will be retooled and modernized for production of the all-new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. The south plant of the Toledo Assembly Complex will be revamped to build the all-new Jeep pickup truck. The estimated completion date for both plants is 2020.
This is not the only manufacturing update FCA has in its plans.
The next-generation Ram 1500, scheduled to be released in January 2018, will be built at FCA’s Sterling Heights Assembly Plant near Detroit. This move will add 700 new jobs to support production, FCA said.
“The conversion of our industrial footprint completes this stage of our transformation as we respond to the shift in consumer tastes to trucks and SUVs, and as we continue to reinforce the U.S. as a global manufacturing hub for those vehicles at the heart of the SUV and truck market,” said Sergio Marchionne, chief executive at FCA.
Since 2009, FCA has invested a total of $9.6 billion in its U.S. manufacturing facilities, creating about 25,000 new jobs.
Following the announcement, President-elect Donald Trump tweeted his support for FCA’s investment plans at U.S. plants. He has already pledged to impose “border tariffs” on three other automakers, Ford, General Motors and Toyota, with plants in Mexico.
However, Marchionne called the $1 billion investment strategy in U.S. plants “old news” at a press conference on Monday. He said the company’s decision was made in 2015, and that Trump’s criticism of the other automakers in recent weeks “was not a factor” in the company’s investment strategy in the U.S.
“The decision has been in the works for a long time and has been part of the discussions going back to 2015 with Dennis Williams at UAW,” Marchionne said. “If you look at how we have realigned our footprint in the U.S., this recent announcement is totally consistent with what was announced more than 12 months ago. There’s nothing unusual about this step. It’s just a continuation of the retooling of the U.S. manufacturing plants to nurture the growth both locally and for international purposes.”
Marchionne said the automaker needs “rules and clarity” from the Trump administration about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, and Trump’s proposed border tariffs before any decisions can be made about the future of the company’s plants in Mexico.
“It’s quite possible that if the border tariffs that are imposed by the U.S. administration on anything that comes out of Mexico into the U.S. – if they are sufficiently large – we would have to withdraw,” Marchionne said. “Those plants (in Mexico) were designed, built and purposed at a time when NAFTA was alive and well.”
FCA is headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich. The company is the seventh largest automaker in the world based on total annual vehicle sales.