Fiat Chrysler (NYSE:FCAU) just announced an expansion to its JEEP line that will create an additional 6,500 jobs at its Michigan plants. The automobile maker released an official press release on its company website yesterday. In addition to the added production of five existing Michigan-based facilities, Fiat Chrysler plans on building a new $4.5 billion assembly plant.
Fiat Chrysler Jeep Ramp Up
CEO Mike Manley told CNBC that expanding in Detroit was the most logical decision for the company, given the company’s facility in the area. In addition, the company wants to produce more of its Jeep vehicles in the US.
“We’re an American brand. We’re proud of that within the Jeep brand,” Manley said in a statement.
Fiat Chrysler sold around 1 million jeeps in the US last year, which was a 17% increase from the previous year. The automotive maker is trying to capitalize on consumer trends, which will also benefit Michigan’s fluctuating automotive workforce. Fiat Chrysler executives have made it clear to investors for months that the company would expand its Jeep production.
Plant Investments and Vehicle Expansion
According to the press release, the automotive maker will allocate $1.6 billion to convert the Mack Avenue Engine Complex into the company’s final assembly plant for its next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee. At this plant, Fiat Chrysler plans on building an all-new three-row, full-size Jeep SUV. The Mack Avenue plant will create just over 3,800 news jobs.
The company will also be adding two new vehicles to its production, the Wagoneer, and Grand Wagoneer. Fiat Chrysler didn’t expand too much on the details of these new vehicles in the press release, but Manley did say these vehicles were meant to fill the holes on the brand’s portfolio pertaining to large SUVs.
Lastly, Fiat Chrysler is looking ahead and will be building plug-in hybrid and all-electric jeep models in the future. The company believes initial demand will be low, given the current dropping gas prices, but the company sees it more as a long-term play.
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