Jeep will use a $1 billion investment to build three new models.Jeep has announced a $1 billion investment plan that will see the rival of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer nameplates, as well as the introduction of a new Jeep pickup truck.
Jeep will split that investment between its Warren Truck Plant in Michigan and its Toledo Assembly complex in Ohio. The Warren plant will be retooled to produce Jeep's all-new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer full-size utility vehicles. As an added benefit, the retooling of the Warren plant will allow Jeep-parent FCA to shift production of its heavy-duty Ram pickup truck models from Mexico to Michigan.
In Toledo Jeep will update the complex's south plant in preparation of the new pickup truck model. Although not confirmed, the new pickup is expected to be based on the Wrangler SUV, which is also made at the Toledo plant.
"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 Officer of FCA N.V. "These moves, which have been under discussion with Dennis Williams and the rest of the UAW leadership for some time, expand our capacity in these key segments, enabling us to meet growing demand here in the U.S., but more importantly to increase exports of our mid-size and larger vehicles to international markets."
The plant expansions, which will create about 2,000 new jobs, are expected to be completed by 2020.
Jeep didn't release any other details on its future models, but the company's decision to produce the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer at the Warren Truck Plant suggests the twins will be based on a body-on-frame platform like FCA's Ram trucks, which are currently produced at the facility. Reports have been swirling that engineers were struggling to stretch the unibody architecture of the smaller Jeep Grand Cherokee for use in a large utility vehicle like the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer. That switch could also explain why the introduction of the new Wagoneer models have been pushed back from 2018 to 2020.