Fiat Chrysler creates 1000 new jobs with $1B plant plan – Redding Record Searchlight
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plans to spend $1 billion to retool its plants in Toledo, Ohio, and Belvidere, Ill., and create 1,000 new jobs as it shuffles its North American production footprint.
The automaker said it will invest $700 million at its Toledo Assembly North Plant to prepare for the next-generation Jeep Wrangler and expand the production capacity of the SUV. The automaker said it plans to add about 700 jobs at that plant.
In Belvidere, the automaker plans to spend $350 million to prepare that plant to assemble the Jeep Cherokee, which is currently built in Toledo.
The automaker said it will end production of the Dodge Dart in September and will stop producing the Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot in December. The two Jeep SUVs will be replaced by a single SUV that will be made in Mexico starting next year.
Jeep plans to reveal its replacement for the Compass and Patriot SUVs in Brazil this fall and plans to show the vehicle for the first time in North America at the Los Angeles Auto Show in November.
Fiat Chrysler had previously confirmed that it planned to move the Cherokee from Toledo to Belvidere but had not said how much it planned to invest in either plant until today.
The automaker plans to reveal its next-generation Wrangler during the first half of 2017. Fiat Chrysler decided to move the Cherokee to Belvidere so it could continue making the current Wrangler until it is able to switch over to the new Wrangler and not miss out on any production time. The company did not say when production of Cherokee would end in Toledo.
Fiat Chrysler’s production capacity for the Wrangler has been limited to about 240,000 annually. Under the new plan, sources have told the Free Press the automaker could make more than 350,000 annually. Mike Manley, head of the Jeep brand for FCA, also has confirmed that the company will develop a pickup version of the Wrangler.
The company said its plans remain dependent on the formal approval of incentives by state and local entities.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne attempted to soothe concerns by promising there would be no job losses at its two plants, which currently employ more than 4,800 hourly workers. On Thursday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich applauded the new jobs.
“Wrangler and Toledo have become close to synonymous in recent years,” Kaisch said. “To see those links further strengthened is proof of our new agility in bringing jobs and business growth to Ohio.”