Fiat Chrysler expands investments in Warren, Sterling Heights

By: Brian Louwers | C&G Newspapers | Published February 27, 2019

 Investments by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles at plants in Macomb County, including the Warren Truck Assembly Plant on Mound Road, were part of a larger announcement heralding $4.5 billion in new FCA investments in Michigan.

Investments by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles at plants in Macomb County, including the Warren Truck Assembly Plant on Mound Road, were part of a larger announcement heralding $4.5 billion in new FCA investments in Michigan.

File photo by Brian Louwers

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The next steps in a U.S. manufacturing “realignment” by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. are here, and they look to mean an even bigger investment and more jobs in Macomb County.

Following the announcement of an “industrialization plan” to expand the Jeep and Ram brands in 2016 and a $1 billion move to retool the Warren Truck Assembly Plant to produce the company’s range of new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer vehicles in 2017, FCA issued a release Feb. 26 that included word of increasing its investments in Warren and Sterling Heights.

The investment at Warren Truck, on Mound Road, south of Nine Mile Road, is being  increased to a total of $1.5 billion, where operations will include the continued assembly of the Ram 1500 Classic pickup truck. An addition of 1,400 jobs is expected, according to the release, and production is expected to begin in early 2021.

The company’s adjacent FCA Warren Stamping Plant, on Mound, and the Sterling Stamping Plant, on Van Dyke Avenue, north of 15 Mile Road, will also reportedly see a total of more than $400 million in new investments “to support additional production,” according to the release. Those investments will result in the creation of about 80 new jobs in Sterling Heights, the company announced in the release.

“Three years ago, FCA set a course to grow our profitability based on the strength of the Jeep and Ram brands by realigning our U.S. manufacturing operations. Today’s announcement represents the next step in that strategy,” FCA CEO Mike Manley said in the release.

The local components were part of a larger announcement heralding $4.5 billion in new FCA investments in Michigan. Plans also include $1.6 billion in spending to prepare the Mack Avenue Engine Complex, in Detroit, to build a next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee and a new, full-size Jeep product with three-row seating. That project was expected to add 3,850 jobs. FCA will also reportedly invest $900 million to retool and modernize its Jefferson North Plant, in Detroit, where the Dodge Durango and the next-generation Grand Cherokee will continue to be built. About 1,100 new jobs were expected to be added at Jefferson North.

Manley said the moves will increase production capacity to meet a growing demand for FCA’s Jeep and Ram vehicles, including two new Jeep-branded products and electrified models. Those include “at least four plug-in hybrid vehicles,” with the potential to produce vehicles that are fully battery-electric.

The company noted in the release that the investments are subject to the approval of development packages and incentives at the state and local levels.

Warren Mayor Jim Fouts took to Facebook to applaud the announcement, which comes less than three weeks after General Motors Co. revealed plans to cut 1,298 salaried workers at its General Motors Technical Center campus, in Warren, as part of its own “transformation for the future.”

In November, GM announced plans to leave its Warren Transmission Plant, on Mound Road, “unallocated in 2019.” The plant is just north of FCA’s Warren facilities.

“Great news for Warren and the metro area about a huge economic investment in Warren which will add hundreds of millions of dollars as well as at least an additional 1,000-3,000 jobs!” Fouts said in a Facebook post about the FCA announcement.

Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel also praised the investment, calling it “a testament to the abilities of our talented workforce, who will now be charged with building exciting new products and advancing automotive technology and capabilities.”

“Thank you, Mike Manley, FCA and their talented workforce for believing in Michigan,” Hackel said.

In July 2016, FCA announced the investment of nearly $1.5 billion at its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant to build the next-generation Ram 1500. Production there began in March 2018.

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