And it will be built in Detroit, generating 400 new jobs in the process.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is planning to revive the currently unused Mack Avenue Engine II plant in Detroit as an assembly plant for its upcoming three-row 2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee. According to the Detroit News, this move could inject up to 400 new auto jobs into the city, a welcome bit of news in the wake of GM’s recent shock announcement.
The Mack Avenue plant has been sitting unused since 2012 and the FCA’s plans to repurpose it will make it the first time in 27 years that a new auto assembly line has been opened in Detroit.
High demand for its popular Jeep and Ram vehicles has meant that FCA has been running near full capacity at a number of its facilities so the Mack Avenue plant will help alleviate this issue. Fiat Chrysler's North American assembly plants are currently running at 92 percent capacity, according to data compiled by LMC Automotive for The Detroit News.
By comparison, GM and Ford were operating at 72 percent and 81 percent through November, respectively. The current strong sales results are the fruits of the FCA’s decision in 2016 to stop car production in the US and focus on higher profit Jeep SUVs and Ram pickups.
This move is now belatedly being followed by both Ford and GM, although the costs to retool and reorganize their businesses will need to be dealt with first.
While in the short term a lot of jobs will be affected by their restructuring, hopefully, when the dust settles we will have a stronger automotive sector that will not only produce vehicles people want to buy but will also be well-placed to invest in the next generation of autonomous and electric vehicles as FCA has recently announced.