Maybe it's the new tax bill, perhaps it’s the continued wrangling over the North American Free Trade Agreement, but no matter the cause FCA - maker of Ram Trucks - made a big announcement this week. The company has confirmed it will invest $1 billion to modernize the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Warren, Mich., to build he next generation of Ram Heavy Duty Truck. The company also announced bonuses for workers thanks to the new tax bill - $2,000 each to 60,000 employees.
Farmers are big fans of heavy duty trucks, but many may not know those machines are built in Saltillo, Mexico, a manufacturing town just south of the border where other companies have plants, including John Deere. The Warren investment will relocate heavy duty Ram production to Warren in 2020. The company is set to launch a new 1500 series pickup at the North American International Auto Show next week; heavy duty trucks usually follow soon after.
This new $1 billion investment is in addition to an announcement made in January 2017 which committed to spending a portion of another $1 billion in the Warren Truck Assembly facility to expand the Jeep product line - that brand will see the return of the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer soon. Those two models will be built using the Ram truck's body on frame chassis, according to the automobile industry.
This latest investment will boost volume at the Warren facility, which will mean creation of 2,500 new jobs; which is above and beyond the January 2017 announced expansion.
FCA has invested $10 billion in its U.S. manufacturing operations since June 2009. Most recently the Company announced investments totaling $3.5 billion, with the addition of 3,700 new jobs to strengthen its U.S. manufacturing base, and align U.S. capacity to extend its Jeep and Ram product lines.
Here's a rundown of the January 2017 announcement in greater detail, which also offers a look at future product:
* $350 million in the Belvidere Assembly Plant, Belvidere, Ill., to product the Jeep Cherokee, which moved from Toledo, Ohio in 2017. This created more than 300 new jobs.
* $700 million at the Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio to retool the North Plant to produce the next generation Jeep Wrangler, creating 700 new jobs.
* $1.5 billion in the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, Sterling Heights, Mich., to build the next generation Ram 1500 pickup; creating 700 new jobs.
* $1 billion in the south plant of the Toledo Assembly Complex to prepare the facility to produce an all-new Jeep truck; and in the Warren Truck Assembly Plant for the already mentioned Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer program - which added 2,000 jobs.
FCA noted that the plant investment actions announced this week - the $1 billion for Warren Assembly - are subject to negotiation and final approval of incentives by state and local entities.