Prior to Donald Trump being elected president, Fiat Chrysler already had plans in place to retool and invest $1 billion into its U.S. manufacturing plants. The current president praised the car manufacturer’s decision to produce several new Jeep vehicles and a Dodge Ram pickup here in the country after the release of the news. However, Chrysler was already evaluating different options to avoid potentially high import taxes on vehicles produced in Mexico.
Both Jeep and Dodge models are popular at Chrysler dealerships in U.S. markets, so it only made sense to manufacturer those models here, rather than retool plants in Mexico. The automaker intends to discontinue production of the poor-selling Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 at its Belvidere, Illinois plant and retool it to manufacturer Jeep Cherokee models.
In addition, Fiat Chrysler is reviving the Jeep Wagoneer SUV. Wagoneers were originally produced from 1963 to 1991 and were considered one of the first luxury SUVs to roll off of production lines. Chrysler has plans to release the first Wagoneers as a 2018 model, followed by a Grand Wagoneer version for the 2019 model year. The model is anticipated to be based on the Dodge Durango design and replaces the Jeep Commander, which was discontinued in 2010.
The retooling of the U.S. plants and planned production will create around 2,000 new jobs between now and 2020 when production of the new Jeeps and Ram truck are expected to go into full swing.
Compared to other car manufacturers, Fiat Chrysler’s light truck/SUV vehicles are one of the highest market percentages sold here in the United States. As such, it further underscores the benefits of producing the new Jeep and Dodge vehicles here, rather than Mexico.
South of the border, Chrysler will also produce the Dodge Ram pickup truck that will be built at its Warren, Michigan plant. There is a strong market for the Ram model in the U.S. and abroad, and, by manufacturing it in two different plants, it allows the company to meet demand worldwide where the model is sold.
The Jeep product lines have long been a strong competitor in the light truck and SUV markets. Investing into reviving the Wagoneer model, as well as continuing production of the Wrangler and Cherokee models here in the United States, is a good decision for the car manufacturer, following intentions by the new President to ease fuel economy regulation requirements.
While fuel efficiencies are a concern and making improvements to them will continue, not having to worry about specific deadlines will give Chrysler more time to explore what technologies and other options it could incorporate into its Jeep and Dodge lines, to push the limits and increase fuel efficiencies without affecting performance.
As we wait in anticipation for the revived Wagoneer, in the meantime you can check out all of the latest Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep models at Community Chrysler. Feel free to stop by our showroom for a visit today or call us at 765-342-5000 for more information!