Chrysler announced it will transfer production of the Fiat Freemont crossover and next-generation Dodge Journey to Sterling Heights from Toluca, Mexico.
Chrysler said that the Fiat Freemont crossover, next-generation Dodge Journey and Chrysler 200 sedan vehicles will be all manufactured on a common platform which the automaker shares with the Fiat Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Sam Fiorani, senior automotive market analyst for AutomotiveCompass, said that his company found out about Chrysler’s decision from several suppliers, who also said that the US automaker will discontinue Dodge Avenger production, which is manufactured at Sterling Heights.
Chrysler announced that a redesigned 200 will hit the market in 2014 and that production of the Freemont and next-gen Journey will start in January 2016. The actual Chrysler 200 hit the market as the Chrysler Sebring, but as the model was harshly criticized the automaker quickly upgraded both the Dodge and Chrysler midsize models.
The Chrysler 200 sedan sold 125,000 units last year, up 44%, but still lagging behind Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, which are the segment’s leaders. Sales of the Dodge Journey hit 80,000 units in 2012, but the model struggles to compete with the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V and the Ford Escape.
The Sterling Heights plant was once tagged to be closed, part of Chrysler’s reorganization strategy, but in 2010-2011 the automaker announced it will invest more than $1 billion to build a body and paint shops at the facility. Construction is to be finished in 2014.