Fiat Chrysler announced a massive investment in its assembly plants in Illinois and Ohio to produce more Jeep SUVs.
Part of its plan to boost the production of high-margin and high-demand SUVs, Fiat Chrysler said it would invest more than 1 billion dollars in its assembly plants in Illinois and Ohio to retool them to support the future growth of the Jeep brand. Therefore, the Belvidere Assembly Plant will receive 350 million dollars and 300 new workers to make the Jeep Cherokee, which will move from its current location in Toledo, Ohio, in 2017. The lines in Illinois will be cleared by the end of this year to receive the Cherokee, as the production of Dodge Dart and the Jeep Compass/Jeep Patriot will end in September and December, respectively. The company will also put 700 million dollars in Toledo to upgrade the North plant, so it can receive the next generation of Jeep Wrangler. Approximately 700 new jobs will be added, FCA said in a statement.
Jeep is the driver behind FCA’s relentless upward sales trend. Last month, the brand reported a 17 percent increase in demand in the US, its 33rd consecutive month of year-over-year gains, and accounted for 42.5 percent of the company’s total sales in the region. Even if chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne decided earlier this year to finish off the production of the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart slow selling sedans to concentrate on SUVs, crossovers and trucks, he also said he would not however give up on finding a partner to share the output.