Speaking today at its Windsor Assembly Plant, FCA chief executive Sergio Marchionne provided details of the automaker’s plans to refocus its operations in North America to prioritize production of its Jeeps SUVs and Ram pickups. The changes are expected to take 18 months.
Marchionne indicated that its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant would be retooled near the end of 2016 to build the next generation of its Ram 1500 pickup, which is due to debut in early 2018. The Sterling Heights facility currently produces the Chrysler 200 sedan.
FCA is pursuing relationships with other manufacturers to outsource production of the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart. Starting in late 2017, the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois will transition from making the Dart to building the Jeep Cherokee.
During his speech, Marchionne also said that the Warren Truck Assembly Plant will continue to produce the existing Ram 1500 until the retooled Sterling Heights plant is fully operational. At that time, the next generation Jeep Grand Cherokee and Wagoneer will be made at Warren Truck Assembly.
FCA’s Toledo Assembly Complex is set to assume production of the Jeep Wrangler and its variants.
Addressing the crowd at the Windsor plant, Marchionne anticipated that the Chrysler Pacifica would occupy three shifts at the operation. The Canadian plant also currently produces the Dodge Grand Caravan, a model which is being phased out in 2017.