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What of Toluca, the C100, and Journey?

by David Zatz on

FCA’s Toluca, Mexico plant, originally part of AutoMex, dates back to the original Chrysler Corporation.  Back in the 1990s it made Neons, then it shifted to PT Cruisers; now it makes the Dodge Journey and North American Fiat 500s. The Journey is living on borrowed time, though — it’s unique on its platform, and critics are starting to notice its age — while the 500 is to have all production centralized in Europe.

Sources have hinted at a new range of product, and many expect the new Jeep Compass to be built there, moving south of its current digs, which are needed to build Cherokees. A Chrysler 100 was in the plan for years, but with all the recent product cancellations and changes, not to mention the industry-wide drop in small-car sales,  it’s hard to say if that car will ever see the light of day.

In theory, the plant could build Jeep Renegades locally, freeing up capacity in Italy and making it easier and cheaper to ship them in North America (South American can be supplied by Brazil). If the Mexican Dodge Neon, which is a rebadged Fiat Tipo, were to be federalized for the US and Canada, it could be built there, as well — it’s a different platform but about the same size as the Compass.

Chrysler 100C spy shot

There’s a good deal of mystery around what exactly Toluca will produce. The Journey seems to be on hold, with FCA leaders apparently dissatisfied with its planned CUSW replacement; for all that Sergio Marchionne talks about crossovers being the future, it seems that the next Journey is further away than it was two years ago, and the minivan-based “RA” crossover is reportedly dead.

Could FCA be ready to surprise us with a lengthened Fiat 500X in Dodge or Chrysler form, powered by the Hurricane Four, and made in Toluca? Or could they be thinking about making another automaker’s cars in Toluca, while waiting for “positive net worth” day in 2018 to develop something new?

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