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What’s the end-game for musical factories?

by David Zatz on

In the next two years, FCA will be moving products around in a game that will cost billions of dollars and eject passenger cars from every U.S. plant. That’s not the goal — FCA is trying to stop running some plants 24/7 while others are on single shifts.

Belvidere's Millionth

Earlier, we looked at the moves from a car perspective.  Today, we look at the assembly plants — two in Mexico, two in Canada, two in Ohio, one in Illinois, and four in Michigan.  In the old days, the company would have simply built more plants, but that’s even more expensive.

The Jeep Cherokee will move from Toledo to Belvidere, both to make more Cherokees and to free up the big new Toledo plant. The Wrangler will then spread out from the size-constricted Toledo Supplier Park plant, using both facilities.

Jeeps at the Toledo Assembly Plant

Belvidere will be free because the Compass is moving to Toluca, Mexico; the Patriot was replaced by the Italian-made Renegade; and the Dart was dropped.  Some believe Chrysler will make a midsized crossover, replacing the Journey, in Belvidere around 2018-19.

Warren needs to be renovated and expanded, but that would mean no American-made Rams for six months, so Sterling Heights will be cleared of Chrysler 200 production in December, tapping Sterling Heights quite high production capacity and twin body shops. Warren will, after renovation, make  Wagoneers or Grand Cherokees there, with a suggestion of Ram overflow as well. Rams are body-on-frame and Jeeps (other than Wrangler) are unit-body … so far.


Toluca is to lose the Journey and Fiat 500 in the next two years, but it will gain the Jeep Compass even as it makes Journeys. If the Mexican Neon is adapted for the US and Canada, it would likely be made in Turkey along with the Fiat Tipo it’s based on, but who knows? As for the Journey, in 2018 or so, it’s slated to move it Italy and become a rear-drive muscle crossover.

Windsor will keep making minivans, possibly adding a full-size crossover and/or full-size car, and Brampton will keep making large cars. It is likely to switch to rear drive Dodges around 2019-2020 — but that’s still unknown, and FCA hasn’t committed to new product yet.

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