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Mexico to get Ram 50 replacement

by David Zatz on

Ram the brand needs a “one metric tonne” truck in its lineup, and that’s why it will be built in Mexico on the company’s pickup truck line, Sergio Marchionne said today.

The Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO said Ram “needs a metric tonne truck for global use.” A metric tonne is 200 lbs heavier than an Imperial ton, which is 2,000 pounds. The truck might or might not be sold in the US; its primary markets would be the rest of the world, which makes Mexico, with its wealth of free trade agreements, a good production site.

Allpar had speculated that the Saltillo plant would be used to build a replacement for the Mitsubishi L200, which FCA licenses to fit the space between small Fiat pickups and heavy Ram trucks. The L200 was, decades ago, sold by Chrysler as the Dodge Ram 50; it is currently marketed as the Fiat Fullback and as a Ram, outside of the United States and Canada.

Marchionne said that the new truck “will be a Ram, I hope. Well, it will be 90 percent Ram, the rest Fiat. Okay, 80 percent Ram. The majority will be Ram – okay, that’s better.”

Moving the heavy duties back to the U.S. to create 2,500 new assembly jobs with a $1 blllion re-tooling of the Warren Truck Plant to build all of Ram’s pickups has been heralded by U.S. President Donald Trump as proof that his “America first” campaign is working to improve the U.S. economy. However, Marchionne had told Automotive News that moving heavy duty trucks to the US was in the cards — in 2015, before Trump entered the election.

“Over 70 percent of that product is sold in the U.S.,” he said of the Ram 2500 and 3500 models. “It should never have left. It belongs to this country.”

Moving the truck to Saltillo was a financial decision made by a previous Chrysler executive team before its bankruptcy.

The $2,000 in bonus money for 60,000 hourly workers was another debt that FCA owed the country, and its American employees, for sacrifices they made to get the company out of its bankruptcy, Marchionne said.

“It was an act that we owed to the constituency – I think we owed it.” About $1 billion became available as cash to FCA as a result of Trump’s December tax cut bill. “It was an act that we owed to the constituency. Part of the wealth being redeployed had to be shared. We are doing what was expected. We did our civic duty and our corporate duty. It had to be distributed to the people who contributed to our well-being.”

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