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Ram moving all pickups to USA

by David Zatz on

Last night, FCA announced that it would revamp the Warren Truck plant to build heavy duty pickups, which are currently made in Mexico. Sergio Marchionne had said that the move was being considered, due to the possibility of trade barriers with Mexico.

The $1 billion investment required will be added to the billion already committed to making the Jeep Wagoneer at Warren.

The Mexican plant is to be converted to make “future commercial vehicles for global distribution.” No details were provided, but this might include a replacement for the Mitsubishi L200 pickup or a second source of vans.

The move, which will add (or restore) 2,500 jobs to Warren, was credited last year to the possible loss of NAFTA. This is likely a political excuse: in 2015, Sergio Marchionne told Automotive News  that it made more sense to build pickups in the US, where you could build them profitably, and move small cars to Mexico.

In addition, the Saltillo plant is likely in need of an overhaul, regardless, and FCA has faced the issue of downtime for popular models by changing where they are built. With the Ram 1500 moving into a newly renovated Sterling Heights (Michigan) factory, its Warren digs are empty and available for a thorough refit; once the heavy duty Rams move from Mexico, the Saltillo plant can be similarly updated. Daimler and Cerberus invested as little as possible into Chrysler plants, and Fiat/FCA have done wholesale equipment replacements at nearly every location.

Fiat and FCA have invested over $10 billion in the US since 2009, adding 25,000 jobs. The company is also paying a $2,000 special bonus to around 60,000 hourly and salaried employees (but not executives) during the second quarter, in addition to any regular bonuses, at a cost of $120 million, despite cost-cutting efforts elsewhere.

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