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Who gets the new six?

by David Zatz on

It’s still some time out, but a GME-based turbo six is almost certainly coming. Where is it going to be made?

Fortunately, FCA has no shortage of relatively new or renovated plants in Michigan.

Dundee is a twin-plant complex, but currently there’s just one shift working in one plant, making “World Gasoline Engine” (WGE) four-cylinders.  Trenton, another twin-plant complex, is busily making both those four-cylinders and the Pentastar V6, along with parts and blocks. Then there’s Mack Avenue, another twin-plant complex, currently engaged in making Pentastar V6 engines and parts.

Mack’s advantages include being closest to most of the plants that would use the GME T6, and going from “World Class Manufacturing” bronze to silver in just 15 months, “an unprecedented achievement,” according to FCA. If the engine is to be used in Grand Cherokees, it helps that Mack Avenue is very close to the Jefferson Avenue Assembly Plant, too.

There is an added complication: FCA will need many more 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinders soon, and the old WGE fours will be phased out sooner or later.

If this engine is meant for high-volume production, there may well be two or more lines, in two different plants.

Timing for the GME T6 is still unknown, with some sources claiming it’s at least two years out, and others saying it’s closer. Two years seems like a reasonable median, but we do not know FCA’s schedule, so if it takes four years, that does not mean it was delayed. There has been no official announcement of the GME T6’s existence, but there have been many supporting clues.

mack avenue

Regardless, it seems unlikely that FCA will either build a new plant or send production of this new engine off to Mexico. One could argue for using some of Italy’s spare capacity, but so far, FCA has re-used existing plants even if it had to gut the interior and start over. That’s good news for FCA’s many union workers, and the communities they support.

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