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Is Mack Engine II going to make Jeeps? (Updated)

by David Zatz on

Will the Mack II plant, which made engines and parts, start to make Jeeps?

Some time ago, Allpar pioneered this story, based on inside sources. Today, CNBC and the Detroit News have both suggested this may be the case; Automotive News also carried the story.

mack engine

Some distance away from major highways, there are several Chrysler plants in an otherwise nondescript neighborhood. Driving from the freeway, the first one you encounter is the Mack Avenue complex, two plants built at different times; then the huge Jefferson Avenue plant, which makes Grand Cherokees and Durangos; and finally the former Viper plant on nearby Conner Avenue.

The area was once a bustling upscale metropolis; it’s much quieter now, at least when shifts aren’t changing, and the old Jefferson Avenue Chrysler showroom and business office are long gone, replaced by a section of lawn.

When we heard about construction in the area, it seemed that there were two serious alternatives: one, that the underused Mack II plant would be pressed into service making Jeeps or Dodge SUVs; or, two, that they were planning to ship engines to the plant via long, long conveyor. It now appears that the first thought was correct.

An announcement from FCA is expected in the very near future, contrasting with GM and Ford’s layoff and closure plans, perhaps by design. There is a large GM plant in Detroit which is soon to close, but Mack II is very close to Jefferson, and it‘s possible the two plants will be working in combination (and, of course, FCA already owns Mack II, and there are already people who work in that particular place).

Update: Detroit News wrote that the new Jeep would be a three-row Grand Cherokee. There is already a three-row Grand Cherokee, with a road-tuned suspension; it’s called the Dodge Durango. That leaves us with two options: first, the Durango name will move to a version of the Wagoneer; and, second, that the Grand Cherokee Unlimited (or whatever they call it) will simply replace the Durango.

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