In the real of “pure unsubstantiated rumor,” we bring you a post by an Allpar member who goes by the handle “1969 300, ” reporting:
I have been hearing from several people that the Mack Engine complex may be absorbed by JNAP to expand production of the next-generation Grand Cherokee. I personally do not believe it because of the logistics. Unless of course, a paint shop would be built at the Mack complex, but where would it fit?
jnap-dodge

First, let’s look at the factories. JNAP stands for Jefferson North Assembly Plant, a circa-1993 factory with 3 million square feet of space that’s used for the Grand Cherokee and Durango, with a single, flexible body shop.

The twin Mack Avenue plants are close to the Jefferson Avenue facility (Mack and Jefferson intersect).  Mack I was built in 1916, but it was stripped and rebuilt to make engines around 1995, and Mack II was built in 1999 for the same purpose. Both plants are in use, making engines and parts.

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The rumor might be based on seeing construction outside JNAP, looking at how close the Mack complex is, and putting one and one together to make four. Chrysler could use some extra space and the Mack complex is right there, but that’s probably much more room than they need.

If we put on our “well, maybe” hats, we could argue that the Warren plan has changed to make it Ram  overflow, displacing the Ram-based Wagoneer; but why make two unrelated vehicles (Wagoneer and Grand Cherokee), one body-on-frame and one unibody, in the same plant? It would probably be cheaper to buy and renovate an  old site, such as Lynch Road or Detroit Axle, or have cities bid against each other to help pay for a completely new site.  Invading Mack would mean moving engine or parts production, but we’ll admit Dundee (Michigan) has an open building. Again, though, why not just move Wagoneer to Dundee if that’s the case?

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We asked an FCA rep to comment; the answer was a restatement that the company doesn’t comment on such things, which is fair enough. My personal thoughts: either JNAP is being expanded in the direction of the Mack Avenue complex, which would make sense, or, maybe, the company is planning to build a conveyor to move V6 engines straight from the Mack plants into JNAP.

UPDATE: One Allpar member pointed out that the distance between the two plants is around half a mile (if they ran along the railroad tracks and under the Mack Avenue bridge), so a conveyor would be possible but expensive. One Mack employee wrote that he had heard rumors for a while on converting the old Mack plant to making sub-assemblies, moving its engine production elsewhere. In theory, the ideal time for that would be as a new engine is launched to take pressure off V6 production; a new Ram straight-six has been rumored for a long time.

Your thoughts?