Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and the United Auto Workers are negotiating a labor agreement which could bring major changes to the automaker’s production facilities.
According to sources cited by Automotive News, FCA has proposed moving US car production to Mexico and concentrating SUV and crossover production in the US. More specifically, production of the Chrysler 200 sedan would move from Sterling Heights Assembly to FCA’s assembly plant in Toluca, Mexico, while the Ram 1500 pickup truck would move from Warren Truck to the vacant Sterling Heights Assembly during the life of the proposed four-year contract.
The Mexican plant currently builds the North American version of the Fiat 500 and the Dodge Journey. If the agreement gets ratified, production of the NA-spec Fiat 500 will move to Poland, where European-spec models are also made.
Other changes would involve the Jeep Cherokee, which would move from Toledo Assembly Complex to Belvidere Assembly in Illinois. That’s because Belvidere will lose production of the Dodge Dart, which will also move to Toluca.
As a result of lost Cherokee production, the half of Toledo Assembly that builds unibody vehicles will be converted to body-on-frame production to manufacture the next-generation Jeep Wrangler from 2017. In addition, the existing Wrangler plant will be retooled to build a Wrangler-based pickup.
The Warren Truck in Michigan would be retooled and converted from body-on-frame construction to unibody construction, with the report saying that the Jeep Grand Wagoneer three-row SUV will eventually be built there. Warren Truck could potentially also build two-row Grand Cherokee SUVs.
As for the Ram 2500 and 3500 pickups, a source from inside FCA told Automotive News that they will continue to be built at FCA’s massive complex in Saltillo, Mexico. The Dodge Viper will also remain at its current production facility, the Connor Avenue Assembly in Detroit.
What’s uncertain right now is where FCA will build the replacement for the Jeep Compass and Patriot, the promised Chrysler 100 sedan and midsize and full-size crossovers.
All told, FCA has pledged to invest $5.3 billion in its US plants. The agreement’s ratification votes are expected to begin next week.