FCA Invests in the Future of Jeep
It’d been a while since we’d last heard any rumblings on the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer fronts. The only thing Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) had made public regarding these two new models was that they’d arrive before the 2022 model year – an announcement made at FCA’s Capital Markets Day presentation back in the summer of 2018. We recently got word about the automaker’s future plans when it unveiled its $4.5 billion investment plan for the metro Detroit area. The investment will serve to retool several Michigan plants for Ram and Jeep production, with Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer production slated to begin in early 2021.
About $1.5 billion of the aforementioned investment will be to retool the automaker’s Warren Truck plant in Warren, Michigan to ready the plant for Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer production. For the time being, that very same plant is responsible for building and assembling the last-generation Ram 1500 – currently sold as the Ram 1500 Classic. Industry experts expected the automaker to move Ram Heavy Duty production to this plant once the last-generation Ram 1500 was phased out, but that’s not the case. The latest in Jeep news means that FCA will continue to build its heavy-duty lineup in Saltillo, Mexico instead. It is estimated that a total of 1400 jobs will be added to the Warren plant with the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer production.
Both the Wagoneer and the Grand Wagoneer will be the Jeep brand’s entry into a segment that’s currently occupied by the luxurious likes of Cadillac, Lincoln, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Range Rover. Back in 2016, Mike Manley (then-Jeep CEO, current FCA CEO) stated that the Grand Wagoneer might come with a price tag over $100,000 – well into Range Rover territory. What’s up for debate right now is whether the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will share a modified version of the next-generation Grand Cherokee slated to debut by 2021 or if they’ll ride on a body-on-frame platform like to be shared with Ram. One thing experts and insiders do know is that both models will have a plug-in hybrid variant offered – a fact that was confirmed during the investment’s announcement.
Elsewhere in the same announcement, FCA also confirmed that the next Grand Cherokee and an unnamed three-row SUV from Jeep will both be built and assembled at the Mack Avenue Plant, a plant that’s currently making FCA’s Pentastar V6 engine that powers a large majority of its lineup. Production of the three-row SUV is slated to begin by the end of 2020, while the next-generation Grand Cherokee will start production by mid-2021. Additionally, the new Grand Cherokee will continue to be built and assembled at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant, where it’ll share its assembly space with the Dodge Durango.
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