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Future Jeep Grand Cherokee, Wagoneer, Ram Plans On Track

FCA merger with PSA won’t derail big truck and big SUV strategy

With massive changes in the works for FCA, which is planning a merger with PSA while also negotiating a new four-year labor agreement with the UAW, plans remain on track to build more, bigger, and more profitable Jeeps and Ram pickups.

It makes us tired just writing about all the things that FCA CEO Mike Manley is juggling. But the top man—at least until the merger takes effect—says his team is going full tilt on product plans and portfolio overhauls that were in the works before the proposed merger agreement.

For Jeep, construction is underway in Detroit to turn the unused Mack Avenue Engine plant into an assembly plant to make more Jeeps. The $1.6 billion facility overhaul will be done early next year. Production will begin in the fourth quarter of 2020 on a new full-size three-row Jeep SUV to compete with the Cadillac Escaladeand its GM brothers, the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator duo, and big boys from a number of other, more premium brands.

The Detroit plant will add production of the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee in the first half of 2021.

Mack Avenue will be one of three Michigan plants that will produce plug-in hybrids, and have the capability to make fully electric Jeeps, with the first models due in late 2021.

Manley has said the Jeep brand will include at least four plug-in hybrid vehicles with the flexibility to produce battery-electric vehicles, too. Plug-in hybrid plans include the Renegade and Compass, with a Wrangler to come, as well as the expectation of electric motors in the upcoming three-row Jeeps.

The CEO also said he is more encouraged by pricing on electric vehicles today, especially in Europe, than he was earlier in the year.

Plans also remain on track to start building the new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer three-row luxury SUVs, Manley said. FCA is spending $1.5 billion to retool its truck plant in Warren, Michigan, for SUV production to begin in the first half of 2021, including electrified variants.

There will be 14 weeks of downtime in the new year at the Warren plant that continues to make the Ram 1500 Classic, the previous-generation version of the pickup. It acts as a more affordable, entry-level truck that is sold in addition to the current Ram 1500, MotorTrend's 2019 Truck of the Year. Manley said there is no date to stop making the Classic for now, which has been embraced by consumers and serves as a good price step-up for the brand. In a call with investors to report third-quarter earnings, Manley said Ram continues to grow in sales volume, market share, and profit margin.

Big trucks and SUVs are geared to the North American market and are least likely to be affected by the planned merger of FCA and PSA, a deal that came together quickly because the two companies know each other well. Manley cautioned there is still a lot of work to do to reach a formal agreement, however. He did not give a time frame as to when the merger might be finalized.


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Autos News: Future Jeep Grand Cherokee, Wagoneer, Ram Plans On Track
Future Jeep Grand Cherokee, Wagoneer, Ram Plans On Track
FCA merger with PSA won’t derail big truck and big SUV strategy
Autos News
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