Fiat Chrysler Automobiles today announced a $1 billion investment in two of its American factories for the production of new Jeep models. The funding will pay for retooling FCA's Warren, Michigan plant to build Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer upscale SUVs and another in Toledo, Ohio for pickup truck construction.
We knew the pickup was as good as a done deal, but there was uncertainty surrounding the Wagoneer models, as FCA had seemed unsure in the past whether it had enough production capacity to add all three models.
FCA has said the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer could be priced as high as $140,000 in the U.S., a tag that would pitch the models into battle with serious high-end SUVs like the Land Rover Range Rover Autobiograpy and Porsche Cayenne Turbo. At the moment, the Grand Cherokee is the closest thing Jeep has to a player in the lucrative high-end SUV segment: it comes in fully-dressed trims like the Overland and high-performance SRT.
The Jeep pickup is expected to arrive in 2018 and be based on the Wrangler SUV. It would capitalize on the current popularity for mid-size trucks, as demonstrated by strong sales of the GM's Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma and Honda Ridgeline.
FCA says the investment will create 2,000 American jobs, news that should please incoming U.S. president Donald Trump, who has recently threatened automakers with steep tariffs on vehicles not built in the States.