And they’ll be body-on-frame!

FCA Boss Sergio Marchionne has officially confirmed the long-rumored Jeep Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, and Wrangler Pickup at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. The news serves as confirmation that Jeep will indeed seek to compete against big-name luxury brands like Range Rover, while expanding its Wrangler lineup to appeal to SUV and truck-leaning market trends. What’s more, news reports from the auto show floor say Marchionne confirmed both the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will ride on ladder-frame chassis.

This news is the cherry on top of FCA’s recent shake-up regarding its North American assembly plants and its committed investment into U.S. manufacturing and job creation.

Both the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be built at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan. Currently the Ram 1500 pickup is assembled here, but will move to the near-by Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, which is now free after FCA ended production of the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 sedans. FCA also announced Warren will also build the Ram Heavy Duty pickups, which are moving from Saltillo, Mexico. FCA did not mention whether the decision to relocate the Ram HD’s assembly to Michigan has anything to do with president-elect Donald Trump’s negative stance on the NAFTA trade deal.

The next-generation Jeep Wrangler will continue rolling off the same Toledo Assembly line in Ohio. The Wrangler Pickup will join the Wrangler here, as well. FCA says all of these moves will be completed by 2020.

This game of musical chairs isn’t coming cheap. FCA has committed to invest nearly $1 billion to revamp both the Warren Truck Assembly Plant and the Toledo Assembly Complex. Another $700 million will be invested retooling the Sterling Heights plant and another $350 million will be invested to retool the Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois to produce the Jeep Cherokee, which is moving from the Toledo plant to free space for the Wrangler Pickup.

FCA’s monetary investments will also create jobs – at least 4,000 new jobs, in fact.

Neither FCA nor Jeep made any indication as to what model year the Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, and Wrangler Pickup would fall under. The next-generation Wrangler SUV is expected for the 2018 model year.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why It Matters

FCA is banking on the continued market trend of crossovers, SUVs, and pickups. These vehicles have become immensely popular over the last several years thanks to low gas prices and a resurging economy. Sergio Marchionne said it best at the Detroit Auto Show, saying:

“The conversion of our industrial footprint completes this stage of our transformation as we respond to the shift in consumer tastes to trucks and SUVs, and as we continue to reinforce the U.S. as a global manufacturing hub for those vehicles at the heart of the SUV and truck market.”

He continued talking about the value Jeep adds to the FCA portfolio, saying, “The expansion of our Jeep lineup has been and continues to be the key pillar of our strategy. Our commitment to internationalize the Jeep brand is unwavering, and with these last moves, we will finally have the capacity to successfully penetrate markets other than the U.S. which have historically been denied product due to capacity constraints. In addition, these all-new products will reach new consumers, as well as those that have been part of the Jeep tradition.”

It’s clear FCA needs the Jeep brand to do well, both inside the U.S. and abroad. Without getting political, it is great to see the U.S. ramp up its exportation of vehicles rather than investing in foreign assembly locations.

Read our full preview on the Jeep Grand Wagoneer here.

Read our full review on the upcoming Jeep Pickup here.

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Press Release

FCA US today confirmed the next phase of its industrialization plan by announcing a total $1 billion investment in plants in Michigan and Ohio, and the addition of 2,000 new American jobs. Consistent and combined with previously announced investments, FCA US is further demonstrating its commitment to strengthening its U.S. manufacturing base, and aligning U.S. capacity to extend the Jeep® product lineup. In total, FCA US has committed investments of more than $9.6 billion in its U.S. manufacturing facilities and created 25,000 new jobs to date since 2009.

Today’s announcement is the second phase of an industrialization plan announced in January 2016. The plan called for the realignment of the Company’s U.S. manufacturing operations to fully utilize available capacity to respond to a shift in market demand for trucks and SUVs, and to further expand the Jeep and Ram brands.

With the $1 billion investment, FCA US will retool and modernize the Warren Truck Assembly Plant (Michigan) to produce the all-new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, and the south plant of the Toledo Assembly Complex (Ohio) to build an all-new Jeep pickup truck. These actions are planned to be completed by 2020. More than 2,000 jobs also will be added to support production of these models. The added benefit of the investment in Warren is that it will enable the plant to produce the Ram heavy duty truck, which is currently produced in Mexico.

“The conversion of our industrial footprint completes this stage of our transformation as we respond to the shift in consumer tastes to trucks and SUVs, and as we continue to reinforce the U.S. as a global manufacturing hub for those vehicles at the heart of the SUV and truck market,” said Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer of FCA N.V. “These moves, which have been under discussion with Dennis Williams and the rest of the UAW leadership for some time, expand our capacity in these key segments, enabling us to meet growing demand here in the U.S., but more importantly to increase exports of our mid-size and larger vehicles to international markets.

“The expansion of our Jeep lineup has been and continues to be the key pillar of our strategy. Our commitment to internationalize the Jeep brand is unwavering, and with these last moves, we will finally have the capacity to successfully penetrate markets other than the U.S. which have historically been denied product due to capacity constraints. In addition, these all-new products will reach new consumers, as well as those that have been part of the Jeep tradition,” said Marchionne.

The actions announced today are subject to the negotiation and final approval of incentives by state and local entities.

Previously Announced Actions
In July 2016, the Company made two announcements involving production shifts at three plants to gain additional capacity for the Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Cherokee and Ram Light Duty Truck.

The first announcement confirmed a more than $1 billion investment and the addition of 1,000 jobs at its Illinois and Ohio plants. The Company will invest $350 million in the Belvidere Assembly Plant (Illinois) to produce the Jeep Cherokee, which will move from its current production location in Toledo, Ohio, in 2017. Approximately 300 new jobs would be created.

Following the move of Cherokee to Belvidere, the Company will invest $700 million in the Toledo Assembly Complex (Ohio) to retool the North plant to produce the next generation Jeep Wrangler. Approximately 700 new jobs will be added.

In the second announcement, FCA US announced that it will invest nearly $1.5 billion in its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (Michigan) to retool it to build the next generation Ram 1500. In September, the Company committed to adding 700 new jobs to support production.

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