Wrangler pickup to be built in Ohio, Wagoneer models in Michigan.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles confirmed today production plans for three models that we had long expected were on the way. Jeep confirmed it will start building a Wrangler pickup model in Ohio, as well as Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models in Michigan, by 2020.
The announcement came as FCA said it would invest $1 billion USD (about $1.32B CAD) in its Warren Truck Assembly and Toledo Assembly Complex plants, adding 2,000 jobs, to produce the vehicles. But the move also will allow FCA to bring production of Ram Heavy Duty trucks from Mexico back to the U.S., at the Warren plant. It’s a move that comes on the heels of other automakers (including Toyota, General Motors, and Ford) receiving heavy criticism from President-elect Donald Trump about building cars in Mexico. The Ram 2500 and 3500 HD trucks are currently built at the Saltillo Truck Assembly Plant in Coahuila, Mexico.
As for the Jeep announcements, we essentially knew this was coming. Our spy photos, pictured, already suggested the next-gen Jeep Wrangler would spawn a pickup-truck variant, and now this news makes it official. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said it and the Wagoneer models are key to bringing more customers to the Jeep brand.
“The expansion of our Jeep lineup has been and continues to be the key pillar of our strategy,” he said in a statement issued today. “In addition, these all-new products will reach new consumers, as well as those that have been part of the Jeep tradition.”
The Jeep Grand Wagoneer is expected to be a very luxurious range-topping model that could compete with the likes of Range Rover, and might cost well into the six-figure range. But we’ve heard before that development has been delayed, so it’s unclear when – between now and 2020 – the model will debut. The Jeep Wagoneer, meanwhile, will likely be a slightly smaller and more affordable version. We reported back in July that the two models, which should have seating for up to seven people, would be distinguished by their level of luxury; the Grand Wagoneer is expected to be considerably more upscale.
Jeep boss Mike Manley previously told Automotive News: “The Wagoneer name represents, historically, the pinnacle of premium for the Jeep world … you could imagine the use of Wagoneer to denote a really premium vehicle, and Grand Wagoneer takes it to the very next level.”