Fiat Chrysler has announced it will shift production of heavy-duty Ram trucks from Mexico to metro Detroit by 2020.
Fiat Chrysler says the move will bring Ram production to the Warren Truck Assembly Plant, along with a $1 billion investment and 2,500 new jobs. There will also be a $1.5 billion investment in the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant to build the next-generation Ram 1500 truck, creating an additional 700 new jobs.
The automaker also announced it will give one-time, $2,000 bonuses to its U.S. employees.
The announcement, just ahead of opening week of this year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit, isn't totally unexpected.
CEO Sergio Marchionne said it was “made possible in part by” last month’s massive federal tax overhaul.
The move also protects Fiat-Chrysler from tariffs if the U.S. exits the North American Free Trade Agreement, something some negotiators and experts say looks increasingly likely. And it comes as the automaker is consolidating truck production to meet growing demand in the American market, while focusing car production elsewhere.
Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel says he’s “excited” about heavy-duty Ram production joining the Dodge Ram light truck, which is made at nearby Sterling Heights Assembly.
“Macomb County has become Dodge Ram country,” Hackel said. “And boy, I tell you, it creates jobs and it’s a statement, I think, into the future. This is a generational decision.”
Hackel says this is “another add-on” to the roughly $10 billion automakers and suppliers have invested in Macomb County since 2010.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both praised and touted the announcement on Twitter Thursday, as they have with other recent moves that brought some automotive production back from Mexico.
But U.S. employment in the automotive sector actually declined slightly in 2017, something analysts attribute in part to uncertainty about NAFTA and Trump’s trade policies.