Warren Assembly, which has been operational since 1938, currently builds the Ram 1500 line of pickups. The Ram will move to FCA’s Sterling Heights plant once the next-generation model arrives for the 2019 model year, leaving the 3.3 million square-foot Warren site vacant.
FCA’s idea was to build the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer at Warren once the Ram had departed, but costs have thrown a wrench into the plans. Converting Warren from a body-on-frame line to a unibody line may prove to be too costly, with Marchionne saying the site is a “a very old plant ,” that needs “significant investment.”
Another option would be building the new luxury Jeep at FCA’s Jefferson North Assembly in Detroit that currently builds the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. This would require less investment but would likely force Durango production elsewhere – potentially FCA’s Windsor Assembly plant in Ontario.
What’s clear right now is that it’s not clear where the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be built. Marchionne’s trying, though, with the Italian-Canadian executive promising reporters the product is “still earmarked,” for production and that he will “continue to work on it.”