Fiat Chrysler To Invest $1 Billion In The US, Add 2,000 Jobs
Suddenly the coolest thing in corporate America is announcing major capital investments in the US while adding thousands of American jobs, in other words the opposite of the globalization trend of the past 30 years, in yet other words, doing precisely what Donald Trump demands. The latest to jump on the bandwagon is none other than Fiat Chrysler, the Italian carmaking giant which ironically acquired US automotive icon Chrysler's assets after just a 42 day stay in bankruptcy during the financial crisis.
Just days after Ford scrapped plans to build a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico and invest $700 million in a factory in Michigan, following threats from Trump aimed at General Motors to focus on the US instead of Mexico which would be repeated just days later targeting Toyota, Fiat Chrysler (FCA, or Fiat) on Sunday said it will invest $1 billion to modernize two plants in the U.S. Midwest and create 2,000 jobs, in an attempt to placate the president elect as well as upping the ante as automakers respond to threats from President-elect Donald Trump to slap new taxes on imported vehicles.
Fiat announced that a plant in Warren, Michigan, near Detroit, would make the Jeep Wagoneer and Jeep Grand Wagoneer SUVs, while a Toledo, Ohio, factory would produce the Jeep pickup. The company said the production plans in Ohio and Michigan were "subject to the negotiation and final approval of incentives by state and local entities."
That said, Fiat's ulterior motives did not end with merely avoiding Trump's wrath.
As Reuters adds, FCA's announcement that it would retool factories in Ohio and Michigan to build new Jeep sport utility vehicles, including a pickup truck, and potentially move production of a Ram heavy-duty pickup truck to Michigan from Mexico, also highlighted the auto industry's keen interest in getting relief from tough fuel economy rules enacted by the outgoing Obama administration. Many automakers plan to use the annual North American International Auto show in Detroit, which started on Saturday, to tout investments in the United States and a commitment to U.S. employment against the backdrop of Trump's criticism of automakers for shipping vehicles into the U.S. from Mexico.