FCA earmarks $1.5 billion to build Ram 1500 pickups at Chrysler 200 plant

FCA said the investment at the Sterling Heights plant “is subject to the formal approval of incentives by state and local entities.”

DETROIT — Fiat Chrysler will invest $1.48 billion to convert its Sterling Heights Assembly plant in suburban Detroit from unibody to body-on-frame construction to build the next-generation Ram 1500 pickup.

The automaker today confirmed that the plant will end production of the slow-selling Chrysler 200 sedan in December to begin the conversion.

As Automotive News first reported in September 2015, the Ram 1500 will move from its historic home at Warren Truck Assembly to Sterling Heights Assembly. The two plants are within about 10 miles of each other in Detroit’s northern suburbs.

After production of the current-generation Ram 1500 is completed, Warren Truck will be retooled to produce the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer luxury SUVs, Automotive News has reported.

FCA said the investment “is subject to the formal approval of incentives by state and local entities.” No additional jobs at Sterling Heights or Warren Truck were announced. FCA previously invested $1 billion into Sterling Heights Assembly to build the unibody 2015 Chrysler 200.

Earlier this month, FCA announced a $1 billion investment in its assembly plants in Toledo, Ohio, and Belvidere, Ill., to boost production of Jeep products. That announcement included 700 additional jobs at FCA’s Toledo Assembly Complex.

Both sets of investments are part of FCA’s latest plan to boost production of hot-selling and highly profitable Jeep and Ram products at the expense of slow-selling products such as the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart.

Through the first half of the year, Jeep sales are up 17 percent and Ram pickup sales are up 9 percent. Meanwhile, 200 sales are down 62 percent, while the Dart is down 41 percent.

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