Heavy Duty Ram trucks have been produced at the company’s Saltillo plant in Mexico since the late 2000s, but in an announcement made yesterday, Ram announced plans to invest $1 billion into its truck plant in Warren, Michigan, bringing production of the big brute back to America.
The company confirmed it will modernize Warren Truck Assembly Plant so it can produce the next-generation Ram Heavy Duty truck, which will relocate from its current Mexican production in the calendar year 2020. This investment is in addition to the announcement made last January which committed FCA to spending money at the Warren plant to build the all-new Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.
To support the increased volume at the Warren facility, Ram says 2500 new jobs will be created. This figure is above and beyond the jobs announced as part of last January’s announcement. The company claims they have invested more than $10 billion and created more than 25,000 jobs in America since 2009.
“These announcements reflect our ongoing commitment to our U.S. manufacturing footprint and the dedicated employees who have contributed to FCA’s success.” said Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. “It is only proper that our employees share in the savings generated by tax reform and that we openly acknowledge the resulting improvement in the U.S. business environment by investing in our industrial footprint accordingly.”
Wait, what was that about employees sharing in company savings? Well, FCA also announced it will make a special bonus payment of $2000 to approximately 60,000 hourly and salaried employees in the U.S., excluding senior leadership. The payment, which is said to recognize employees for their continued commitment to the company’s success, will be made in the second quarter of this year.
Looking at the current truck situation at Ram, the timing makes good sense. Ram announced back in late 2016 it was delaying a revamp of its HD lineup until 2020, at which time it’ll fall more in line with the new Ram due at next week’s auto show in Detroit. This delay was announced in order to allow the company time to revamp its Sterling Heights facility for the snazzy new 2019 Ram 1500 to the tune of $1.5 billion.
The plant in Saltillo isn’t closing after the Ram HD departs for American soil. Rather, FCA says it will be “repurposed to produce future commercial vehicles for global distribution.” Reading between the lines, that could mean anything from vans for Valencia to flat decks for France.
Whether the company’s agenda behind the move is financially or politically driven is of little consequence. Jobs are being created and money is being invested in American workers, and that’s always a good thing.