Ram Truck Manufacturing Coming Home to MI

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Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will spend $1 billion to upgrade its Warren Truck Assembly Plant in MI to build heavy duty Ram pickups and a full-size Jeep SUV, the automaker announced Thursday.

The company also plans to pay $2,000 bonuses this spring to about 60,000 hourly and salaried US employees.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne says the company should adjust its manufacturing footprint to reflect "improvement in the USA business environment".

The automaker said the two activities had become viable in part by the tax bill that President Trump signed.

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FCA has announced two actions made possible in part by the passage of USA tax reform legislation late a year ago; an additional investment in its United States manufacturing operations and a special payment to recognize employees for their continued efforts toward the success of the company. During the 2016 presidential campaign then-candidate Donald Trump frequently attacked Ford Motor Co. and other automakers for importing vehicles from Mexico, threatening to enact a "big border tax" once elected.

The company says under rare conditions, the engine control computer can incorrectly determine the operating status and cause the engine to shut off. Fiat Chrysler says it knows of one potentially related crash but no injuries caused by the problem.

The decision to put the Ram HD pickup in Warren is the latest in a series of moves by Fiat Chrysler to enhance its truck production while cutting back on passenger vehicle output.

Like its competitors, FCA has been pushing rapidly up-market with its pickups, the 2018 Ram 2500 Tungsten model shown here.

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Both actions were "made possible in part by the passage of USA tax reform legislation late previous year", according to the release.

The automaker said that the investment it announced on Thursday is separate from a labor deal of 2015 with the UAW union. With the investment, the company said, Warren Truck would have the flexibility to also produce the Ram Heavy Duty.

Today FCA announces an additional $1 billion investment with the decision to follow through and make the move a reality. "We will continue to generate the conditions so that all the assembly plants that depend in some way on the renegotiation of the free trade agreement [NAFTA] will have absolutely everything to continue benefiting", Miguel Riquelme said. The Mexico plant will be repurposed to product commercial vehicles. The payment will be made in the second quarter and is being paid in addition to profit-sharing or performance bonus payments.

The new $1 billion Warren investment, still subject to the negotiation and final approval of state and local tax incentives, will prepare the plant to build the next-generation Ram Heavy Duty truck, now made in Saltillo, Mexico.

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In order to support the increase in volume that the investment at the Warren facility will bring, the company will create 2'500 new jobs.

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