When you think of FCA hopefully the first brand that comes to mind is Jeep. This is what FCA is hoping because this has been the most profitable brand for the company for the past several years and even thought Fiat and Chrysler are at the beginning of the name it seems more likely Jeep will carry the weight of the company for many years to come. For a company that is responsible for the Dodge Charger and Challenger as well as the Chrysler 300 and 200 it may seem strange to focus on the SUV market, but as the strongest selling segment of the automotive market this is the right place for FCA to put its money.
Currently the plan is for FCA to invest $1.05 billion into the Jeep brand to strengthen the brand and make use of resources that are already part of the company. The announcement earlier in the year that the Dodge Dart, Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass would all be discontinued along with the Chrysler 200 many of the employees of FCA wondered what would happen to their jobs. Thankfully they won’t have to wonder much longer.
The money being invested will add nearly $700 million to the Jeep Wrangler factory in Toledo, Ohio to ensure this factory can focus on solely producing the Wrangler by adding nearly 700 new jobs and creating the next generation of the Wrangler to continue the long history of this amazing vehicle. Of course that leaves the Jeep Cherokee without a home to be built because it’s currently being produced in the same factory as the Wrangler. Does this mean the Cherokee will also be deleted from the market and taken away from us? That would certainly be a tragedy for Jeep and us as a consumer base.
Not to worry though, the Belvidere, Illinois factory that currently produces the Dodge Dart, Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass will be retooled to produce the Jeep Cherokee and receive the remaining $350 million for the upgrades needed along with the potential of 300 new jobs. This makes for a great transition and an intelligent use of resources by FCA to utilize the factory and employees they already have in place to bring the strength of the Jeep brand to the forefront of the automotive industry.
Maybe you wonder how the Jeep brand will be stronger by deleting two models or you’re concerned about the Dart and 200 being removed as well. Currently FCA is looking for a partner that can produce the 200 and Dart for them in order to keep them going, but so far there haven’t been any takers. As far as the Patriot and Compass, these two seems to be creating a logjam at the bottom of the lineup and with them gone Jeep can put a stronger focus on the remaining models to make them better than ever. We can all look forward to the new models coming from Jeep as FCA makes and investment in their own success.
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