Chrysler will move production from Mexico
Report: Chrysler to produce Dodge Journey at Sterling Heights plant
Chrysler will move production of the next-generation Dodge Journey and Fiat Freemont crossover utility vehicles from Toluca, Mexico, to Sterling Heights where it will also build the next generation of its Chrysler 200 sedan, according to a report published Tuesday by AutomotiveCompass.
All three vehicles will be built on a common platform that Chrysler shares with Fiat’s Alfa Romeo Giulietta, said Sam Fiorani, senior automotive market analyst for AutomotiveCompass.
Fiorani said his firm learned of Chrysler’s plans from several suppliers, who also said Chrysler will discontinue production of the Dodge Avenger, which is currently built at Sterling Heights.
Chrysler has said a redesigned 200 will go on sale next year. According to Fiorani, production will begin on the next-generation Journey and Freemont in January 2016.
Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson declined to comment.
The current Chrysler 200 was first introduced as the Chrysler Sebring — a car auto critics savaged for its cheap interior, which represented how the automaker’s quality had declined in the years leading up to its 2009 Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
New management quickly upgraded both the Chrysler and Dodge midsize models, rebadging the former as the 200. Sales of the car surged 44% to more than 125,000 in 2012, but it still lags behind segment leaders Toyota Camry and Honda Accord. Chrysler is counting on the redesigned version to be a more credible competitor.
With sales of just under 80,000 in 2012, the Dodge Journey is a compact crossover that struggles to compete with models such as Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 and Ford Escape. However, the Fiat Freemont has been a popular model in Europe.
Built in 1953, Chrysler’s Sterling Heights assembly was once tagged for closure under Chrysler’s reorganization plan.
Chrysler announced in 2010 and 2011 a more than $1-billion investment to build paint and body shops at the site. Construction is expected to finish this year.
Today Chrysler employs about 2,500 hourly employees on two shifts at the plant.
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