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Discussion Starter · #141 ·
Stellantis Announces $99 Million Total Investment for New Engine Production at Three North American Plants
  • Company to produce new four-cylinder turbo engine
  • Investments will be made at Dundee (Michigan) Engine, Kokomo (Indiana) Casting and Etobicoke (Toronto) Casting
  • New engine designated for HEV applications for future North American models
  • Investment supports company’s Dare Forward 2030 long-term strategy

August 1, 2022 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - Stellantis announced today that it will invest a total of $99 million in three North American plants for production of a new four-cylinder turbocharged engine. Investments will be made at the Dundee Engine Complex in Michigan, the Kokomo Casting Plant in Indiana and the Etobicoke Casting Plant in Toronto.

The new engine is a 1.6-liter, I-4 turbocharged unit with direct fuel injection and flexibility for hybrid-electric vehicle (HEV) applications. Based on a current Stellantis production engine in Europe, this next-generation engine will power two future North American HEV models. This will be the first HEV engine for the company in the region. Production is expected to begin in early 2025.

With an investment of nearly $83 million, Dundee Engine will be retooled and become the final assembly location for the new engine. The Michigan plant will continue production of the 3.6-liter Pentastar Upgrade for the Jeep® Grand Cherokee and Jeep Grand Cherokee L. The Tigershark 2.4-liter I-4 engine will build out in the first quarter of 2023.

Engine blocks will be cast at the Kokomo Casting Plant, one of the largest facilities of its kind in the world. More than $14 million will be invested to convert existing die cast machines and cells for the new engine.

Etobicoke Casting will produce the oil pan for the new engine. The company will invest nearly $2 million to support the development and installation of new tooling and equipment upgrades.

These investments support Stellantis’ Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan of delivering innovative, clean, safe and affordable mobility solutions.

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Discussion Starter · #142 ·
Hunger for factory jobs ties Indiana to bygone reality

  • Michael J. Hicks
  • Aug 12, 2022

Automotive design Cooking Engineering Gas Machine

Work in factories such as the Chrysler transmission plant that employed Dave Roop, has been the backbone of Indiana’s economy. But no longer.

I’ve been living in Rust Belt towns in West Virginia, Ohio and Indiana for more than two decades. One shocking thing I continue to hear is the belief that something will cause an increase in factory jobs.

Whether this fantasy is heard on the national stage or in cities and towns, I remain stunned by the ignorance that otherwise-intelligent people have about manufacturing in the United States.

One trick I have to show how misinformed folks are about factory employment is simply to ask, “When was peak manufacturing production in the USA?” The answers range from 1942 to the 1970s.

The correct answer is 2021.

That’s right, the inflation-adjusted peak year of manufacturing production in the USA was 2021. That shouldn’t be too shocking to folks, but apparently it is.

I then ask, “When was peak manufacturing employment in the USA?” The answer there is 1979, which seems not to shock too many people.

Here in Indiana, the answers are 2021 and 1973, respectively. So what’s been going on, and why do so many folks believe that salvation in the form of factory jobs is right around the corner?

The facts about manufacturing are pretty simple. As a share of employment, manufacturing has been in a steady decline since the end of World War II. However, the share of manufacturing GDP has been almost constant for 75 years.

The primary reason is simply that we are very good at making things. So, we continue to get manufacturing production peaks with fewer and fewer workers.

Of course, we aren’t alone in this. Manufacturing employment is down worldwide. Peak factory employment in Germany occurred in 1970. In Taiwan, it peaked in 1988, and insofar as you can believe any of its public data, factory jobs peaked in China 15 years ago.

Most manufactured goods can be produced anywhere and shipped very cheaply. The cost per ton-mile of transporting goods is a fraction of what it was in 1950.

One result of this is that international trade could also contribute to the loss of manufacturing production in some nations. One rule of thumb is that businesses have a simple choice: become more productive so you can cut jobs or lose your business to less expensive imports.

Either way, some jobs disappear.

This normal economic transformation is nothing new, and nothing to be afraid of. We went through it in farming a century ago, and did just fine.

One reason we did well is that farmers who lost jobs to the productivity gains of tractors and steam threshers went to work in factories. Today’s displaced factory workers don’t fare as well. The prime reason is simply that the education and skills these workers possessed didn’t match the many available jobs nationwide.

The local effect of manufacturing job losses has been significant. Since 1979, the U.S. has lost about 7.5 million factory jobs. We’ve also created more than 60 million other types of jobs.

Indiana’s experience was worse. We lost about the same share of factory jobs, dropping from 760,000 in 1973 to 546,000 today. However, we gained only about 700,000 new jobs of other types, a gain of roughly 40%. Over the same time, the U.S. doubled employment.

There are many causes of the slow job growth and somnolent Hoosier economy. One factor is the continued pursuit of factory jobs.

Hoosier policymakers pay lip service to quality of life and educational attainment. Still, when it comes to budgets, Indiana and most of its cities and counties remain fixated on returning factory jobs to the region. That has been, and continues to be, a costly diversion of resources.

In terms of economic development spending and focus, it is nearly all about manufacturing. As an aside, there is some interest in logistics to move those factory goods, but in both policy and spending, Indiana remains focused on manufacturing.

Our workforce development system, which spends $1 billion each year on training, is primarily focused on filling factory jobs. This seems odd because wages for new factory workers have been in steady decline in Indiana for more than two decades. And, as I write this, the most heavily advertised manufacturing occupation in Indiana pays just $17 on average.

Much of our K-12 educational system leans heavily toward manufacturing. Among the list of community and technical courses listed by the state, there are 51 for manufacturing, 46 for health and 35 for transportation.

As a reminder, we haven’t yet recovered the factory jobs lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Indiana will almost certainly have fewer manufacturing workers in 2030 than we have today. We’ll need a lot more health care workers, so from this simple analysis, we are badly off balance.

Across Indiana, counties and cities continue to build speculative industrial sites. These “spec” buildings dot Indiana’s landscape, holding hostage hundreds of millions of public dollars that could be spent elsewhere. These facilities are designed only to appeal to manufacturing, while other sectors that are expanding and creating jobs are left to their own devices to find space.

Nowhere are these favored practices more apparent than in our tax system. On paper, Indiana levies a 3% property tax on business investment and a 4.9% corporate tax rate. That would imply a pretty stiff tax rate for manufacturing, which is rich in capital equipment and land.

In reality, tax subsidies or abatements for manufacturing are so high that no taxpaying industry in the state bears a lower burden.

According to federal data, the average business in Indiana pays a total tax burden of 7.2% of its production, while Indiana’s manufacturing firms pay less than 2.3%. To put this in context, almost no Hoosier household pays a smaller share of its earnings in taxes than does the manufacturing industry. The average factory job in Indiana is subsidized to the tune of $10,850 per year. That’s more than the state pays to educate a schoolchild.

No one can doubt the importance of manufacturing, or that it will always be an important and large part of the national and state economy. But, manufacturing will never again be a source of net job growth in Indiana. Since the turn of the century, Indiana has created 300,000 non-factory jobs while losing 127,000 factory jobs.

It is simply time that we treat this economic sector like any other, and focus our attention on the education of the future, not the past.


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Discussion Starter · #143 ·
Artist Reveals Design for Detroit Mural

    • Dr. Hubert Massey’s design will feature history of community, highlight diversity
    • Artist gathered design ideas from community members
    • Mural outside Stellantis’ Mack Assembly Plant will be one of the largest art installations in the region once complete
Rectangle Wood Art Tints and shades Font

August 19, 2022 , Detroit - After gathering ideas from the community, Dr. Hubert Massey revealed his design for a mural on the sound barrier outside the Stellantis Detroit Assembly Complex - Mack plant during a virtual meeting with residents on Thursday, Aug. 18.

The renowned fresco artist and Detroit resident brings the culture and history of the area to life in what will be one of the largest murals in the region. Different themed sections will create a historic timeline of the community, highlighting its strengths and diversity.

"What ties all this together is a band of the different cultures that live in the community,” Dr. Massey said. “These people love their community. They get involved, and they’re steadfast for their community."

Dr. Massey held an initial virtual community meeting on June 15 and met with residents to get their input and gather ideas on what was important to them for the design of the mural.

“There was just a wealth of information that I received,” Dr. Massey said. “I listened to what they had to say historically about their community, some of their aspirations as far as how they would like to see this mural represent their community.”

With the surface primed, Dr. Massey’s drawings will be transferred onto the southern section of the sound barrier, then painting is expected to begin after Labor Day. The northern section is expected to be completed next year.

The mural project is part of the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) reached between Stellantis, the City of Detroit and the Neighborhood Advisory Committee, a partnership that provides more than $35 million to support neighborhood improvements, housing, workforce development, education and training programs, and environmental initiatives. In 2019, the company committed to investing $2.5 billion to build the first new assembly plant in Detroit in 30 years and upgrade its existing Jefferson plant, creating nearly 5,000 new jobs and putting Detroiters first in the application process.

Partnering with Dr. Massey and Stellantis on the project are Commercial Contracting Corporation (CCC) and PPG, which are providing equipment and supplies.

“The mural came to fruition because of long-standing partnerships with PPG and CCC who both committed time and resources, and share Stellantis’ vision to make the east side of Detroit standout amongst other great neighborhoods in the city,” said Ron Stallworth, external affairs lead for Wayne County, Stellantis - North America. “The mural was a request from the community, and will serve as a unifying landmark for residents on the east side, Stellantis and visitors to the area.”

“Commercial Contracting Corporation is proud of its history providing construction services to Stellantis and excited to be part of the campaign to demonstrate the influence and impact Detroit and Stellantis have had on each other,” said Stephen Fragnoli, president of Commercial Contracting Corporation. “We are excited to see Dr. Massey’s rendition in capturing the importance of the relationship between Stellantis, Detroit and the people of this great American city.”

“At PPG, our purpose is to protect and beautify the world through color and meaningful participation in the communities where we live and work through our Colorful Communities program,” said Ramzy R. Hazamy, PPG global account director, Automotive OEM Coatings. “PPG is delighted to be involved in this mural project with Stellantis, Dr. Massey and CCC.”

Commercial Contracting Corporation (CCC)
CCC, a Detroit-based business, has grown to become an Engineering News-Record Top 400 Contractor providing a wide range of construction services for industrial, commercial and institutional markets across North America. CCC’s commitment to quality Construction and Equipment Installation services has led to a stellar reputation resulting in repeat business.

Pittsburgh-based PPG, a Fortune 500 paints and coatings company, engages in community efforts such as the Detroit mural project through its Colorful Communities program. The Colorful Communities program, PPG’s signature initiative for supporting communities, aims to protect and beautify the neighborhoods where PPG operates around the world. Through the Colorful Communities program, PPG’s committed volunteers contribute their time and PPG paint products to help transform community assets – from painting classrooms, to bringing color to a maternity ward and redesigning a playground. Since 2015, PPG has completed nearly 400 Colorful Communities projects, impacting more than 7.4 million people in 42 countries.

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Discussion Starter · #144 ·
Workers at Stellantis plant in Kokomo go on strike

Sep 10, 2022

KOKOMO, Ind. — Union workers at the Stellantis casting plant in Kokomo are going on strike and demanding better work conditions.

On Saturday, UAW Local 1166 announced that members working Stellantis’s Kokomo casting plant are immediately going on strike with requests for a “safe and comfortable” workplace. Among the group’s demands are for the company to repair and maintain all HVAC systems, address health and safety issues and provide clean uniforms.

“Stellantis claims it has no money to meet the basic needs of UAW Local 1166 members while, at the same time, it is making record profits and investing billions in a new battery plant across the street,” said UAW Vice President and Director of the Stellantis Department Cindy Estrada.

“This strike represents UAW Local 1166 members telling Stellantis enough is enough.”
UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada

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Discussion Starter · #145 ·
Stellantis casting plant workers in Indiana ratify local contract


Workers at a casting plant in Indiana owned by the maker of Jeep and Ram vehicles on Monday ratified a new local contract, according to the local union, securing demands around working conditions after an almost three-day strike.

The agreement between Stellantis NV and United Auto Workers Local 1166 in Kokomo Indiana, was reached late Sunday after workers went on strike early Saturday. The local updated its website on Monday evening, alerting members they had ratified the agreement. Details of the vote weren't immediately available.

UAW leaders earlier Monday championed the tentative agreement as obtaining key requests of the members. Since 2019, the local has been negotiating with the company, demanding that it install a new heating and air-conditioning system, pay for uniforms, repair equipment to secure work in-house, and address overtime language to protect departments and classifications.

“The environment in the plant has deteriorated over the years due to the company’s decision to save money by not properly maintaining or providing the proper HVAC in the plant,” UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada said in a statement. “The bargaining committee also fought hard to win dozens of demands that the members had submitted. This agreement will address these and many other issues that will benefit the Local 1166 members.”

Stellantis spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said in a statement that the company is pleased the agreement was ratified and that operations at the plant would resume Monday night. There was no impact to production at any other plants.

Kokomo Casting is the world’s largest die cast facility, according to Stellantis' website. The 625,000-square-foot plant produces aluminum parts for automotive components, transmissions and transaxle cases as well as engine block castings. It employs 142 salaried and 1,071 hourly employees. Both UAW Local 1166 and Local 1302 represent workers there.

Union activity, including strikes, has been on the rise nationally. The lack of enough workers to fill available jobs has empowered many employees to begin unionization campaigns and demand better wages and working conditions. National negotiations between the UAW and the Detroit Three automakers are set to begin next summer.

What electric vehicles, which have different and fewer parts than internal combustion engines vehicles, mean for their workers will be a key component of those discussions.

Stellantis in May announced with South Korean battery manufacturer Samsung SDI that their joint venture would construct a new $2.5 billion electric-vehicle battery plant in Kokomo, where Stellantis has several components plants. It is one of two battery plants Stellantis has announced in North America. The other is in Windsor, Ontario.

The casting plant itself last month was a part of a $99 million investment in three North American plants for production of a new 1.6-liter, I-4 turbocharged engine that can support gas-powered and hybrid-electric powertrains. More than $14 million of that will convert existing die cast machines and cells for production of the engine blocks at Kokomo Casting.

“The auto companies must know that our members will not be sacrificed with cost cutting efforts as they transition the auto industry,” UAW Region 2B Director Wayne Blanchard said in a statement. “The UAW membership has delivered quality products with their hard work and dedication while Stellantis has reaped record profits. Local 1166 members have shown that the membership of the UAW will push back when the company shows little regard for how their employees are treated.”


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Discussion Starter · #146 ·
Chrysler cuts shift at Michigan plant due to chip shortage

18th October 2022

DETROIT, Michigan: Chrysler-parent Stellantis said this week that due to the global semiconductor chips shortage, it is cutting one of three shifts at its Truck Assembly Plant in Warren, Michigan.

Stellantis has some 5,500 people working at the plant, which assembles the Jeep Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer and Ram 1500 Classic.

Over the past two years, automakers have been forced to cut auto production because of an ongoing chip shortage.

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Discussion Starter · #147 ·
Supply-chain snags halt Chrysler Pacifica production
Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Supply-chain bottlenecks have halted production of Chrysler Pacifica minivans at Windsor Assembly Plant in Ontario.
Afternoon shift on Tuesday was cancelled followed by both shifts on Wednesday, according to social media posts by Local 444 of Unifor, the Canadian autoworkers union. It was unclear if the work stoppage resulted from low stocks of microchips or another part. It also was unclear how long the downtime could last at the Stellantis NV plant that employs more than 4,000 people on two shifts.
Windsor Assembly Plant produces the Chrysler Pacifica and Voyager minivans.

"Stellantis continues to work closely with our suppliers to mitigate the manufacturing impacts caused by the various supply chain issues facing our industry," company spokeswoman LouAnn Gosselin said in a statement. "As the situation continues to be very fluid, we are making production adjustments as necessary to minimize additional production impact."
Stellantis executives have shared that supply-chain snags, particularly resulting from the short global supply of semiconductors, is a daily challenge. CEO Carlos Tavares has said he doesn't expect significant improvement until the end of next year.

Chief Financial Officer Richard Palmer earlier this month on a financial results call said there had been "incremental improvement" in semiconductor supply, but that North America was facing more challenges in obtaining needed chips than other regions like Europe.

Last week, Germany's Infineon Technologies AG announced a non-binding memorandum of understanding with Stelllantis as a first step toward a multi-year supply agreement that could be worth more than $1.04 billion (1 billion euro) for silicon carbide semiconductors to the automaker's suppliers.

Windsor Assembly Plant has been one of the most severely impacted plants from the microchip shortage in North America with an estimated 144,410 vehicles not able to be produced since the issue emerged in 2021, according to AutoForecast Solutions LLC's Friday update. That includes more than 53,000 vehicles this year from more than 100 lost days.

Supply-chain snags halt Chrysler Pacifica production at Stellantis' Windsor plant (

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Discussion Starter · #148 ·
Stellantis idling Belvidere Jeep Cherokee plant indefinitely, laying off 1,350 auto workers

Stellantis idling Belvidere Jeep Cherokee plant indefinitely, laying off 1,350 auto workers
Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune
Fri, December 9, 2022

Stellantis is idling the Belvidere Assembly Plant, the exclusive production home of the Jeep Cherokee, and laying off its remaining 1,350 workers.
The indefinite plant closure is set for Feb. 28, the automaker announced Friday.
“Our industry has been adversely affected by a multitude of factors like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the global microchip shortage, but the most impactful challenge is the increasing cost related to the electrification of the automotive market,” Stellantis spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said in a statement.
The sprawling auto plant near Rockford has been hard-hit by supply chain issues and declining sales for the Jeep Cherokee SUV, its only product. It announced a previous round of layoffs in March.

Tinson said Stellantis is “working to identify other opportunities to repurpose the Belvidere facility,” but offered no additional details. Some analysts believe the plant may be retooled to build electric vehicles.
The Belvidere plant became the exclusive home for the Jeep Cherokee in 2017. The region’s largest employer at its zenith, the plant had 5,464 workers on three shifts at the start of 2019, after building 270,000 of the SUVs during the previous year. But the plant has dramatically scaled back its workforce since then, slashing jobs and eliminating two shifts as demand for the Cherokee waned.

Last year, Jeep Cherokee sales fell 34% to 89,126 vehicles, according to Stellantis.
Cherokee sales have plummeted this year, falling nearly 61% to 30,852 vehicles through the third quarter, according to Kelley Blue Book.

Most of the 1,350 workers at the Belvidere plant are hourly employees who could be eligible for a combination of state unemployment and supplemental unemployment benefits, which are paid by FCA US, Tinson said.

Stellantis was created by the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Peugeot of France in January 2021.
The Belvidere plant opened under the Chrysler banner in 1965, with a white Plymouth Fury II sedan the first vehicle to roll off the line. Over the years, the plant was retooled several times, and made everything from the Dodge Neon to the Chrysler New Yorker.

While the plant has been idled by Stellantis, it could find new life at the center of the automaker’s plan to convert 50% of its U.S. production to electric vehicles by 2030.
“We are considering all options,” Tinson told the Tribune.

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Discussion Starter · #149 ·

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Discussion Starter · #150 ·
Stellantis has blamed rising EV costs for idling an Illinois plant that makes Jeep Cherokee
The decision and its timing has angered auto workers' unions

Automotive parking light Wheel Land vehicle Sky Car

US president Joe Biden hailed the electric vehicle boom as a job-creation opportunity, but the opposite seems to be happening at one Stellantis factory in Illinois.

The carmaker will idle the Belvidere assembly plant by Feb. 23 as it “considers other avenues to optimize operations,” it said on Friday (Dec. 9).

The company, which was formed in 2021 as a result of Fiat and Peugeot merging, said the industry is grappling with pandemic-related challenges and the global microchip shortage. It specifically blamed costs related to electric vehicle manufacturing for its decision, which comes on the heels of disappointing sales for the Jeep Cherokee model built at the Illinois plant.

Jeep Cherokee and EV costs, by the digits
1965: Year the Belvidere plant opened under the Chrysler banner, with a white Plymouth Fury II sedan as the first vehicle to roll off the line. Over the years, it’s made many models including the Dodge Neon and Chrysler New Yorker

$350 million: Size of the investment towards the production of Jeep Cherokee at the plant in 2016

70%: Workforce slashed at the Belvidere plant in the three years leading up to May 2022 as Jeep Cherokee sales fell

1,350: People currently employed at the Belvidere plant who are at risk of being laid off. Stellantis didn’t specify how many are losing their jobs

$4,500: EV-specific costs, which have more than doubled from roughly $2,000 before the pandemic

$31 billion: How much Stellantis has earmarked for its software and electrification transformation through 2025

50%: EVs share of US sales Stellantis projects by 2030

What will happen to Stellantis’ 1,350 Belvidere workers?
Stellantis said it issued WARN notices to both hourly and salaried employees. This refers to the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN Act), which requires employers with more than 100 employees to provide 60 days’ advance written notice prior to a mass layoff that is expected to affect at least 50 employees at any single site.

The company said it plans to accommodate as many workers as possible “in open full-time positions as they become available.” Meanwhile, Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker’s administration said a response team has been assembled to help displaced workers find new employment and make retraining programs available.

What will Stellantis make at the Belvidere plant now?
Stellantis didn’t comment on the Cherokee nameplate but the company spokesperson Jodi Tinson told AP News it’s “committed long term to this mid-size SUV segment.”

The automaker said it is working to find ways to repurpose the factory, but United Auto Workers is not so sure. Tim Ferguson, shop chairman for UAW union Local 1268, which represents the Illinois plant’s hourly workers, thinks Stellantis plans to shutter this plant. He told Reuters that company documents show Cherokee production being moved to Stellantis’ Toluca, Mexico, plant.

In a statement, UAW vice president and director of the Stellantis department, Cindy Estrada, said the union was “deeply angered” by the decision. “Companies like Stellantis receive billions in government incentives to transition to clean energy. It is an insult to all taxpayers that they are not investing that money back into our communities,” Estrada rued. UAW President Ray Curry called the move “grossly misguided” and the timing of it—just before the holidays—”cruel.”

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Discussion Starter · #151 ·
Stellantis CEO warns of more auto plant closures
January 06, 2023

Chrysler parent Stellantis NV CEO Carlos Tavares said on Thursday that more auto plant closures will happen if high prices for electric vehicles cause vehicle markets to shrink from pre-pandemic levels.
Automakers will risk losing pricing power as chip supplies recover, Tavares said at the CES technology trade show in Las Vegas.

Stellantis said last month it would indefinitely idle an assembly plant in Belvidere, Illionois, citing high costs for electric vehicles. Tavares told reporters said similar actions “will happen everywhere as long as we see high inflation of variable costs.”

The auto industry must absorb 40 percent higher costs for EVs, he added.

The company had flagged that increasing costs related to the electrification of the automotive market as the most impactful challenge affecting the auto industry.
“If the market shrinks we don’t need so many plants,” Tavares said. “Some unpopular decisions will have to be made.”

Read more: Stellantis CEO warns of more auto plant closures

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Discussion Starter · #152 ·
9 thieves attempt Ram pickup robbery, fail to escape Sterling Heights plant property

Eric D. Lawrence, Detroit Free Press
Tue, January 17, 2023

Nine people were arrested Tuesday in connection with an attempt to steal Ram pickups from a yard that serves the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant.

Nine people were arrested Tuesday in connection with an attempt to steal Ram pickups from a yard that serves the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant.
Someone trying to steal a Ram pickup from a shipping yard for Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, which produces the popular Ram 1500 pickup, struck a police car during a failed heist attempt of multiple trucks early Tuesday morning.

The suspects also rammed an exit and entry gate as they tried to flee the secured lot in the 7500 block of 17 Mile Road but were unable to get out, Sterling Heights police said in a news release, noting that no one was injured

Nine people were arrested, police said Tuesday afternoon, upping the total from seven, which was provided earlier in the day. Sterling Heights detectives are investigating to determine whether the group has been involved in other incidents, according to Sterling Heights Police Lt. Mario Bastianelli.

The incident happened about 4:45 a.m. and was reported by security. Officers from Sterling Heights, Troy, Utica, Warren and Clinton and Shelby townships responded.

Stellantis, the company that owns the Ram Trucks brand, along with Jeep, Chrysler and Dodge, said it is working with police and other law enforcement agencies regarding the attempted thefts, noting that the shipping yard is managed by a third party.

The company called it an open investigation and said it is not providing any more details, according to a statement from spokeswoman Ann Marie Fortunate.

Anyone with information is asked to call the police detective bureau at 586-446-2825

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Discussion Starter · #153 ·
Thieves Hit Ram Truck Factory, Again

Steven Symes
Thu, January 26, 2023

Why does this keep happening?

Stellantis should look at beefing up security for the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, especially after thieves hit the place again, this time in the early morning hours on January 17. At least this time the 9 suspects didn’t get away with any vehicles. But if past behavior is a good predictor of future behavior, we don’t need to wait long for another heist to be pulled off.

According to Sterling Heights Police, one of the stolen Ram trucks hit a police car during the failed theft. The suspects used two others to ram (pun fully intended) the entry and exit gates, however that didn’t work.

An image of one of the trucks used to ram through one of the gates was posted to Facebook by Macomb County Scanner. It looks like the maneuver triggered a pop-up barrier which stopped the Ram dead in its tracks, so perhaps Stellantis has upgraded security since the last heist.
After the unsuccessful heist, 9 suspects were arrested, say police. Detectives are now looking to see if the group might have committed other thefts, something which is probably pretty likely. We know at the very least the person or people who trained and send these thieves are responsible for quite a few stolen cars in the area. Most of these car theft rings also like to recruit children, which is probably why we’re not getting details about the suspects.

Back on January 14, a Livingston County Sheriff’s deputy pulled over a Ram truck which had been stolen from the Sterling Heights storage lot. However, Ram trucks aren’t the only vehicles thieves are targeting in factory storage lots. Flat Rock Assembly is another popular target, with thieves swiping Shelby GT500s multiple times, leading police on high-speed chases. The same thing has happened with Camaros stolen from Lansing Grand River Assembly.

Source: Detroit Free Press, Macomb County Scanner

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Discussion Starter · #154 ·
Stellantis workers to receive up to $14,760 in profit sharing

Stellantis UAW-Represented Employees to Receive 2022 Profit Sharing Payments

February 22, 2023 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - As a result of the company’s financial performance in 2022, Stellantis announced today that the eligible profit sharing amount of $14,760 will be paid to UAW-represented employees on March 10, 2023. Actual payments will be based on individual compensated hours. Approximately 40,500 employees are eligible to receive the payment.

“The significant contributions of our UAW-represented workforce enabled us to announce strong 2022 second half and full year financials today,” said Mark Stewart, Stellantis North America COO. “These results reflect the discipline and determination with which they have approached the new vision for our company. I am proud of what this team was able to achieve last year in spite of the challenges we continued to face.”

With this payment, U.S. hourly employees have received on average more than $74,220 in profit sharing since 2009 and $37,440 under the terms of the current labor agreement.

The 2022 profit sharing payment was calculated on the terms negotiated as part of the 2019 UAW-FCA Collective Bargaining Agreement, based on the year-end Adjusted EBIT margin of the North American region reported in the Stellantis N.V. year-end financial results.

Stellantis North America
Stellantis (NYSE: STLA) is one of the world’s leading automakers and a mobility provider. In North America, it's best known for producing and selling vehicles in a portfolio of iconic and award-winning brands such as Jeep®, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Alfa Romeo and Fiat. Powered by its diversity, Stellantis leads the way the region and the world move – aspiring to become the greatest sustainable mobility tech company, not the biggest, while creating added value for all stakeholders as well as the communities in which it operates. For more information, visit

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Discussion Starter · #155 ·
Illinois Jeep plant idling Tuesday will cost 1,200 jobs. Some an auto town will become a ghost town

Robert Channick, Chicago Tribune
Fri, February 24, 2023

BELVIDERE, Illinois — When the whistle blows at the Belvidere Assembly Plant on Tuesday, it may signal the end of an era.
For nearly six decades, the massive auto plant has been the economic engine of the small river city near Rockford, churning out everything from the Plymouth Fury and the Chrysler New Yorker to the Dodge Dart.
But after several years of downsizing and dwindling demand for its current product, the Jeep Cherokee, Stellantis is idling the plant “indefinitely,” laying off the last 1,200 workers and perhaps closing it for good.
“Everyone’s on edge,” said Kevin Logan, president of UAW Local 1268, which represents the remaining plant workers about to be laid off. “It’s going to be catastrophic for this community.”

The Belvidere plant became the exclusive home for the Jeep Cherokee in 2017. The region’s largest employer at its zenith, the plant had 5,464 workers on three shifts at the start of 2019, after building 270,000 of the SUVs during the previous year. But the plant has been in dramatic decline since then, slashing jobs and eliminating shifts as demand for its sole product waned.
Last year, Jeep Cherokee sales fell 55% to 40,322 vehicles, according to Stellantis.
Stellantis was created by the merger of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and Peugeot of France in January 2021. Like many automakers, Stellantis is gearing up to convert from combustion engines to electric vehicles. It is aiming to have EVs account for 50% of all U.S. sales by 2030.
Sources said Belvidere was lined up to transition to an electric vehicle plant, specifically the new STLA large EV platform for the next generation Charger and Challenger. Instead, Stellantis announced in June the vehicles will be built in Windsor, Ontario, dashing the hopes of Belvidere boosters and dealing a major blow to the state’s EV manufacturing ambitions.
Stellantis is also building a $5 billion battery plant in Windsor.
“It was a big slap in the face,” said Logan, a lifelong Belvidere resident and 29-year plant veteran. “They were dangling the carrot in front of us and pulled it away. I rack my brain several times every day, driving myself crazy trying to figure out what is the fate of this facility, why is the company doing this and what is their endgame.”
In December, Stellantis announced the indefinite layoffs and the plant idling. The final shift is scheduled to punch out Feb. 28, the 5-million-square-foot auto plant will go dark and Belvidere will face an uncertain future.
For Belvidere, a city of 25,000 rising up from farm fields about 75 miles northwest of Chicago, the fear is palpable.
“Everyone’s talking, ‘is it going to be a ghost town in Belvidere?’ ” said Patty Ibraimi, owner of Uncle John’s Family Restaurant, a longtime local gathering spot. “It’s definitely going to be an issue if they don’t reopen.”
Most of the workers at the Belvidere plant are hourly employees who could be eligible for a combination of state unemployment and supplemental unemployment benefits. There will be no severance package, but Stellantis will “make every effort to place indefinitely laid off employees in open full-time positions as they become available,” Stellantis spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said in an email.
That could mean uprooting for plants in Ohio, Michigan or points more distant. Workers who decline the transfer offer lose all their unemployment benefits, retaining only their seniority if Belvidere reopens under Stellantis, Logan said.
Those terms were part of a four-year UAW contract set to expire in September. Stellantis can’t permanently close the Belvidere plant until then, potentially leaving the laid-off workforce in limbo until the automaker decides its fate.
Stellantis could use Belvidere as a bargaining chip in union negotiations by agreeing to put a product back in the plant in return for other concessions, according to industry analysts. That vehicle is unlikely to be the next-generation Jeep Cherokee, which is headed to the Stellantis plant in Toluca, Mexico, said Sam Fiorani, vice president of global vehicle forecasting at AutoForecast Solutions, a Pennsylvania-based research firm.
The Toluca plant is also home to the Jeep Compass, which moved there from Belvidere in 2017 to make way for the Cherokee. Stellantis would not confirm where the Cherokee will be built going forward.
“We will make an announcement regarding the next generation Jeep Cherokee in due course,” Tinson said.
Fiorani said Belvidere will likely remain idle until at least September. Down the road, Fiorani sees a dearth of products that could go to the Belvidere plant after it missed out on the STLA EV platform.
Belvidere is the only one of a dozen Stellantis plants in North America without a product in the pipeline, Fiorani said. All of the plants, he said, will eventually produce EVs.
Stellantis provided a glimpse of that EV future at the Chicago Auto Show in February, where the Dodge Charger Daytona SRT EV concept car was on display along with the last of Charger and Challenger gas-powered muscle cars.
The Illinois auto manufacturing industry also includes Ford’s Chicago Assembly Plant, the Rivian EV plant in Normal and Lion Electric, a startup building EV buses and trucks in Joliet, as well as a handful of parts suppliers.
The state has been aggressively pursuing EV development, enacting legislation in an effort to get manufacturers and suppliers to locate in Illinois, with decidedly mixed results. It has been lobbying hard for Stellantis to electrify the Belvidere plant.
Seeing the Stellantis EV platform, thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment head to Canada while Belvidere sits idle was not part of the state’s development playbook.
“I certainly don’t like the idea of an indefinitely idled plant,” said Dan Seals, CEO of Intersect Illinois, the state’s public-private economic development arm. “I want them to be able to retool it and use it for EVs. Just having it sit there out of use, that’s the worst outcome from my perspective.”
Seals said Stellantis is “still trying to figure out if there’s an option” to power up the Belvidere plant after it closes in March. He cited the existing workforce, infrastructure and cost efficiencies of converting it to an EV plant as a compelling case for Stellantis, or another automaker.
The state has already received an inquiry from a site consultant, Seals said.
“I think you’re going to find a lot of interest in that site,” Seals said. “There’s a lot of demand for sites just like the one that we’ve got in Belvidere.”
Illinois is beefing up its financial incentives to lure or keep automakers in the state in the wake of Stellantis’ decision to idle the plant.
In February, Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed the Invest in Illinois Act, which created a $400 million “closing fund” to incentivize EV manufacturers and other businesses to locate, expand or remain in the state through favorable financing.
The 2021 Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois Act incentivizes EV manufacturers to locate in the state through tax credits. The legislation was amended in December — 10 days after Stellantis announced it was idling the Belvidere plant — upping the incentive to 75% of state income tax for automakers that retain employees as they transition to EV production.
Last month, the legislation was renamed the Reimagining Energy and Vehicles in Illinois Act and expanded to incorporate renewable energy projects.
Illinois is still lagging behind neighboring states such as Michigan, which approved a $1 billion economic incentive fund in December 2021 aimed at EV manufacturing development. Last year, Michigan attracted more than $14 billion in electric vehicle and battery investments, according to the state.
“The incentive conversation is one place where we’re at a disadvantage,” Seals said. “But at the end of the day, incentives are just one of many factors about why a company locates.”
The center of the Illinois EV ecosystem is Rivian, which bought an idled Mitsubishi plant for $16 million in 2017, completed a $1.2 billion renovation and breathed new life into Normal, a college town about 130 miles south of Chicago.
California-based Rivian launched production in September 2021. It now has 7,000 employees building an electric pickup truck, SUV and Amazon delivery van in a formerly vacant, 3.3 million-square-foot auto plant.
Rivian has struggled to ramp up production, narrowly missing a downwardly revised target of 25,000 vehicles last year. It had 114,000 electric pickup trucks and SUVs on back order as of November.
Canadian EV truck manufacturer Lion Electric invested $70 million to convert a 900,000-square-foot Joliet warehouse into a factory to produce up to 20,000 electric commercial trucks and buses a year. The first EV school bus rolled off the line in November, and the company has more than 2,000 on order, Lion spokesman Brian Alexander said.
Lion, which is in line to receive $7.9 million in state tax credits if it meets investment and job creation goals, has about 100 employees, with plans to hire 1,000 workers as it ramps up to full capacity over the next four years, Alexander said.
“We expect it to be the largest dedicated medium- and heavy-duty EV truck manufacturing facility in the country,” Alexander said.
It remains to be seen whether the Belvidere Assembly Plant will undergo a similar EV transformation under Stellantis — or another automaker — after the factory goes dark in March.
For Belvidere, industrial roots run as deep as the abundant farm fields that surround it. Beyond a quaint downtown straddling the Kishwaukee River, where colorful murals adorn the sides of its brick buildings, a factory has long loomed large.
Belvidere’s previous manufacturing giant, the National Sewing Machine Co., set up shop in 1886 and was one of the region’s largest employers for more than half a century, with about 2,000 workers at its peak. It closed in 1957 and most of the expansive factory, which took up 26 acres, including an iconic tower and foundry, was demolished.
“The factory was huge,” said Anna Pivoras, executive director of the Boone County Museum of History in downtown Belvidere. “There’s only just a couple of vestiges left of it.”
In 1965, Chrysler turned Belvidere into an auto town when it opened the assembly plant, with a white Plymouth Fury II sedan the first vehicle to roll off the line. Over the years, the plant was retooled several times, making everything from the compact Dodge Neon to the full-size Chrysler New Yorker.
During Chrysler’s bankruptcy in 2009, the plant was down to 200 employees before Fiat and a government bailout rescued it and the company.
By 2012, fresh off a $700 million investment to gear up for production of the Dodge Dart, Fiat Chrysler’s chairman, Sergio Marchionne, visited the plant to announce the addition of a third shift and 1,800 workers.
The plant’s future seemed secure when it became the exclusive home for the Jeep Cherokee in 2017. It was soon hitting on all cylinders, with more than 5,000 workers building 270,000 of the SUVs in 2018.

But Fiat Chrysler eliminated the third shift in 2019, downsizing 1,400 workers out of a job amid declining demand for the Cherokee. Then the pandemic hit, disrupting production with closures and supply chain issues.

Stellantis took the keys to the factory at the start of 2021. The plant was mostly closed from March through October of that year due to the semiconductor shortage. When production resumed in November, the plant was down to one shift and about 2,100 employees.

The ranks were thinned by smaller cuts last year, dwindling to 1,350 workers before Stellantis announced the indefinite idling in December.

Within days, that employee count will be zero.

Pam Lopez-Fettes, executive director of Growth Dimensions, the economic development organization for Belvidere and Boone County, said about 2,000 jobs will be lost from the plant’s idling, including layoffs at nearby suppliers such as Syncreon.

The impact, she said, will stretch far beyond Belvidere, with the workforce coming from a 70-mile radius.

While she is hopeful that Stellantis, or another automaker, will restart the auto plant, she believes the area is less dependent on the plant than it used to be.

“Belvidere, Boone County has diversified,” Lopez-Fettes said. “We have very strong distribution and logistics that’s growing, and we also have food processing that is growing.”

In the broader Rockford region, the aerospace industry is now the largest employer, followed by logistics and advanced manufacturing. Lopez-Fettes said she has already been contacted by a number of area manufacturing businesses looking to hire displaced autoworkers.

The imminent plant idling is nonetheless causing some anxiety at Uncle John’s Family Restaurant, a Belvidere fixture since 1992.

“We all thrive on that huge plant,” said Ibraimi, 46, who grew up in Belvidere and began working at her family-owned restaurant when she was a teenager. “They’re a big part of the community, we have a lot of people that work there. When they’re working, they’re eating, they’re going out. And for them to close completely, it’s devastation for the town and the businesses.”

The restaurant launched just before the Plymouth and Dodge Neon in 1994, which boosted employment and created a steady base of customers for the restaurant. Business slowed during the Great Recession, and whenever the plant was down for retooling

The arrival of the Jeep Cherokee in 2017 was a boon for Boone County and the restaurant, which completed an extensive remodeling last summer. Then came the December plant idling announcement from Stellantis.

“We’re already feeling it a little bit because they’re getting ready to close,” Ibraimi said. “We have regulars that work there, but you’re not seeing them as much. They know they’re getting ready to get laid off.”

One of those getting laid off is Ibraimi’s brother, a 20-year plant veteran who left the family restaurant business for a job on the assembly line. In a city of 25,000, it’s hard to find someone who isn’t related to a current or former worker at the auto plant.

While Belvidere and the state’s economic development organizations continue to make the case for Stellantis to turn the lights back on at the plant, the company remains noncommittal.

“The company is working to identify other opportunities to repurpose the Belvidere facility,” Tinson said. “We have nothing to announce at this time.”

Inside the Boone County Museum of History is a white, four-door Plymouth Fury II sedan. Cordoned off by a white chain stanchion, a large sign proudly proclaims the rear-wheel drive sedan the “1st Car Built Here.”

The car, which carried a sticker price of $3,206.90 — including extras such as an AM radio, an electric clock and undercoating — was minted July 7, 1965.

“The Plymouth Fury is the first car off the assembly line,” said museum director Pivoras. “It is the most popular artifact in our entire museum — we’ve had people travel here just to see it. It’ll always be here.”

Many locals are hoping it won’t be joined by a Jeep Cherokee circa February 28, 2023, as the last vehicle built in Belvidere.

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Discussion Starter · #156 ·
February 28, 2023

Stellantis Announces $155 Million Investment in Three Indiana Plants to Support North American Electrification Goals
Image of Stellantis Logo

  • Company to localize production of new electric drive module (EDM) in Kokomo
  • EDM provides all-in-one solution for electric vehicle powertrains, delivering improved performance at competitive cost
  • Investments to be made at Indiana Transmission, Kokomo Transmission and Kokomo Casting Plants
  • More than 265 jobs retained
  • Total investments in Indiana since 2020 to support electrification goals grow to nearly $3.3 billion, including gigafactory joint venture with Samsung SDI
  • Announcement aligns with Company’s long-term strategy to reach 50% U.S. battery electric vehicle sales by 2030, starting with the first fully electric Ram vehicles from 2023 and Jeep from 2024
AMSTERDAM – Stellantis announced today that it will invest a total of $155 million in three Kokomo, Indiana, plants to produce new electric drive modules (EDM) that will help power future electric vehicles assembled in North America and support the goal of 50% battery electric sales in the U.S. by 2030.
With more than 25 battery electric vehicle (BEV) launches planned in the U.S. between now and 2030, the Kokomo-built EDM will be integrated into vehicles designed on the STLA Large and STLA Frame platforms. Offering an all-in-one solution for electric vehicle powertrains, the EDM consists of three main components – the electric motor, power electronics and transmission – that are combined into a single module to deliver improved performance and range at a competitive cost. The optimized efficiency of the new EDM will help each platform achieve driving range up to 500 miles (800 km).
“While we continue our successful transition to a decarbonized future in our European operations, we are now setting those same foundational elements for the North American market,” said Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO. “By combining the benefits of the EDM with our new BEV-centric platforms and innovative battery technologies, we will offer our customers a variety of electric vehicles with unparalleled performance and range at more affordable prices. And with our in-house manufacturing capabilities and expertise, we will do it with greater flexibility and efficiency.”
Investments will be made at the Indiana Transmission, Kokomo Transmission and Kokomo Casting Plants. The gearbox cover will be cast at Kokomo Casting and machined at Kokomo Transmission. Gear machining and final assembly will be at the Indiana Transmission Plant. Production is expected to start in the third quarter of 2024, following retooling.
With the investment, more than 265 jobs will be retained across all three plants.
“With more than 7,000 employees in Indiana, these investments will leverage the core manufacturing competencies of the local workforce in the areas of casting, machining and assembly, all of which will be needed even as the market transitions to an electrified future,” said Mark Stewart, Stellantis North America COO. “The city of Kokomo and the state of Indiana have been great partners for many years. This community will continue to play a central role in our efforts to provide safe, clean and affordable mobility solutions for our customers long into the future.”
Since 2020, Stellantis has invested nearly $3.3 billion in Indiana to support its transition to electrification. This includes recent announcements of $643 million to produce a new engine for conventional and PHEV applications, a next generation eight-speed transmission and a gigafactory joint venture with Samsung SDI.
In total, these investments support Stellantis’ ambition to achieve carbon net zero by 2038, as set out in its Dare Forward 2030 strategic plan.
Stellantis in Indiana
Stellantis currently operates five powertrain plants in Indiana – three transmission plants, a casting plant and an engine plant. The portfolio of transmissions includes six-, eight- and nine-speed transmissions, as well as the SiEVT transmission for the Chrysler Pacifica plug-in hybrid electric minivan, built at the Windsor Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada. The casting plant produces aluminum parts for automotive components, transmission and transaxle cases, and engine block castings. The engine plant produces the GMET4 – the Company’s 2.0-liter Global Medium Engine inline four-cylinder turbo.

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Discussion Starter · #157 ·
Stellantis and Samsung SDI's Kokomo Gigafactory Marks Construction Milestone
  • First piece of steel raised
  • Beam signed by joint venture management team and Kokomo mayor
  • Companies announced investment commitment of $2.5 billion (€2.3 billion) in May 2022
  • New electric-vehicle battery manufacturing facility to create 1,400 new jobs
  • Expected to launch in first quarter of 2025
March 22, 2023 , Kokomo, Ind. - Stellantis and Samsung SDI marked a milestone today in the construction of their joint venture electric-vehicle battery manufacturing facility in Kokomo, Indiana, with the raising of the first piece of steel that will form the structure of the new gigafactory.

Members of the JV’s management team, Kokomo Mayor Tyler Moore, President/CEO of the Greater Kokomo Economic Development Alliance Lori Dukes and the group's Economic Development Advisor Charlie Sparks, former Howard County Commissioner Paul Wyman and Senior Vice President Business Development with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation Brock Herr commemorated the occasion by signing the first steel beam.

The two companies announced the formation of the joint venture in May 2022, committing to invest more than $2.5 billion (€2.3 billion) and create 1,400 new jobs in Kokomo and the surrounding areas. The investment could gradually increase up to $3.1 billion (€2.9 billion).

Targeted to launch in the first quarter of 2025, the plant aims to have an initial annual production capacity of 23 gigawatt-hours (GWh), with an aim to increase to 33 GWh in the next few years. The new facility will supply battery modules for a range of vehicles produced at Stellantis’ North America assembly plants.

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Discussion Starter · #158 ·
Stellantis Windsor Assembly Plant Recognized for Environmental Excellence by Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC)
  • Stellantis Windsor Assembly Plant (WAP) designated as Gold Certified by Wildlife Habitat Council for demonstrating commitment to environmental stewardship
  • WAP currently engaged in 15 environmentally friendly and sustainability projects that were scored in five categories
  • Certified Gold designation adds to recent accolades awarded to the plant on behalf of the WHC:
    • 2021 WHC Ibis Award
    • 2022 Conservation Certification for Turkey Creek Cleanup on World Environment Day
March 22, 2023 , Windsor, Ontario - The Stellantis Windsor (Ontario) Assembly Plant (WAP) has been recognized for its commitment to environmental stewardship, achieving Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) Conservation Gold Certification through 15 different environmental projects at the facility in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.

Windsor Assembly Plant was designated as Certified Gold, signifying leadership amongst the more than 600 members of the WHC Conservation Certification programs. Awarded every two years, the environmental excellence honours are given at Certified, Silver or Gold designations. The plant and its employees received a combined score of 446 points for their efforts – far exceeding the required Gold tier minimum of 262 points – for projects in the following categories: Awareness and Community Engagement, Forested, Landscaped, Grassland, Training and Wetlands/Water Bodies Programs.

Included among the environmental outreach programs conducted by employees and members of the Stellantis and Unifor Local 444 Windsor Assembly Plant Joint Workplace Committee were environmental artwork events, planting trees on plant property and tidying the conservation area located around the facility.

“We are honoured to be recognized by the Wildlife Habitat Council in recognition for our ongoing efforts to promote a positive and sustainable environmental impact throughout the local community,” said Dave Bellaire, Windsor Assembly Plant manager. “I am proud of the dedication and leadership shown by our employees and the Unifor Local 444 Joint Workplace Committee. Recognition from esteemed organizations such as the WHC demonstrates we are helping make a difference.”

“The Stellantis Windsor Assembly Plant is recognized as meeting the strict requirements of WHC Conservation Certification,” said Margaret O’Gorman, president, WHC. “Companies achieving WHC Conservation Certification, like the Stellantis Windsor Assembly Plant, are environmental leaders, voluntarily managing their lands to support sustainable ecosystems and the communities that surround them.”

The Certified Gold status recognition builds on recent accolades bestowed on the plant by the WHC. In 2021, the plant was the recipient of the WHC Ibis Award. It recognizes a WHC-certified program that has demonstrated resilience of spirit and advancement of conservation despite lockdowns, quarantines and additional government-mandated regulations during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022, the plant was also recognized with Conservation Certification by the WHC for promoting environmental sustainability within the local community where dozens of employee volunteers participated in a cleanup of Turkey Creek, located adjacent to the facility in observance of World Environment Day.

Wildlife Habitat Council
Wildlife Habitat Council promotes and certifies habitat conservation and management on corporate lands through partnerships and education. WHC Conservation Certification programs take corporate sustainability goals and objectives and translate them into tangible and measurable on-the-ground actions. Through a focus on building collaboration for conservation with corporate employees, other conservation organizations, government agencies and community members, WHC programs focus on healthy ecosystems and connected communities. WHC-assisted wildlife habitat and conservation education programs are found in 48 states and 24 countries.

Stellantis North America
Stellantis (NYSE: STLA) is one of the world’s leading automakers and a mobility provider. In North America, it's best known for producing and selling vehicles in a portfolio of iconic and award-winning brands such as Jeep®, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Alfa Romeo and Fiat. Powered by its diversity, Stellantis leads the way the region and the world move – aspiring to become the greatest sustainable mobility tech company, not the biggest, while creating added value for all stakeholders as well as the communities in which it operates. For more information, visit

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Discussion Starter · #159 ·
Washington Post
Electric cars are creating a new economy - and leaving some towns behind

  • 2/6
    Electric cars are creating a new economy - and leaving some towns behind

  • 2/6
    Electric cars are creating a new economy - and leaving some towns behind

Wed, March 22, 2023

BELVIDERE, Ill. - Early last year, workers at a Jeep factory here hoped their plant would be converted to an electric vehicle facility as the auto industry revamps for a green-energy future. Engineers came to take measurements for a possible retooling, and rumors spread that electric sports cars were on the agenda.
But those hopes crumbled last month when the corporate parent company, Stellantis, ended production at the 58-year-old plant and laid off roughly 1,200 workers, ripping the heart out of this small town 70 miles northwest of Chicago.

The decision, now causing knock-on layoffs and lost business at local auto-parts suppliers, restaurants and shops, shows the dark side of the zero-emissions economy the Biden administration is championing with tens of billions of dollars of taxpayer-funded subsidies. Even as many communities will be transformed by the federally backed push to produce electric cars, batteries and solar panels, some will get left behind.

"Whenever you turn the ship . . . you're going to have casualties. Unfortunately the casualties are going to be our employees and our community," Belvidere Mayor Clinton Morris said in an interview.
Federal subsidies for electric vehicles aren't the only reason automakers are going green. But since federal officials have "put their finger on the scale" in favor of EVs, they should be doing more to lessen collateral damage for towns like Belvidere, Morris added. "If they're going to weigh in on that, they should weigh in on how they're going to help employees here and keep them in the community."

As it embarks on its biggest retooling in a century, the auto industry has announced more than $70 billion of EV investments in the United States alone. That spending is already creating new pockets of prosperity in many parts of the country - and apprehension in the long-standing auto-manufacturing communities whose fates aren't yet certain.
Protecting jobs in the EV transition will be a top concern for the United Auto Workers union as it enters negotiations with Ford, General Motors and Stellantis this year for new multiyear labor contracts. Particularly vulnerable are the jobs and Midwestern communities that manufacture the gas-powered engines and transmissions not needed in an EV.
White-collar workers also face uncertainty. General Motors in recent weeks began offering buyouts to its U.S. salaried employees as it trims costs to pay for the EV transition.
In a recent meeting with Stellantis chief executive Carlos Tavares, Biden's climate adviser, Ali Zaidi, encouraged the auto company to apply for federal funds to help repurpose the Belvidere factory, according to a White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private meeting. Stellantis spokeswoman Jodi Tinson declined to comment.
"The president foresaw that this inevitable transition is going to pose challenges for some firms, workers and communities and that is why his agenda has specific programs to help communities," Celeste Drake, deputy director of the National Economic Council, said by email. The programs include $2 billion in the Inflation Reduction Act for retooling auto factories and Department of Energy loans for clean-energy projects, she said.

Earlier this month, signs of the unease to come were on display in the UAW parking lot in Belvidere, where laid-off workers filed in and out of meetings to decipher their fate. Some with enough seniority can retire early with their pension benefits. Others can request a transfer to another plant out of state. Most complained that Stellantis was providing minimal information about their options.
"They ain't telling us nothing," Alex Lerma, a 26-year veteran with the company, said as he hurried into the building to fill out forms. "I'm going to have to move to Ohio or Michigan - it's not clear."
"We got passed over," another worker muttered as he rushed by.

Aaron and Sonja Penrod, a married couple, face the possibility of being split up as Sonja pursues early retirement and Aaron considers seeking a transfer to Detroit. Sonja has enough years under her belt to get her pension, but Aaron needs three more before he's eligible.

Sonja moved to Indiana and then Illinois to keep her job after Stellantis's predecessor company, Chrysler, closed a factory in St. Louis more than a decade ago, and she says she doesn't want to move to a new place again. So if Aaron heads to Detroit, she will probably retire to the farmhouse they own south of St. Louis.
"I will go visit [Aaron]. I will be in a different state, possibly 10 hours away," she said over chips and salsa at a local restaurant.
"I'll just go live in a little studio apartment somewhere till I get my time," Aaron said. It's not certain he will get a transfer, though - some of his friends who were laid off during an earlier downsizing at the factory two years ago still haven't been offered a job at another Stellantis plant, he said.

For now, they are part of a skeleton crew still working at the Belvidere factory, disassembling and boxing up equipment, a temporary gig that they expect will end soon. Stellantis has said it is "working to identify other opportunities to repurpose the Belvidere facility," but the Penrods see the dismantling of the machinery as a bad sign.
Also on the skeleton crew is Elise Smelser, a pipe fitter who grew up near the factory and began working there in 1999, training under the supervision of her father. Her parents, siblings and 17 nieces and nephews still live in the area and she doesn't want to leave, but at 50 she's too young to retire.
"I started grinding my teeth after they told us - like, during the day, not just at night when I sleep," said Smelser, who is dreading a transfer out of state. "All my family's here, and I have a house . . . plus I would go to a place where I'd be lucky to know, like, two or three people."

Sipping a drink at the Wild Cherries bar a day after attaching his last Jeep bumper, laid-off worker Jerome Davis said he was putting in for a transfer to Detroit, where he has family and even a house that his mother left him. He worries he'll get sent to Toledo instead, and overall he has "no desire to leave" Belvidere, he said.
Thanks to their union, the autoworkers have strong protections during layoffs, including months of severance pay and options for those with enough seniority to retire early with a pension. But the rest of Belvidere has far less of a safety net.

Wrapping up a slow lunch hour at their Mexican restaurant in Belvidere's quaint downtown, siblings Victor Hernandez Jr. and Iveeth Dominguez worried about losing their weekly lunch order from the factory. Every Friday they would deliver $500 or $600 worth of burritos to the plant: a good chunk of their revenue. Autoworkers have also been regular visitors to the restaurant, El Molcajete, since their father opened it in 1994.

Victor said their cousin worked at the auto factory until the last round of downsizing, when he got transferred to Detroit. He left his family behind at their house in Belvidere so his kids could stay in school, and he rents an apartment in Detroit.

"I think that's what a lot of people are doing. They still have their family here because this is where they grew up, this is where they are based. And then they're renting and they come back and forth," he said. The factory closing didn't just eliminate jobs, Victor added. "They're also taking the people away."

Around the corner at Buchanan Street Pub, bartender Toni Stumpf said she recently got a second job in a town half an hour away because business has slowed to a crawl in Belvidere. Lately she's been earning $60 to $80 in tips from an 11 a.m.-to-7 p.m. shift compared with $1oo to $200 in better times.

Her usual customers "don't have that spending money," she said. "They've got enough money from unemployment to pay their bills, hopefully, you know, but they don't have fun money."

Across the street from a giant mural of Belvidere's most famous daughter, the Chicago architect and MacArthur Fellow Jeanne Gang, a local barbershop stood empty on a recent afternoon. Owner James Emanuel said the town has other employers to fall back on, including General Mills, which manufactures granola bars and other foods in Belvidere and recently opened a giant distribution center.

Still, the Stellantis shutdown is "definitely going to have an effect on the community, and not just Belvidere," he said. "It's going to be Rockford. It's going to be southern Wisconsin."

After days of back-to-back meetings with union members, Kevin Logan, president of UAW Local 1268, spoke with The Washington Post about the shutdown and the "mixed emotions" he has about the electric transition.

"We've got to do something to reduce the emissions and everything for the environment," he said from the empty union hall as night fell outside. But the job losses worry him, along with the lack of charging infrastructure. "I wish that we would, as a company or as a country, slowly go into it. . . . I just think it's happening so quickly."

Logan, who worked at the factory for more than 10 years before switching to union work, said he plans to pursue early retirement to keep his family rooted in the Belvidere area. But for the past several days he'd heard story after story of workers who faced tougher decisions - spouses who didn't know whether they could get transferred to the same city, parents worried about leaving high school kids behind in Belvidere, and workers who are caring for an elderly parent.

He also worries about the town's tax base and ability to maintain services.

"Is the school going to start laying off teachers? You know, enrollment is probably going to go down in schools if people are moving away," he said. "Could that be a trickle-down where police start laying people off? And then does crime pick back up? It's just a ripple effect throughout the whole community, and it's going to devastate this area."


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Discussion Starter · #160 ·
Michigan set to fine Stellantis' Warren truck plant over pollution violations
Carol Thompson
The Detroit News

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Michigan environmental regulators are pursuing fines against Stellantis because of repeated air quality violations at the company's Warren Truck Assembly plant.
The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy has issued the plant four violation notices since it started operating in February 2021 with a new air permit after the automaker put in a new paint shop.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV used to operate the factory until it merged with French automaker Groupe PSA in early 2021 to become Stellantis NV. The Warren plant underwent a $1.5 billion update to bring the assembly of the new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs to the site alongside the Ram Classic pickup trucks.
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