Fiat Chrysler has begun construction on a $1.6-billion assembly plant on the site of its existing Mack Avenue Engine Plant in Detroit. The plant will produce the Jeep Grand Cherokee, a new Jeep SUV and hybrid automobiles. Contractor Walbridge Aldinger Co. referred all questions about the project to Fiat Chrysler, citing a nondisclosure agreement. Construction is anticipated to be completed by late 2020, and Fiat Chrysler said it expects to begin producing vehicles there for the 2021 model year. This investment gives Jeep the opportunity to enter two underserved segments that will offer significant margins, “and will enable new electrified Jeep products, including at least four plug-in hybrid vehicles and the flexibility to produce fully battery-electric vehicles,” says Mike Manley, chief executive officer of Fiat Chrysler. Fiat Chrysler’s nearby Jefferson North Assembly Plant will receive a $900-million modernization and retooling to build the Dodge Durango and another line for Jeep Grand Cherokees. Fiat Chrysler’s Warren, Mich., truck facility is getting a $1.5-million investment to produce the Jeep Grand Wagoneer.

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Automakers Adding More Production
GM Adding truck Capacity in fort Wayne and Flint

General Motors is investing $150 million in its Flint, Mich., assembly plant and $24 million in its Fort Wayne, Ind., plant to increase production of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickup trucks. “We are building Chevrolet and GMC crew cab pickups at record volume and mix levels to meet customer demand, and the $24 million investment will allow us to build even more,” says Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO. The investments in both plants will be in new conveyors and other tooling to support increased production.

Pepper Construction
Rolls-Royce, Indianapolis

Rolls-Royce is nearing completion of the $600-million modernization of its Indianapolis operations, where many of the facilities date to before World War II. The four-year revamp of the 397,000-acre campus includes a new 150,000-sq-ft rotatives factory, a turbines factory, an assembly and test facility, a materials research laboratory, two new cells used to test helicopter engines, and the Rolls-Royce Development Center. The company announced in February that it will compete for a $1-billion Air Force B-52 engine contract that will be awarded in 2020 based on upgrades made to its campus by contractor Pepper Construction.

Ford Motor Co., Allen Park

Construction has begun on Ghafari’s design of a $200-million Vehicle Performance and Electrification Center in Allen Park, Mich. The 210,000-sq-ft complex will have a rolling road wind tunnel, vehicle electrification laboratories, a climatic wind tunnel, labs and offices. Ghafari provided programming/planning, architecture, interior design, civil, structural, and process engineering services.

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