Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (FCAU) is planning to reopen one of its factories in Detroit to build its Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. The company is seeing good sales for SUVs and trucks and plans to focus more on utility vehicles for growth.
The plant, which was closed around six years ago, will now be used to build SUVs in order to meet the strong demand for these vehicles. Production will reportedly start by 2020. However, Fiat has provided no official confirmation for these plans.
This news comes at a time when Fiat’s peers are cutting jobs and announcing restructurings even as President Donald Trump is urging companies to increase production and create more jobs in the US. General Motors (GM) is still dealing with the aftermath of its recent decision to cut 15% of its workforce and close five of its facilities in North America.
This decision includes the closures of two of GM’s plants in Detroit, both of which were said to have been operating under capacity. GM opted for the restructuring to focus more on the profitable areas of its business and to do away with the weaker parts. Economic weakness and trade tensions were also said to have played a part in GM’s decision.
GM’s CEO Mary Barra met with Congress members who questioned the company’s decisions. The GM chief defended the actions as necessary for long-term growth. Barra promised to keep an open mind but did not make any solid commitment with regards to the company’s plans.
Fiat’s shares have dropped 12% so far this year while GM’s shares have fallen 14%. As of 11:40 am ET, Fiat’s stock was down 1.9% while GM’s stock was down 1.8%.