Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said it will spend $1.05 billion to prepare two U.S. factories to produce a pair of Jeep sport utility vehicles, creating a total of about 1,000 jobs.
The investments include $700 million in Toledo, Ohio, and $350 million in Belvidere, Illinois, the company’s FCA US unit said in a statement Thursday. The Toledo North plant, which will build the next-generation Jeep Wrangler, will add about 700 jobs, the company said. At the Illinois facility, the automaker plans to increase the workforce by about 300 people as Belvidere takes over output of the Jeep Cherokee from Toledo.
Jeep has been the driving force in Fiat Chrysler’s steady increase in U.S. sales. The brand’s deliveries in the first half climbed 17% from a year earlier and accounted for 41% of the 1.15 million cars and light trucks that the automaker sold in the U.S. Fiat Chrysler said that retooling the two plants will “support the future growth of the Jeep brand.”
Belvidere now makes the Dodge Dart small car and the Jeep Compass and Patriot models. That production will end in September and December, respectively, and output of the Cherokee will begin next year, the company said. Fiat Chrysler didn’t say when the Toledo North factory will start building the revamped Wrangler.
The automaker said the plans are subject to formal approval of state and local incentives. Fiat Chrysler said that since 2009, it has announced investments of more than $6.8 billion and added more than 23,500 jobs in its U.S. operations.