FCA reconsiders plan to move all Ram production to Mich.

Keith Laing
The Detroit News

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is reconsidering its plan to move all production of its Ram heavy-duty pickups to Michigan from Mexico, despite the fact that President Donald Trump has touted the move as a sign of the effectiveness of his international trade policies. 

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, maker of the Ram pickups, joined rival Ford Motor Co. in opposing a Trump administration plan to ease gas mileage rules.

FCA CEO Mike Manley said in an interview with Reuters that he is reconsidering a previously announced plan to move production of Ram heavy-duty pickups from a plant in Saltillo, Mexico, to the Italian-American automaker's Warren Truck Assembly Plant.

Manley said FCA needs to produce the trucks in both places to gain market share on its rivals in the hotly contested pickup segment. 

“We need to get ourselves into second” place, Manley, who took over in July shortly before the company's former chief Sergio Marchionne died, told Reuters. “Frankly, I don’t care which of the two I take share from.”

Trump has touted FCA's previous announcement about the relocation of Ram production to the U.S. on multiple occasions. 

"Chrysler is moving a massive plant from Mexico to Michigan, reversing a years long opposite trend. Thank you Chrysler, a very wise decision," Trump tweeted on Jan. 11. "The voters in Michigan are very happy they voted for Trump/Pence. Plenty of more to follow!" 

FCA said in a statement to The Detroit News that Manley's comments reflect a desire to expand Ram production in both places. 

“Moving the Ram Heavy Duty to Warren from Mexico is our plan of record," the company said. "Of course we always assess latest market and economic conditions when making significant industrial moves.”

The United Auto Workers declined to comment.

The potential reversal comes as the Trump administration is looking for congressional approval of a new trade deal with Canada and Mexico to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement. The proposed new deal, known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, calls for increasing from 62.5 percent to 75 percent the percentage of a car's parts that have to come from one of the three countries to qualify for duty-free treatment.


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Twitter: @Keith_Laing