Demand spurs most Fiat Chrysler plants to skip summer shutdown

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Most of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV's plants in North America will not shut down for a week or two this summer after idling for two months earlier this year because of the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The plants, which include Jefferson North Assembly in Detroit and Sterling Heights Assembly, will continue to run "in order to meet strong consumer demand," company spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said. The downtime usually offers the company the opportunity to retool the plant for the next model year, but many automakers are taking the time to catch up on production.

Most Fiat Chrysler plants will skip the usual summer shutdown, including the Sterling Heights facility that produces the Ram 1500 pickup.

Jefferson North makes the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs, and Sterling Heights produces the Ram 1500 pickup. The Jeep assembly complex in Toledo; car plant in Brampton, Ontario; and van and truck plants in Saltillo, Mexico, also will continue to operate.

Warren Truck, which builds the older model Ram Classic pickup, will go down the week of June 29 and stay closed through the end of September. The facility is undergoing a $1.5 billion renovation that includes a new paint shop to manufacture the reborn Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs.

Belvidere Assembly in Illinois making the Jeep Cherokee SUV will be down the week of Aug. 17. The Chrysler minivan plant in Ontario will be down the weeks of July 20 and 27. Toluca Assembly in Mexico, which makes the Jeep Compass and other crossovers, will begin a four-week model changeover on July 6.

Powertrain, stamping and component plants will align their work patterns to support the assembly production.

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble