Italian-American automaker Fiat Chrysler will build a new vehicle in its Saltillo plant starting in 2020, the CEO of Chrysler México confirmed yesterday.
In a radio interview, Bruno Cattori said that production of a commercial vehicle for the company’s subsidiary Ram Trucks (RAM) would begin in its Coahuila facility following a factory repurposing.
News of the company’s plans comes after an announcement Thursday that production of its heavy-duty pickup truck would shift from Mexico to Michigan in the United States, also starting in 2020.
However, the company maintained that decision would not lead to any job losses or plant closures in Mexico and reaffirmed its commitment to manufacture vehicles here. Yesterday’s announcement adds credence to that position.
Fiat Chrysler had a good year in Mexico in 2017, breaking its own production records by making 638,000 vehicles and 1.2 million engines. But Cattori believes that 2018 will be even better.
“I believe that we are going to exceed that figure. Our commitment to and production in Mexico is continuing and this is simply a change to manufacture another product, as we have done many times,” he said.
The CEO said the company has five plants and almost 10,000 employees in the region and that repurposing the plant to manufacture the new vehicle will attract additional investment.
The governor of Coahuila also pledged his support for the ongoing viability of the automotive industry in the state.
“Without a doubt, the production of the RAM here in Coahuila is emblematic. We will continue to generate the conditions so that all the assembly plants that depend in some way on the renegotiation of the free trade agreement [NAFTA] will have absolutely everything to continue benefiting,” Miguel Riquelme said.
Fiat Chrysler’s decision to move production of its pickup truck to Michigan was influenced by the possibility that it might have to pay a 25% duty on its Mexican-made exports if the United States withdraws from NAFTA. About 90% of its Saltillo-made pickups are sold in the U.S. and Canada.
However, Cattori asserted that Mexico remains a good base from which to export to the world.
“Mexico has become a global vehicle supplier because of the many treaties [it has] and I believe that works . . . for the [Fiat Chrysler] group,” he said.
Source: Milenio (sp)