DETROIT — In the first big product revamp under CEO Mike Manley, FCA US will invest $2.5 billion to produce two all-new Jeep models, as well as the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee, and continue production of the Dodge Durango SUV and Ram Classic pickup.
One of the new Jeeps planned will reintroduce the Jeep Wagoneer nameplate and a higher trim level, the Grand Wagoneer. They would be designed, engineered and marketed much like GMC's Yukon and Yukon Denali SUVs.
The other new Jeep will likely be an ultraluxury, three-row SUV to compete with the Range Rover, Cadillac Escalade and other large, upscale SUVs.
FCA said Tuesday it will also add electrified powertrains to four Jeep vehicles. The new and redesigned products planned are part of a $4.5 billion investment in five plants in Michigan.
"Three years ago, FCA set a course to grow our profitability based on the strength of the Jeep and Ram brands by realigning our U.S. manufacturing operations," Manley said in a statement. "Today's announcement represents the next step in that strategy. It allows Jeep to enter two white space segments that offer significant margin opportunities and will enable new electrified Jeep products, including at least four plug-in hybrid vehicles and the flexibility to produce fully battery-electric vehicles."
FCA officials have been eager to expand the Jeep brand upmarket with bigger and more luxurious models after moving the brand into smaller segments such as subcompact crossovers with the Renegade.
The announcement also points to a better future for Dodge, which will get to keep its large three-row crossover, the Durango, for another generation.
FCA executives had previously expressed a preference for a three-row unibody Grand Cherokee — carrying a much more lucrative Jeep badge — under what was then constrained production capacity. The Grand Cherokee and Durango are both built at FCA's Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit. With the addition of a new assembly plant nearby, FCA will have adequate capacity to build both a three-row unibody Jeep and a three-row unibody Dodge.