On one hand, U.S. auto sales are falling and anxieties are rising.
On the other hand, the industry is feeling a fresh wind of bullishness.
Automakers have announced a series of major investments to expand, restart or retool existing plants and hire more workers to boost production.
The projects are welcome news for suppliers and economic development officials in several locations, and hardly a sign of trouble ahead.
Among the recently announced plans:
- Ford Motor Co. will spend $1 billion at its operations in Chicago, constructing new body and paint shops at Chicago Assembly and redesigning its final assembly to prepare for three new SUVs. The project will include new lines at Chicago Stamping, and the hiring of 500 workers.
- Ford also said it will invest $900 million to prepare for electric and self-driving vehicle production in Michigan. That plan includes the construction of one plant and the expansion of capacity at the Flat Rock assembly plant.
- Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has earmarked $4.5 billion for a multiplant capital campaign around Michigan that will result in 6,500 additional jobs. The FCA plans include converting two old Detroit plants into a new assembly plant to produce the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee.
- General Motors caused concern in December when it revealed it will idle plants in Lordstown, Ohio; Michigan; Ontario; and Baltimore. But last month, GM said it will invest $300 million in its Orion Township., Mich., assembly plant to launch a Chevrolet electric car, requiring 400 new jobs. GM is also investing in a new engine for its Spring Hill, Tenn., plant where it is completing a $300 million project to add Cadillac production.
- GM also said in February that it will hire 1,000 new workers at its Flint, Mich., pickup plant.