DETROIT — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Friday said it was moving forward with a $1.6 billion plan to open a second Jeep assembly plant in Detroit after the city finished acquiring about 215 acres the automaker needed for the project.
Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan said the city is contributing $50.6 million toward land deals worth $107.6 million so that FCA can reopen and expand an idled engine plant to produce the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee and a three-row Jeep SUV. Key to the deal was a $43.5 million payment the city negotiated for 82 acres owned by the same family that sold Detroit's abandoned Michigan Central Station to Ford Motor Co. last year.
The new Jeep plant is the centerpiece of a $4.5 billion investment to retool and modernize several assembly sites in southeastern Michigan, including enhancements for production of electrified vehicles. But to open that plant, FCA in February said it needed the city to assemble the necessary land, and the company set a 60-day deadline of April 27. The city was still finalizing details as the deadline passed, and Duggan announced Friday afternoon that all of the necessary deals were in place.
"It was an extraordinary leap of faith by [FCA CEO] Mike Manley and the entire FCA team," Duggan said at a news conference. "Think about the implications to FCA. If we had come up short, they would have lost an entire year in their schedule if they had to start from scratch."