BELVIDERE, Ill. — The holiday season was in full swing when Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker made a stop at the UAW Local 1268 hall here in mid-December to meet with union officials. The agenda was anything but cheerful.
Stellantis had announced the week before, on Dec. 9, that it was idling its Belvidere Assembly Plant, production site of the Jeep Cherokee, at the end of February. The factory, one of the region's economic pillars that has served as a lifeline for generations of workers since opening in 1965, has been on shaky footing in recent years with frequent downtime and layoffs.
Now Belvidere is in limbo amid an industrywide transition to electric vehicles that Illinois is looking to capitalize on. In December, Pritzker signed an amendment to the Reimagining Electric Vehicles in Illinois Act that expanded the tax incentives available for automakers to retool plants for EV production. The REV Illinois Act, which became law in November 2021, aims to help the state reach its goal of having 1 million EVs on the road by 2030.