Rebecca Cook | Reuters
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles assembly workers build 2019 Ram pickup trucks at the FCA Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, October 22, 2018.
Fiat Chrysler plans to open a new assembly factory in Detroit to build sport utility vehicles, people familiar with the matter told CNBC.
The move comes as all of Detroit’s Big Three automakers abandon sedan lines in favor of more popular and profitable SUVs and cross-over vehicles. The industry is also under pressure from President Donald Trump to keep manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
It also falls on the heels of General Motor’s surprise announcement last week that it was cutting 14,000 jobs in the U.S. and Canada, citing a weakening economy, trade war and desire to reposition itself as a smaller, more nimble company going forward.
Sales of SUVs and pickups have been one of Fiat Chrysler’s biggest areas of growth and kept it ahead of its U.S. rivals. Overall sales jumped 17 percent in November over the same month last year — fueled largely by its popular Jeep SUVs and Ram Trucks.
Ford’s sales, by comparison, dropped by about 7 percent in the same period.
Looking to enter the fast-growing and profitable mid-size pickup market, Jeep recently unveiled the Gladiator pickup, inspired by its popular and iconic Wrangler off-road SUV.
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