UNITED STATES NEWS

New vehicles from Detroit’s automakers are planned in contracts that ended UAW strikes

Nov 4, 2023, 11:01 AM

DETROIT (AP) — Stellantis plans to build a new midsize pickup truck, along with battery-run versions of six Jeep, Ram and Dodge vehicles.

Ford envisions at least three new electric vehicles that will preserve jobs at several factories.

General Motors plans to build at least six new electric vehicles, including a full-size SUV.

Those and other closely held production plans by Detroit’s automakers have emerged in details of the tentative contract agreements that ended the six-week strikes by the United Auto Workers union.

Under the new agreements, the three companies will significantly boost pay and benefits and improve job security. But the agreements also provide a blueprint for which cars and trucks they intend to build in the coming years and where they will do so. Many of the plans will continue the manufacture of vehicles that the automakers already build. But the production of some new vehicles over the next few years is being planned, too.

About 146,000 union members will vote on the contracts in the next two weeks. Workers at 10 Ford facilities who have already voted have overwhelmingly favored the agreements, which will be in effect through April 2028.

The UAW’s success in gaining commitments from the companies to build new electric vehicles at several factories represented a particular achievement. The expansion of EV production will preserve jobs and could create new ones, depending on how fast the nation transitions from gas engines to batteries.

The automakers have all embraced the transition to electric vehicles as a large-scale and long-term commitment. The companies have set goals of having EVs represent roughly half their U.S. sales by 2030. Adopting the same goal, the Biden administration’s 2022 Inflation Reduction Act increased federal tax credits to buyers of new and used EVs.

What’s not yet known is whether consumer demand for EVs in the coming years will justify the automakers’ plans to accelerate their production. In the meantime, the companies are moving ahead with their ambitious EV production plans.

In Belvidere, Illinois, according to the union, Stellantis will construct an EV battery factory that would create 1,300 jobs. And at its Toledo Assembly Complex, Stellantis plans to build a battery-electric version of the rugged Jeep Wrangler SUV and another with an unknown new powertrain.

In addition, the union said, the company plans to build battery electric versions of the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer large SUVs at a plant in Warren, Michigan. The Ram REV battery-electric truck is expected to be built starting next year at the plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

And at the Detroit Assembly Complex, Stellantis plans to build the next generation of the Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUV. Both are to have fully electric versions.

Ford, according to contract highlights released by the UAW, has agreed to $8.1 billion in new investments at its factories during the contract, including for at least three new electric vehicles. A new electric truck will be built in an EV plant inside Ford’s Rouge complex in its hometown of Dearborn, Michigan.

At the Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Ford will add gas-electric hybrid versions of the Expedition and Lincoln Navigator giant SUVs. Another assembly plant in Louisville that now makes Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair small SUVs will get an unspecified new electric vehicle.

The Ohio Assembly Plant near Cleveland will build a new EV van in addition to the medium-duty trucks and van chassis it now produces. And an unspecified new vehicle will be built at a factory in Flat Rock, Michigan, that has been building the Mustang muscle car, pending Ford’s approval to move forward with it.

As for GM it plans to keep several factories busy building new electric vehicles, according to the union. In addition to producing the Cadillac Lyriq electric SUV, GM’s Spring Hill Assembly Plant in Tennessee will manufacture one new EV and one for a future partner, which is likely to be Honda.

An electric full-size SUV will be built at GM’s Factory Zero in Detroit, a designated electric vehicle center. And unspecified future electric vehicles will be assembled at a factory in Orion Township, Michigan. The company has already announced that the plant will build electric versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickup trucks.

And GM will build future electric vehicles at both its Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kansas, and its Grand River Assembly Plant in Lansing, Michigan.

Stellantis and Ford declined to comment on future vehicle plans. GM said it would provide more details on its production plans “moving forward.”

At most of the Detroit automakers’ assembly plants, the current vehicles they make will continue through their product life cycles.

And not all the companies’ production plans under the contract, of course, involve electric vehicles. The union says Stellantis has agreed to $19 billion worth of investments by the end of the contract, including plans to build its new midsize pickup in Belvidere, Illinois, where it had been moving toward closing a factory. The production of the truck, which will compete with the hot-selling Toyota Tacoma, would produce about 1,200 jobs.

___

Veiga reported from Los Angeles.

United States News

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New vehicles from Detroit’s automakers are planned in contracts that ended UAW strikes