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FCA adding a second Detroit assembly plant for Grand Cherokee, report says

Jeep clearly anticipates a whole bunch of demand for its soon-to-be-revised SUV.

A three-row Grand Cherokee sounds like yet another recipe through which FCA receives a license to print money.
Jon Wong/Roadshow

Right now, all US-spec Jeep Grand Cherokees are built at Detroit's Jefferson North Assembly facility, where they've been built since the place opened in 1991. According to a new report, it might have some help for the next-generation Grand Cherokee.

Jeep parent company Fiat Chrysler will revive its Mack Avenue Engine II plant in Detroit to help build the next iteration of the Grand Cherokee, Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with FCA's plans. Representatives for Fiat Chrysler declined to comment to both Roadshow and Reuters.

The plant has been idled since 2012, so it's not like moving some Grand Cherokee production there will displace any other projects. Mack Avenue Engine II represents about one-third of FCA's entire Mack Avenue Engine Complex, which used to be responsible for producing the first-generation Dodge Viper from 1992 to 1995. Now, the open bits of the complex build the Pentastar V6 for various FCA products.

According to Reuters' sources, FCA believes it will need the space because there will be increased demand for the next-generation Grand Cherokee. The source mentioned to Reuters that the Grand Cherokee's redesign will also bring a three-row variant into the fold, which would definitely boost its demand. The last three-row Jeep to exist in the US was the Commander, which ended production in 2010.

The timing of this report, while still unverified, puts FCA in a more positive light than its primary competitor, General Motors. In late November, GM announced that it intends to kill off multiple sedan and hatchback models as it idles five North American plants to help keep costs in check. The move sparked backlash -- not only from unions, but from politicians on both sides of the aisle.