New vehicles in contract deals

New vehicles in contract deals

Tom Kreacher and Alex Vega
News agency

DETROIT – Stellantis plans to build a new midsize pickup truck, along with battery-powered versions of six Jeep, Ram and Dodge vehicles.

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

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

These and other production plans drawn up by Detroit automakers were featured in the details of tentative contract agreements that ended six weeks of strikes by the United Auto Workers union.

Under the new agreements, the three companies will significantly increase wages and benefits and improve job security. The agreements also provide a blueprint for the cars and trucks they intend to manufacture in the coming years and where they will do so. Many plans will continue to manufacture vehicles that automakers already make.

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Some new vehicles are also planned for production over the next few years.

About 146,000 union members are scheduled to vote on the contracts during the next two weeks. Workers at 10 Ford facilities, who had already voted overwhelmingly, favored the agreements, which will be in place until April 2028.

The UAW’s success in obtaining commitments from companies to build new electric vehicles at several plants represents a special accomplishment. Expanding electric vehicle production will preserve jobs and could create new ones, depending on how quickly the country switches from gas engines to batteries.

All automakers have embraced the transition to electric vehicles as a broad, long-term commitment. The companies have set goals for electric vehicles to account for nearly half of their U.S. sales by 2030. With the same goal, the Biden administration’s 2022 inflation-reducing law increased federal tax credits for buyers of new and used electric vehicles.

What is not yet known is whether consumer demand for electric vehicles in the coming years will justify automakers’ plans to accelerate their production.

Meanwhile, companies are moving forward with their ambitious plans.

In Belvedere, Illinois, according to the union, Stellantis will build an electric vehicle battery factory that will create 1,300 jobs. At the Toledo Assembly Complex, Stellantis plans to build a battery-electric version of the powerful Jeep Wrangler SUV and another with an unknown new engine.

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

At the Detroit Assembly Complex, Stellantis plans to build the next generation Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs. Both should have fully electric versions.

Ford, according to contract highlights released by the UAW, has agreed to $8.1 billion in new investments in its plants during the decade, including at least three new electric vehicles. The new electric truck will be built at an electric vehicle factory 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 its giant Expedition and Lincoln Navigator SUVs. Another Louisville assembly plant that now makes the Ford Escape and Lincoln Corsair small SUVs will get a new electric vehicle.

The Ohio assembly plant near Cleveland will build the new EV truck in addition to the medium-duty trucks and truck chassis it now produces. An unspecified new car will be built at a plant in Flat Rock, Michigan, that has been building the powerful Mustang, pending Ford’s approval to go ahead.

GM 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 a new electric vehicle and another for a future partner, which will likely be Honda.

The full-size electric SUV will be manufactured at GM’s Zero Plant in Detroit, a dedicated electric vehicle hub. Unspecified future electric vehicles will be assembled at a factory in Orion, Michigan. The company has already announced that the plant will build electric versions of the Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra full-size pickup trucks.

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

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

At most automakers’ assembly plants in Detroit, the current vehicles they make will last the entire life cycle of the product.

Not all of the companies’ production plans under the contract include electric cars. Stellantis had agreed to $19 billion in investments by the end of the decade, including plans to build its new midsize pickup truck in Belvidere, Illinois, as it was moving toward closing a factory, the union said. Production of the truck, which will compete with the best-selling Toyota Tacoma, will create about 1,200 jobs.

(Tags for translation)Automotive

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