With a strategy of loading up its renovated Ram 1500 full-size trucks with new functions – ranging from 12-inch touch screens on the dashboard to big battery packs and electric motors to help adjust speed and gears and conserve fuel – the automaker is investing on a sustained surge in demand.
Thus Chief Executive Mike Manley is now reconsidering a decision made in January to stop building Ram heavy-duty pickups at a plant located in Saltillo, Mexico. That plant, and another in located Warren, Michigan, between them would produce other Ram models and free up manufacturing space to make even more new trucks to eat into sales of Ford Motor’s F-Series or General Motors’s Chevrolet Silverado, and its higher-end GMC Sierra.
“We need to get ourselves into second” place, Manley informed Reuters exclusively in his first interview since taking over the automaker following Sergio Marchionne’s sudden death.
When U.S. President Donald Trump was threatening action that would have enforced a 25 percent tariff on Mexican-made pickup trucks previously this year, Fiat Chrysler stated Saltillo would be “repurposed to produce future commercial vehicles”.
In 2017, Marchionne had raised the potential that his company could move heavy-duty pickup production out of Saltillo, adding U.S. tax and trade policy would impact the decision.
Now, the United States, Mexico and Canada have a tentative trade agreement that enforces no ceiling on shipments of pickups to the United States from Mexico, given they meet thresholds for the share of parts produced within the location.