Now that Ram introduced its new all-electric full-size pickup to the world during the New York auto show, a lot more is known about truck except for one very important thing: where will it be built.
State officials in Illinois have a recommendation: using the automaker’s currently “idle” plant in Belvidere. The plant, which was churning out Jeep Cherokee Trailhawks until February is closed with no future product assigned to it.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares confirmed the pickup will be built in the U.S. during the NYIAS, but declined to say exactly where, but did say the location would be revealed soon. According to Automotive News, Illinois officials are lobbying Tavares and other top executives make the plant the new home for the Ram 1500 Rev, which is slated to begin production late next year, and arrive in dealerships as a 2025 model.
Officials won’t even say the plant is closed. They say it’s been idled, but haven’t said what product they’ll build there next.
Got plenty of room
The company announced in December it would halt production at the site, which opened in 1965, cutting more than 1,200 workers their jobs.
The move was blamed on a variety of factors including the after-effects of the COVID pandemic, including shortages of critical microchips. But a statement from Stellantis put primary blame on “increasing cost(s) related to the electrification of the automotive market.”
While the automaker left open the possibility that the Belvidere plant would reopen, the Stellantis statement said, “This difficult but necessary action will result in indefinite layoffs, which are expected to exceed six months and may constitute a job loss under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act.”
Under its current contract with the United Auto Workers union, Stellantis cannot permanently close a plant without reaching an agreement with the union. For its part, UAW officials expressed open anger about the Belvidere announcement, calling it a “grossly misguided” move.
The Belvidere plant opened in 1965, initially producing vehicles for the Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler brands. The automaker invested $350 million to upgrade the facility so it could begin assembling the Jeep Cherokee there in 2017.