Fiat Chrysler was shaken when visionary CEO Sergio Marchionne suddenly died this past summer. Marchionne was credited for turning around the struggling alliance and making it profitable after Fiat bought Chrysler out of bankruptcy in 2009.
The company scrambled to replace Marchionne and tapped Jeep brand head Mike Manley with the role. And so far, what looked like could have been a rocky stretch for the automaker has been remarkably steady. So steady, in fact, that Manley told reporters at the Detroit Auto Show that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is not actually that worried about the impending auto market dip, and probably won’t be slashing jobs like competitors Ford and GM.
What he did say was that FCA had plans in the works to add production capacity in order to capitalize on the raging popularity of the Jeep brand – particularly its new three-row options, the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.
And while the quiet announcement was scant on the details, Manley did say that the employment opportunities stemming from this initiative would be “significant,” and would be falling into place in the near future. He didn’t say where, but the AP cited earlier reports that suggest the plants may be located in Detroit.
Manley also said that the company was possibly looking for a partner to help break the midsize pickup market outside of the U.S., but will probably be going it alone aside from that. This represents a departure in strategy from FCA’s competitors, who are teaming up on cash-intensive projects with other automakers. Take Ford for example, who just announced that it would be working with Volkswagen on pickup trucks, commercial vans, and possibly electric and autonomous vehicles.