On Wednesday, Fiat-Chrysler made a big announcement regarding its future. CEO Sergio Marchionne stated the company plans on eventually halting the production of the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200.
With the Dart being one of three vehicles produced at the Chrysler plant in Belvidere, many are curious about the plant’s future.
The Executive Director of Growth Dimensions in Belvidere, Jarid Funderburg, does not see this causing any issues for the plant, its employees, or the City of Belvidere.
There has been speculation revolving around the possibility that all three vehicles produced at the plant — the Dart, Compass, and Patriot — may be out of production at some point.
Officials with Fiat Chrysler cited a drop in gas prices and shifting buying patterns to crossovers and trucks as reasons behind this monumental decision.
“They may want to just as the report said refocus and ramp up production of their Jeep line because they are popular. So that is a possibility,” says Funderburg.
But the news is still eye-opening because the company spent $600 million to launch the Dart.
Right now, Fiat-Chrysler is being tight-lipped on the changes, but did say during a call with analysts the Belvidere plant will be re-tooled.
There have been reports production the Jeep Cherokee will be coming here, and Funderburg says the plant is well positioned to support the Jeep line. He also does not anticipate any layoffs.
“No absolutely not. Nope. With a fully operational plant, with employees being added, no impact on the city of Belvidere that I see,” Funderburg says.