Documents published by the United Auto Workers union reveal key information about some of the products Dodge, Jeep and Ram will release during the early 2020s. All three brands will try to capitalize on the growing demand for trucks and SUVs in the United States.
The agreement between the UAW and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) outlines what the period between 2019 and 2023 will look like from an employee's vantage point. The $4.5 billion factory the automaker is building in Detroit will begin manufacturing a three-row Jeep model in 2020, and it will add the next-generation Grand Cherokee to its roster the following year, according to CarScoops. The new Grand Cherokee will also roll out of the Jefferson North facility that makes the current model scheduled to retire shortly before its successor arrives. The Dodge Durango will continue to be built there, and the UAW papers mention a mild-hybrid variant of the SUV due out before the end of 2020.
Two body-on-frame Jeep models tentatively scheduled to revive the heritage-laced Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer nameplates will break cover in 2021. They will be built alongside Ram pickups at the Warren Truck plant, and odds are the three models will share several components under the sheetmetal. Adding the two Jeep models is expected to create 1,400 jobs, FCA predicted.
Speaking of Ram, the high-performance TRX model (pictured) aimed at the Ford F-150 Raptor's jugular is penciled in for a 2020 launch. The concept that previewed the model made its debut in 2016, so it's reasonable to assume it will have changed considerably by the time it reaches showrooms. It will be based on the newest variant of the 1500, not on the last-generation model still sold as the Classic. What won't change is the supercharged, 6.2-liter Hellcat V8 between its fenders.
The plug-in hybrid Wrangler remains on track for a 2020 launch. The Cherokee will continue to come out of Belvedere Assembly in Illinois, but the UAW's documents mention "fresh models / features" off of its unibody platform. Whether that means new trim levels or additional body styles remains to be seen, but it sounds like something new and Cherokee-related is around the corner.
The ancient Dodge Journey shares at least one thing with the beater you drove in high school: a four-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox is finally on its way out, according to the UAW, and the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that powers the entry-level model isn't long for this world, either.
The UAW's documents focused on trucks and SUVs made in the United States, and they made no mention of the Challenger and the Charger that Dodge builds in Canada. An earlier report claims both models will be replaced in the early 2020s, and some speculate they'll ride on a modified version of the rear-wheel drive Giorgio platform found under Alfa Romeo's Stelvio and Giulia models. And, a separate rumor points to the firm replacing the Journey in 2022 with a model that puts far more focus on performance.
Time will tell whether these industry whisperings are accurate, but what's certain is that FCA's star brands will stay extremely busy during the early 2020s.