GM Plant Was in Fiat Chrysler’s Crosshairs, Report Claims

No one knows what the future of General Motors’ Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant holds, or if it even has a future after Chevrolet Impala and Cadillac CT6 production dries up in January 2020. In an alternate future, however, the plant would have swapped out the sign out front, replacing the GM logo with a Fiat Chrysler one.

According to sources with insider knowledge, the two automakers met to discuss just such an ownership change.

Citing four sources, Automotive News reports that this conversation did occur following GM’s November 2018 restructuring announcement. Apparently seeing an opportunity to forgo unnecessary land wrangling and building expenses, FCA approached GM about the Detroit plant. The two companies reportedly couldn’t reach an agreement.

While the fate of Detroit-Hamtramck hinges on this summer’s UAW contract negotiations (the current agreement expires in September), its current lifespan surpasses that of the now “unallocated” Lordstown Assembly and the soon-to-be-shuttered Oshawa plant in Ontario. GM announced a brief reprieve to January of next year in February. Around the same time, FCA made its intentions known: a massive cash dump targeting numerous Michigan plants, with the aim of adding a slew of new or revamped SUVs to its Jeep lineup.

Part of FCA’s plan involved expansion and repurposing of the Mack Avenue engine plant in Detroit’s east side — a move that’s dependent on the automaker gaining the necessary approvals from the city. The automaker hopes to acquire 200 acres of land adjacent to the current site, and the clock’s ticking on that particular deadline. (FCA has until April 27th to secure the land.)

Two sources claim FCA put its Mack Avenue plans on the back burner as it explored acquiring the not-distant Detroit-Hamtramck facility. While it isn’t know why a deal couldn’t be reached, one source claims the discussions were “legitimate.”

Naturally, the report raises the question of what, exactly, GM has in mind for its plant. The automaker says it intends to keep the CT6 in production, but hasn’t identified a new home for the range-topping sedan. As well, it was recently announced that Michigan’s Orion Assembly will become home to at least one new electric vehicle, so an imminent EV influx doesn’t seem likely. The plant’s fate should be made clear once contract talks wrap up.

a version of this article first appeared on TTAC

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