Stellantis in Auburn Hills has announced plans to invest $24.7 million in the two facilities that comprise the engine complex in Trenton. The goal is to create maximum flexibility for the operation.
The plan includes a retool of the south plant to be a flexible engine line, capable of producing two variations of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine. Following retooling, the Pentastar production line at the north plant will be decommissioned by the end of 2022 and all 3.6-liter engine production at the complex will be consolidated at the south facility.
The north plant is expected to be repurposed for warehousing and other non-manufacturing opportunities.
First launched in 2011, the Pentastar engine became the workhorse of the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram product lines, streamlining the company’s V-6 engine offerings from seven to one.
Upgraded in 2016, the redesigned V-6 delivers improved fuel economy and performance over the original version of the same engine, which will continue to be produced through 2023. Production of the Pentastar upgrade in the south plant is expected to begin by the end of the first quarter of 2023.
In related news, Stellantis subsidiary FCA US reported its second quarter (Q2) total sales in the U.S. declined 16 percent to 408,521, with retail sales declining 24 percent.
Despite these drops, commercial shipments in Q2 rose 13 percent year-over-year.
“We continue to see strong demand for our vehicles. While there are certainly industry supply constraints, our dealers are working hard to satisfy the needs of every customer,” says Jeff Kommor, U.S. head of sales at FCA.
“The Grand Wagoneer and Wagoneer have successfully launched with sales continuing to grow, sales of the all-new Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Compass continue to see high sales volumes CYTD, and Ram brand’s retail and fleet demand for its commercial products remains incredibly strong.”
Total sales of the Jeep Grand Cherokee were up 12 percent and retail sales up 13 percent. Total U.S. sales for the Jeep Compass rose 54 percent and its retail sales increased 54percent year-over-year. The Jeep Wrangler 4xe accounted for 10,861 (20%) of total Jeep Wrangler sales. Overall, Jeep brand sales dropped 11 percent.
Ram brand’s total commercial shipments are up a combined 9 percent year-over-year, while retail sales dropped 27 percent. This includes a 25 percent drop for the ProMaster City, a 12 percent drop for the ProMaster Van, and a 28 percent drop for the Ram pickup.
The Chrysler brand’s total U.S. sales rose 95 percent, with the Pacifica leading the way, up 143 percent year-over-year. The Chrysler brand and Pacifica Q2 sales increase was driven by increased fleet sales due a backlog of orders. Sales of the Chrysler 200 dropped 100 percent, and sales of the 300 dropped 15 percent.
Total U.S. sales of the Dodge Charger rose 3 percent versus the same quarter last year. That was the only Dodge vehicle to see an increase, with Dart and Caravan sales dropping 100 percent, Journey sales dropping 99 percent, leading to a total brand decrease of 30 percent.