The future of the underutilized assembly plant in Illinois is in question. Again.
FCA's Belvidere assembly plant is in question again as the company has confirmed the halt of production in this plant for a week in February, according to a report by Mopar Insiders.
To recall, the same plant, which is located near Chicago, Illinois, stopped production for two weeks – from January 13 to 26, 2020. The culprit for that production idling was the Jeep Cherokee, which met slow sales demand in 2019 – down by 20 percent, to be exact.
As it turns out, sales numbers for the crossover still isn't going well, which prompted the company to temporarily stop the production in the Belvidere plant for a week. The report failed to mention when, however.
Gallery: 2019 Jeep Cherokee: First Drive
In light of this, however, the Belvidere plant isn't necessarily in the peril of shutting down, per Mopar Insider's report. Instead, a better-selling model could replace the Cherokee, which should subside the worry of laying off workers at the said plant. FCA has a limited production ability in North America, which means it can't afford to lose the Belvidere plant at any cost.
There's also a report that a Chrysler crossover based on the stretched version of the Cherokee will be produced alongside the compact SUV. However, this assumption should be taken lightly as the company is yet to reveal the model as of yet.
There are several questions surrounding the future of the Cherokee nameplate. The contract in the recent UAW-FCA negotiations stated that the production of the Cherokee should continue and a set of next-generation safety features will be added this year.
Moreover, FCA teased a 2020 Cherokee Deserthawk during its Capital Market Day in 2018. The company, however, failed to follow-up on that teaser up to this day.