Production ramp up for the new 2019 Ram 1500 pickup truck at Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s Sterling Heights Assembly plant in Michigan is not going well. FCA will have to spend millions of dollars to fix the issue.
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said during an earnings call that the facility is only running at about 60 percent, according to Automotive News. Apparently, the plant is still running below capacity. Part of the reason for that is because it’s under construction.
Automotive News reported that the facility is running two 10-hour shifts every day of the week. Those are the hours it needs to keep to meet Ram’s production goals. The plant produces 1,000 trucks per day, and the company hopes to reach 1,400 per day.
FCA Will Build Previous-Gen Truck and New Model
Automotive News reported that Marchionne told analysts that Ram will continue to build the previous-generation pickup to keep pace. With that in mind, the publication also points out that sales for that truck have not been especially strong. In fact, FCA is offering incentives to U.S. dealers.
Marchionne’s plan to continue building both trucks may be part of the company’s problem with its production, according to Automotive News. The publication reported that a union source said that keeping up with demand for two different trucks is difficult for the suppliers.
Still No EPA Numbers for Mild Hybrid Powertrains on Ram
Currently, dealers only have the 2019 Ram 1500 with the standard 5.7-liter V8, which is the same engine in the previous generation vehicle. Ram will also offer the truck with a 3.6-liter V6 with a mild hybrid system and a different 5.7-liter V8 with a mild hybrid system.
Those two engines have yet to be evaluated and rated by the EPA. If FCA can’t produce enough trucks with the old 5.7-liter V8 it won’t really matter that much how long the EPA takes to approve and rate the new powertrains.
Marchionne Won’t Be Sleeping On the Production Floor
Automotive News reported that Marchionne told reporters he won’t be spending the night on the factory floor to make sure the company meets its goals, like Elon Musk of Tesla. Musk is spending a lot of time at the factory to ensure Model 3 production goes smoothly. “I’m not sleeping on the floor. you need to be Elon’s age to do that. I’m too old for that crap,” he said.
All of that said, it will be interesting if the influx of cash will solve the company’s production issues or if it will have more issues surrounding the rollout of its new highly praised pickup truck.