WASHINGTON: Fiat Chrysler on Sunday announced it was creating 2,000 jobs in the United States, coming as President-elect Donald Trump has been publicly scolding automakers for investing in Mexico.
The American-Italian firm will invest $1 billion by 2020 in two of its factories in the Midwestern states of Michigan and Ohio, where the new jobs will be based, the company said in a statement coming on the eve of the Detroit auto show.
The Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan will produce the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, as well as the Ram heavy duty truck which is currently produced in Mexico, the company said.
The Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio will build a new Jeep pickup truck.
“FCA US is further demonstrating its commitment to strengthening its US manufacturing base,” it said, adding that it has created 25,000 jobs in the country since 2009.
Trump, who campaigned on promises of creating industrial jobs in the American heartland, took to Twitter this past week to blast automakers with operations or plans to build plants in Mexico.
He slammed General Motors for making some of its Chevy Cruze models south of the border, and Toyota, which is building a new plant there.
On Tuesday, US automaker Ford announced it was scrapping construction of a $1.6 billion plant in Mexico to instead invest in the United States and create 700 jobs, citing a “vote of confidence” in the economic agenda of the incoming president.
Fiat Chrysler so far has escaped Trump’s Twitter wrath, but it’s due to start importing Jeep Compass models from Mexico as soon as this month.
The company was rebuilt in 2009 after its predecessor the Chrysler Group went bankrupt and required a federal bailout to stay in business. It has three manufacturing sites in Mexico—in Toluca, Ramos Arizpe and Saltillo —where it produces pickups as well as the Fiat Fremont and the Fiat 500.
Other auto groups have preemptively said they will be flexible in the new era of American politics.
“We are pragmatic, we will adapt to any situation,” said the chief of the Renault-Nissan alliance, Carlos Ghosn, speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
In December, American air conditioner manufacturer Carrier backed off a planned transfer of 1,000 jobs to the Mexico, after a deal with Trump—and for $7 million in tax cuts.
Mexico’s relatively low wages, its proximity to the US market and the free trade deals the country has with 46 countries make it attractive to foreign investors.
The main pact is the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that Mexico enacted with the United States and Canada in 1994.
During the campaign Trump relentlessly attacked NAFTA, promising to renegotiate or withdraw from the agreement all together.