It has been a rough start for the 2019 Ram 1500 production line. FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said on an earnings call last week that the Sterling Heights Assembly plant, home to the 2019 model is only operating at 60 percent of where the company wants it to be. Automotive News learned from sources at the FCA and suppliers that the plant was building around 1,000 trucks per day last week.
"That's not where we need to be. We allowed enough time in 2017 to get that installation up, but it's proven to be challenging," said Marchionne.
Why the low production rate? A union source explained there are a few reasons. One is that suppliers are having a difficult time with providing parts for two-generations of the Ram 1500 - FCA is planning on building the last-generation model to help keep sales up while production ramps up on the next-generation 1500. The Sterling Heights' plant is also undergoing construction for the 2019 Ram 1500, which cuts the number of trucks that can be built. Also, the union source said that some workers still lack proper training on building the new model.
Another source said that more than 2,500 2019 Ram 1500s were sitting in holding areas due to an electrical issue. Once fixed, the trucks will be shipped out to dealers.
Getting production up and running for the 2019 Ram 1500 is important for FCA. Marchionne said it and the redesigned Jeep Wrangler need smooth launches if the company wants to achieve its financial goals for this year. To this end, the company is planning on spending more than $300 million to get the production ramp-up back on track. Automotive News also obtained a revised production calendar from March that indicates FCA will run the Sterling Heights plant every weekend and holiday through Labor Day.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)