• Mon. May 20th, 2024

Illinois wants Ram to build the 1500 REV in the idled Belvidere plant


Apr 7, 2023
Illinois wants Ram to build the 1500 REV in the idled Belvidere plant


The electric Ram 1500 REV is scheduled to reach showrooms as a 2025 model. We already know a lot about it, but one detail that hasn’t been confirmed is where it will be built. Illinois officials reportedly asked the firm to use the Belvidere plant that Stellantis idled earlier in 2023.

What’s nearly certain is that production will take place somewhere in the United States. Stellantis boss Carlos Tavares confirmed this on the sidelines of the 2023 New York auto show. He added that the location will be announced “soon,” and anonymous sources told industry trade journal Automotive News that Illinois officials are trying to convince the CEO and his team to pick the Belvidere plant whose future remains unclear. The plant was idled in February 2023 after the last Jeep Cherokee rolled off the line, and it hasn’t been assigned a new product.

State officials can pull a number of levers to convince companies to build cars within their boundaries; some fast-track permit applications (this is particularly common for new factories), while others promise big tax incentives (Tesla may get $330 million in tax breaks over the next two decades for expanding the plant that it operates on the outskirts of Reno, Nevada). It sounds like Illinois is taking the latter route. 

“I’ve heard it’s an astronomical amount of money. I’d be shocked if they turn it down. But, I think [that] at the end of the day, if they don’t accept it, in my mind, that tells me they don’t want to do business in Illinois,” UAW Local 1268 President Kevin Logan told Automotive News.

Ram hasn’t revealed its cards, at least not publicly, and parent company Stellantis hasn’t said much about Belvidere’s future. Mark Stewart, the chief operating officer of Stellantis North America, stressed that his team is looking at different ways to repurpose the facility now that the Cherokee has retired without a planned successor. He didn’t provide additional details, but he noted the plant is “idle, not closed.”

If state officials get their way, the 1500 REV will be the second electric truck built in Illinois; Rivian makes the R1T and the R1S in a former Mitsubishi factory located about two hours south in Normal. Belvidere isn’t the only candidate for 1500 REV production, however. Ram could also build the truck near Detroit in the Sterling Heights, Michigan, factory that currently makes the quad- and crew-cab variants of the 1500.

We expect to learn more about Ram’s plan in the coming months.

Inaugurated in 1965 by Chrysler, the Belvidere factory has manufactured a wide selection of vehicles. It built the European-flavored Dodge Omni/Plymouth Horizon duo, the Chrysler New Yorker, the Dodge Charger, the Plymouth Neon, the third-generation Dodge Dart and, 45 years later, the fifth and final generation of the model. The plant’s future began looking grim in 2016, when production of the Dart, the Jeep Compass and the Jeep Patriot ended. Cherokee production shifted from Toledo, Ohio, to Belvidere in 2017 and carried the plant to 2023.

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