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FCA backpedals on plan to repatriate Ram production from Mexico

by Justin King

FCA's new CEO says the Mexico factory will be necessary to compete with Ford, GM.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' new CEO, Mike Manley, has backtracked on the late Sergio Marchionne's plan to bring Ram pickup production back to the US from Mexico.

Marchionne last year bluntly admitted the original decision to start building Ram trucks in Mexico was a mistake, arguing that it was "a bit bizarre" to build any vehicle in Mexico if it had nearly 100-percent utilization in the US market.

Just three months after taking the reins, Manley now tells Reuters that FCA's growth strategy requires pickup production to stay in Mexico, necessary to produce enough volume for the company to unseat General Motors as the number-two player in the pickup segment.

"With a combination of Warren and Mexico building what we call the classic truck, we have enough production to increase output next year if it's required," he said.

FCA's Jeep brand has been a shining star in the US market as buyers flock to SUVs. The Ford F-150 has long been the country's best-selling nameplate, however, and Ram intends to take more share of the popular pickup segment.

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