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Fiat Chrysler 'plans new US factory'

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Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep line-up has driven sales growth in the US

Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is reportedly planning to open an assembly plant in Detroit.

According to US media, the plant would start producing its Jeep sports utility vehicles (SUVs) in 2020, and create up to 400 jobs.

The US-Italian carmaker has not confirmed the plans.

However, the firm has previously said it wanted to boost production of trucks and SUVs, which have enjoyed strong sales in the US.

If true, the plans would be a rare domestic expansion by a US car company in an industry where rivals are cutting back on production.

FCA intends to reopen an engine plant which has been mothballed since 2012 as a vehicle assembly plant, the reports say.

Overall, Fiat Chrysler’s US sales are up 8% this year, with growth driven by its Jeep line-up.

The gains come despite relatively flat sales in the wider industry, which saw sales peak in 2016.

General Motors last month cited the slackening demand when it announced plans to halt production at five factories in North America, including four in the US.

That move, part of a broader overhaul of the business likely to lead to the loss of more than 14,000 jobs, has drawn harsh criticism from politicians.

It was also a blow for US President Donald Trump, who has made reviving car manufacturing a priority for his administration.

Ford has also announced restructuring plans, though it has not specified job cuts.

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