Stellantis and United Auto Workers (UAW) have reached a new agreement that brings hope to the previously idled Belvidere assembly plant in Illinois. The plant, which was responsible for manufacturing the Jeep Cherokee, had to lay off 1,200 workers without any certainty about their future employment. However, UAW’s Vice President Rich Boyer has now stated that a midsize truck will be produced at the Belvidere factory. Despite requesting confirmation or comment from Ram, they have remained silent on the matter.
Before production resumes at the plant, the laid-off workers will receive benefits and will be placed on temporary layoff with pay and healthcare coverage until they are reinstated. In addition to saving jobs at the Belvidere plant, Stellantis has plans to create more than 1,000 jobs at a new battery plant in the same location.
Although the specific details about the truck are not clear, speculation suggests that it could be the Ram Rampage, which is already being produced in Brazil. However, since the Rampage is considered a compact truck, it may not align with the description of a midsize truck mentioned by Boyer. Furthermore, considering Stellantis’ focus on electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids, it is possible that the Belvidere pickup will also be offered with such powertrain options. This could mean it will be based on the STLA Large platform, indicating a potential unibody construction rather than the STLA Frame platform used for the larger Ram 1500 REV.
One of Stellantis’ four electric-centric platforms, the STLA Large platform can accommodate vehicles ranging from 185 to 212.6 inches in length. With battery sizes ranging from 101 to 118 kWh, the truck could offer up to 500 miles of range on a single charge.
Regardless of the truck’s specifications, it has been confirmed that both combustion engine and battery-related jobs will be brought to the Belvidere plant. This news provides a glimmer of hope for the previously laid-off workers and showcases the commitment of Stellantis and UAW to revitalizing the automotive industry in Belvidere.