By Patrick Rall
The Dodge Journey is currently built alongside the Fiat Freemont and the Fiat 500 in the company’s Toluca Mexico plant. But with the introduction of the next generation Journey, production will shift from Toluca to Sterling Heights Michigan.
It is expected that the next generation Dodge Journey will be introduced as a 2016 model year vehicle, riding on the same chassis platform as the next generation Chrysler 200 sedan. Both are expected to use a similar platform to the CUSW (Compact US Wide) platform already in use for the Dodge Dart and the new Jeep Cherokee. Little else is known about the next generation Journey but with this refreshed crossover riding on the same chassis as the new Jeep Cherokee – the next Journey could share some technology with the new midsized Jeep.
The company’s decision to build the next generation Dodge Journey in the USA comes with some bad, yet expected, news for fans of the Dodge Avenger. When the next gen Chrysler 200 is introduced, it is unlikely that a Dodge version will also be offered so with the absence of the Avenger – there is plenty of build capacity available at the Sterling Heights plant. Going forward, Sterling Heights could also help with overflow production of the Dodge Dart and the Jeep Compass should the demand for either of those two vehicles exceed the capacities of the Belvidere Dart plant or the Toledo Jeep plant.
This move could also be helpful for the Toluca plant as the continued growth of the Fiat 500 could create production restraints for the 500, the Journey or the Fiat Freemont (which is just a Fiat-badged Journey sold in the European market). In any case, Dodge buyers who demand to buy American will soon have one more solid vehicle to pick from when making a new vehicle purchase.