The primary function of the upgrades and retooling is to prepare the plant, which currently builds the Jeep Grand Cherokee, for a new model which will replace the fuel-thirsty SUV. A new line of Phoenix engines will power the more-efficient replacement vehicle, which will come online by the first part of 2010. Other vehicles in the same vein may also be built at the plant, reports Automotive News. Some of the investment will also go to installing energy efficient lighting and waste product recycling to lower plant operating costs.
The move is a positive step - though a small one - provided it does not put the company in an even more precarious position. It's also evidence that the company's leadership does not think they are in as dangerous a financial situation as many pundits appear to. Whether the executives are correct in their assessment remains to be seen, however.