Auto analysts expect EV Charger and Challenger production to go to Illinois

Current models of the Charger and Challenger are built at the Brampton Assembly Plant. (CBC News - image credit)
Current models of the Charger and Challenger are built at the Brampton Assembly Plant. (CBC News - image credit)

Though no plans have been announced, auto analysts are predicting Stellantis will move production of electric Dodge Chargers and Challengers to the Belvidere Assembly plant in Illinois in 2024.

The current gas-powered models are built in Brampton, Ont.

"All of the forecasting firms that we speak with on a regular basis have pretty much said that is the case," said digital and mobile producer for Automotive News Canada, Greg Layson, adding that the firms are hardly ever wrong.

Dale Molnar/CBC
Dale Molnar/CBC

"These analytic firms have deep-seated sources within the automakers. They monitor production and decision making and product planning far more deeply than anyone in the mainstream media would do."

Stellantis has not responded to requests for comment from CBC News.

Layson said this sets up a scenario where there will be no product produced at the Brampton Assembly Plant past 2024.

He said the Unifor union in Canada and the United Auto Workers in the United States will both be bargaining with the Detroit 3 in 2023, so competition for a commitment to new product will be fierce.

"So this sets up a huge game almost like a Hunger Games, as the unions try to win new product in the respective states and provinces south and north of the border," said Layson.

He said it would make good business sense for Stellantis to locate the production there, especially if the U.S. goes ahead with an incentive plan for Americans to buy electric vehicles built in the U.S.

However, auto journalist Kay Layne doesn't believe the decision to move the vehicle production is a done deal.

"I don't have a crystal ball, but this bridge is very shaky. It's very wobbly. I'm not quite willing to cross it," said Layne.

Dale Molnar/CBC
Dale Molnar/CBC

Layson said if the Brampton plant is idled it could revert to producing batteries for the auto industry. Stellantis has yet to announce the location of a second battery plant in North America. One is already slated to go stateside.

Layne agrees it's too early to count Brampton out.

"I do not think they're anywhere near ready to talk about closing doors," said Layne.