FILE PHOTO Belvidere Republican
The 5,300,000-square-foot idled Belvidere plant that once employed 4,500 union workers on the 280-acre site is scheduled to reopen in 2027. Stellantis has committed to invest nearly $5 billion to transform the plant for new production.

President Joe Biden visited Belvidere on Thursday, Nov. 9, to celebrate the plans to restart the idled Belvidere auto plant and to support the United Auto Workers (UAW).

The president gave a speech to local UAW leaders at the Community Building Complex of Boone County in Belvidere. Other speakers included Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, UAW President Shawn Fain and Local 1268 President Matt Frantzen, a 30-year veteran of the Belvidere Assembly Plant.

The UAW won an agreement during the strike to again have vehicles built in Belvidere after the plant was closed on March 7, 2023, leaving approximately 1,200 hourly workers either without a job or forced to transfer to another plant far away from Belvidere. The plant is now due to reopen as an assembly plant in 2027, building a new midsize pickup truck. It will also start making batteries for electric vehicles and serve as a parts depot for the company.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Stellantis has committed to invest nearly $5 billion to transform the plant for new production. Some of the details are as follows:

• New midsize pickup: Stellantis will allocate $1.5 billion to enable it to produce 100,000 units of an all-new midsize pickup truck scheduled to begin in 2027 with two shifts.

• EV battery plant: The company plans to spend $3.2 billion to construct an EV battery plant. The plant is expected to create 1,300 jobs and is set to launch in 2028. Stellantis has partnered with another business entity for this venture.

• Distribution center: Stellantis will invest an additional $100 million to create a “megahub” parts distribution center for its Mopar parts. This will reportedly replace existing Mopar parts and distribution centers across the country and close the parts distribution center in Milwaukee as part of the overall agreement.

A spokesperson for Stellantis said the State of Illinois purchased 170 acres of land next to the idled Belvidere plant last July, according to Capitalfax. The acquisition was made in July, 2023 as Pritzker stepped up efforts to save the 5,300,000-square-foot Belvidere plant that once employed 4,500 union workers. The current-idled plant site is on 280 acres.

The reopened auto plant property along with the 170 acres purchased by the State of Illinois, should ensure Belvidere benefits from the fast-growing EV market well into the future.

Stellantis officials, in response to the president’s visit, provided the following statement:

“We stayed true to our commitment to find a solution for the Belvidere Assembly Plant. In the months since the facility was idled, we have been in discussions with Gov. Pritzker and other elected leaders on opportunities to continue our presence in Belvidere.

“Responsibly, we offered employees roles at other locations and packages across our network. As part of negotiations with the UAW, we discussed numerous potential options for the plant, ultimately mutually agreeing on a solution that will secure Stellantis’ future in Belvidere for years to come.”

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