Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is moving forward with a plan to restructure its manufacturing footprint, abandoning small-car production while emphasizing trucks and utility vehicles, CEO Sergio Marchionne says.

The scheme, which will end production of the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 in the U.S. next year, isn't at all a risky bet on the future of the U.S. truck market, he contends, and actually will add UAW jobs, not reduce them, although there will be temporary layoffs as facilities undergo extensive retooling.

FCA does not detail all the specifics regarding the production shift, but Marchionne confirms Ram truck production will go into the Sterling Heights, MI, plant and the Warren, MI, facility will shift to Jeep production as FCA looks to expand the lineup with upcoming Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models.

Marchionne says Sterling Heights was selected for Ram production because Warren would need “major surgery” to keep building the trucks after 2018, when a new version of the fullsize pickup is due to hit the market.

All the retooling should be completed by 2018, Marchionne says, promising not one unit of profit-driving Jeep or Ram production will be lost during the changeover.

“We will see the whole U.S. manufacturing footprint fully loaded by the early part of 2018,” he says during a conference call with analysts to discuss the automaker’s strong first-quarter financial results. “The next 18 months are crucial, but the work is under way now.”

The strategy to focus on production of trucks and utilities in the U.S. was borne directly out of the self-evaluation exercise that led Marchionne to make a public bid for strategic partnerships with competitors or an outright sale of FCA to another automaker. His pitch, initially made a year ago and aimed directly at General Motors, Ford and a handful of other multinationals, so far has been rebuffed.

But the CEO says the process led to the conclusion it was better for FCA go all-in on more profitable pickups and SUV/CUVs and decrease investment in low-margin small and midsize cars.

“We started focusing on the relevant portion of our activities and sort of abandoned the notion of being able to withstand mediocre performance of some segments simply because of the fact it was due to a higher calling of being an automaker,” he says.