Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, on the eve of the Detroit show, said it would spend US$1bn to modernise two plants in the US Midwest and create 2,000 jobs.

FCA said a plant in Warren, Michigan, near Detroit, would make the Jeep Wagoneer and Jeep Grand Wagoneer SUVs, while a Toledo, Ohio, factory would produce the Jeep pickup.

The company said the production plans in Ohio and Michigan were "subject to the negotiation and final approval of incentives by state and local entities".

Reuters noted FCA's announcement it would retool factories in Ohio and Michigan to build new Jeep sport utility vehicles, including a pickup truck, and potentially move production of a Ram heavy-duty pickup truck to Michigan from Mexico, also highlighted the auto industry's keen interest in getting relief from tough fuel economy rules enacted by the outgoing Obama administration as well as pushing back against incoming president Trump's campaign against making cars for the US in Mexico.

According to the report, General Motors chief executive Mary Barra said tax reform and "streamlining regulations … are just two areas that would be extremely beneficial" for Trump to address. Trump has criticized GM for building cars in Mexico while laying off workers in the United States.

Barra, who is on an advisory committee to Trump, told Reuters on Sunday decisions about where to build specific vehicles are made "two, three, four years ago". Overall, she said of Trump, "we have much more in common than we have different".

Barra had a conversation with Trump on Tuesday, a person briefed on the call told Reuters. Barra declined to discuss her conversations with Trump.

The news agency said many automakers plan to use the annual North American International Auto show in Detroit, which started on Saturday, to tout investments in the United States and a commitment to US employment against the backdrop of Trump's criticism of automakers for shipping vehicles into the US from Mexico.

Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche on Sunday said during a show event the automaker plans to spend another $1.3bn to expand sport utility vehicle (SUV) production at its factory in Alabama.

FCA's investment decisions were not related to Trump's recent attacks on Ford, GM and Toyota Motor for building cars for the U.S. market in Mexico, people familiar with company's moves told Reuters on Sunday.

The company had already signaled plans to expand truck and SUV production at its US plants and discontinue production of small and medium-sized cars in two US factories.

FCA executives did not confer with Trump before making the decision on the new big SUVs and a Jeep pickup truck, according to a person familiar with the company's thinking cited by Reuters.

The same source told the agency FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne wanted to get out the news about adding jobs and investment in the US in case the company encounters more criticism from Trump.

Nonetheless, this year's show takes place in a climate of growing uncertainty about the trade and regulatory policies the new Republican administration will pursue.

Trump, who will be inaugurated on 20 January, has talked about rolling back environmental regulations and supporting corporate tax cuts – moves automakers would welcome.

But he has just as explicitly warned he will move to raise the costs of importing vehicles from Mexico, a policy industry executives have said could hurt their businesses, Reuters noted.

Hinrich Woebcken, VW's chief executive of the North America region, told Reuters on Sunday the automaker plans to spend $7bn in the US between 2015 and 2019 and will start building its new Atlas SUV in Tennessee later this year.

Volkswagen has had a plant in Mexico for 50 years and it is not shifting any jobs to Mexico from the United States.

"We do not make our investment decisions based on administrative cycles. Our business is really an 8-, 12-, 14-year horizon when we look at investments," Woebcken said on the sidelines of the Detroit show.