Fiat Chrysler chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne recently declared the Wrangler production costs are higher in Toledo than at other factories even with the overwhelming support from the community.
The incentives offered by the township and the state, alongside the plot of land for the factory’s expansion are still not enough to lower the costs of the upcoming next-generation Jeep Wrangler – which are still higher than at other factories, said Marchionne. The CEO added that Toledo – the historical production site of the Wrangler, ever since the model was just the military Jeep used by the military during WWII – won’t necessarily remain the home of the Wrangler just because the automaker decided to swing back for the next-generation SUV from aluminum to steel. Back in 2014, Marchionne said FCA was mulling a relocation of the next generation Wrangler because the cost of retooling the Toledo factory for producing the model with an aluminum body was higher than at other locations. This May, the company backtracked on the design, with Marchionne announcing the Wrangler would continue with a steel body.
“The thing that you need to be very careful about is thinking that just because we decided to go steel that it makes the decision to stay in Toledo sort of obvious,” commented Marchionne. He added the assembly facility in Toledo, Ohio, had a series of drawbacks that made it difficult for the company to keep it as the home for the iconic SUV. He added a final decision would be made by the end of the summer.