The iconic Jeep Wrangler won’t be produced in other plants except its historic home in Toledo, Ohio, said Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne. Even though demand for the off-roader is at record levels, Jeep will continue to make the Wrangler only in Toledo.
The same plant will be receiving a $500 million investment to build the next generation of the Jeep Liberty, so expanding Wrangler capacity will take „money, effort and time”, according to Marchionne.
“This plant has been at the heart of what we’ve done. I’ve said publicly that I would never build the Wrangler outside the U.S. and outside of Toledo. These are things that are unthinkable – to assemble a Wrangler somewhere else,” Marchionne added.
The CEO’s remarks came as a reply to Jeep brand CEO Mike Manley, who said in September that Chrysler was exploring the possibility of making Jeep vehicles in China. He then added that the Compass, Patriot and Wrangler were strong candidates for Chinese production.
Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited recorded sales of 101,820 units in the first ten months of 2011, up 28 percent over the same period in 2010. Production of the two models also rose 11 percent to 141,816 units, from 127,354 a year earlier.
The Toledo plant is getting closer to its maximum capacity of 160,000 vehicles a year, even though it operates on two shifts with frequent overtime.