US: FCA decides to keep next generation Wrangler in Toldeo image

Following almost a year of uncertainty, it appears that Jeep’s iconic Wrangler model will continue to be produced in its historic manufacturing location – Toledo, Ohio.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles – with chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne initiating a storm last year when he said costs were too high to retool Toledo for the advanced new generation Wrangler – seems to have found a way to retain the iconic model’s birthplace, though the Toledo complex has lost the production of the upcoming generation of the top selling Jeep Cherokee. The carmaker now wants the production of the Wrangler to be shifted to the north side of its Toledo Assembly Complex, where the Cherokee is currently manufactured – though the loss could be mitigated by an upcoming pickup truck based on the upcoming Wrangler.

The Cherokee, a best seller for the brand will need a new home – the two most popular and probable choices could be the Sterling Heights Assembly facility – which handles the output of the Chrysler 200 – or the Belvidere, Illinois plant where the Dodge Dart is produced. Both the 200 and Dart sedans are actually constructed using versions of the platform used to also underpin the Cherokee.

“We found a solution that accommodates a variety of other interests to us because of the way in which we can move some product around,” Marchionne said during a recent interview. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (to know) that the only way I can move around the Wrangler is to move it into the other Toledo plant.”

According to the latest reports, a formal announcement on the matter would only be issued once the contract negotiations with the UAW union are finished and the internal process of approval is complete. The Toledo North plant would be retooled for the production of the upcoming Wrangler sometimes next summer.