US: Toledo tries to lure back FCA into building the next Wrangler there image

The City of Toledo has made another move in its strategy to make sure the Jeep plant would get the necessary expansion to be ready to produce the aluminum-intensive next generation Jeep Wrangler.

The local plant, workers, unions and city officials have been scrambling to set up a strategy to keep the historic production of the Jeep Wrangler in Toledo after last year Fiat Chrysler Automobiles chief executive officer Sergio Marchionne said it didn’t make sense to keep the Wrangler production there because of the massive costs incurred by an expansion that would accommodate the new generation, planned to follow in the footsteps of Ford’s F-150 pickup truck and make extensive use of the lighter aluminum. Now the city’s officials recently approved a plan to buy more land to be prepared if the plant needs to be expanded during a possible upgrade. Toledo’s City Council agreed to spend $1.5 million to purchase 17 residential properties in order to make the necessary room and add the new area to the land it has already bought in a bid to convince FCA US to keep Wrangler production there.

The city will buy the land and have ready for the Toldeo plant another 105 acres of adjacent land for the Toledo Assembly Complex – the automaker said it was facing production constraints and was worried about the costs of upgrading the factory to build the aluminum bodied Wrangler. The proposal by the city and the state of Ohio would allow FCA US to lift Wrangler production from the current 240,000 units to 350,000 – also helping the company avoid the costly plant shutdown needed to make the model changeover.