Not sure if Sergio Marchionne was in the middle of some kind of contract deal or negotiation with the city of Toledo but, it would seem that something happened and that the new 2017 Jeep Wrangler will most likely stay in its historic home of Toledo. Check it out...
Wrangler likely to remain in Toledo
by Bill Cawthon
Automotive News writer Larry Vellequette reports that the next-generation Jeep Wrangler will most likely remain a body-on-frame design and remain in Toledo.
At the Paris Auto Show, which ended last Sunday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said FCA was considering switching the Wrangler to an aluminum body and unibody construction. He also said converting the Toledo plant to produce an aluminum body would be prohibitively expensive and that there was capacity available in two FCA plants to handle unibody assembly.
FCA has just two body-on-frame plants, Toledo and the Warren Truck Plant, both of which are already maxed out.
Marchionne’s remarks directly contradicted the promise he made at the Detroit Auto Show last January that Wrangler production would remain in Toledo. At that time, Marchionne said “…one of the commitments we’ve made is never to produce a Wrangler outside of Toledo….”
The news was a bombshell: Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins and representatives of Ohio Governor John Kasich immediately set up discussions aimed at keeping the iconic Wrangler in the Northeastern Ohio city. They met in Auburn Hills on October 9.
Jeep loyalists were also upset: a steel body is superior to aluminum for severe use, such as demanding off-road trails, and the strength of body-on-frame construction is integral to the Wrangler’s capabilities.
However, FCA is faced with the same challenges as every other automaker: the need to reduce weight to improve fuel economy. Ford’s switch to an aluminum body for its F-150 pickup shaved hundreds of pounds off the trucks weight.
Vellequette writes that knowledgeable sources inside and outside of the company are saying the Wrangler will remain a body-on-frame design though it’s likely there will be a switch to an aluminum body.
On Tuesday of this week, the Toledo city council approved the purchase of 32 acres of land near the plant. While it is assumed the purchase is intended to help keep the Wrangler in Toledo, city officials and Chrysler declined to comment.
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