Jeep’s presence in Toledo, Ohio, began with the Toledo Steamer company. John Willys bought the huge plant for Overland in 1907 (resulting in Owen Skelton’s flight to Packard.) The current Jeep Liberty plant, “Toledo North,” is on the site of the former Grand Wagoneer plant; it was built in 2001, at the cost of $1.2 billion. The 2.1 million square foot plant started out with 2,969 employees.
On the day of this tour, November 16, 2011, Chrysler said it would invest $1.7 billion to build the replacement for the Jeep® Liberty, starting in 2013. A $500 million upgrade of the Toledo Assembly Complex (Ohio) will add a second shift of production, or about 1,100 jobs, raising employment close to its original number. Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne, Ohio Governor John Kasich, U.S. Representative Marcy Kaptur, Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, and UAW Regional Director Ken Lortz were on hand at the event.
Marchionne confirmed that the new Jeep D-segment SUV would be built in the Toledo facility for export to markets all over the world.
The Toledo plant will get a 260,000-square-foot expansion of the body shop and a state-of-the-art, 26,000-square-foot Metrology Center, which will help improve quality by verifying key measurements. The remainder of the $1.7 billion will be invested in other Chrysler Group facilities in the U.S., supplier tooling and other related development costs.
Work on the plant will begin in 2011 and continue into 2012. The second shift will not begin until the third quarter of 2013, and applications are being taken only at www.chryslercareers.com.
Going down the line were both RHD and LHD models of the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro. We were surprised to see the Nitro (whose engine has long ago left production) on the line; most of the vehicles were Libertys. Each one had a paper which described the car and some of its key options.
Photographer Greg Horvath wrote that Chrysler was “Very accommodating! They went out of their way to make sure everyone in the media was getting what they needed. I just talked to the chief photographer at the Blade and he agreed. It drew a ton of media from Detroit and CNBC as well. They covered it live on TV locally.”
Also see... Factory photos: 2009 Dodge Ram - 1995 Neon - Chrysler LeBaron Convertible - Newark Assembly Plant
Working at the plant: Dave Tyjeski (2009), Bill Wetherholt (2009), Matt Wetherholt (2009), Views (2002), Teamwork (1998)
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