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Toledo mayor and Jeep champion passes

by Bill Cawthon on

The city of Toledo is mourning the loss of its mayor and people working to keep the Wrangler at Chrysler’s Toledo Assembly Complex have lost a champion.


Michael Collins, mayor of Toledo, died today at the University of Toledo Medical Center five days after going into cardiac arrest while driving a city vehicle. He had been on life support since February 1.

Collins, 70, a former police detective, was elected mayor of Toledo in 2013.

Up to the time of his death, Collins worked to keep production of the Jeep Wrangler at the Toledo plant. FCA US says it would be very expensive to build the Wrangler in that plant when it is switched to an aluminum body.

“It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of Mayor Collins,” Marchionne said in a statement today. “On this sad occasion, we recall his long and dedicated service to the City of Toledo and more specifically, his tireless support for the FCA US Toledo Assembly Complex. We will truly miss his leadership and send our deepest sympathy to his family and to the people of Toledo.”

The City of Toledo, the Toledo Blade and Automotive News contributed to this report.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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