Toledoans have history, proud connection with Jeep Wrangler

WATCH: "It's a Jeep thing"

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - There's an expression out there that goes like this: "It's a Jeep thing. You wouldn't understand."

At Willys-Overland Motors on Reynolds Road in south Toledo, they understand. The company specializes in selling hard-to-find original Jeep parts and after-market parts. They even have Jeep bodies to bolt onto frames.

When Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne announced Thursday that Jeep Wrangler production may be moved from Toledo in 2017, the news struck a chord with thousands of Toledoans, including those at Willys-Overland.

"According to Eisenhower, we would not have won [World War II] without Jeep. That's a lot to be proud of," said owner Jay Margolies.

He says the vehicle has always been a hometown hero ever since it was first manufactured in Toledo by the Willys-Overland Company.

"The Jeep has been manufactured since World War II, and through the war and ever since, Toledo feels that connection that this is something of ours and everybody is very proud of that," he said.

Shortly after the Wrangler's introduction, production of it was moved to Brampton, Ontario. During that time, Toledo Jeep made Dodge Dakota pickup trucks in its place. Production of the Wrangler came back to Toledo a few years later, in the early '90s.

Margolies says the thought of Wrangler being made anywhere but Toledo is terrible. He claims it would be a risky move for the automaker since sales for the SUV continue to go through the roof.

Get more information on the Jeep Wrangler, including union reaction and past statements from Chrysler here.

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