Automotive News reports: Wrangler production likely to stay in T - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Automotive News reports: Wrangler production likely to stay in Toledo

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Automotive News has reported that the next-generation Jeep Wrangler will continue to be a body-on-frame vehicle, which means production will likely stay in Toledo. 

This is according to “sources inside and outside of Chrysler with direct knowledge of Chrysler's evolving plans,” AutoNews.com says.Earlier this month, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne suggested the Wrangler may be changed to aluminum unibody production by 2017, which could mean moving production out of Toledo. 

The news, delivered at the Paris Auto Show, created an uproar among Toledo leaders and union members. Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins and Ohio Governor John Kasich met with Marchionne to discuss the future of the Wrangler. 

On Thursday, Mayor Collins said he remains optimistic about the Wrangler's production, but Fiat Chrysler has not confirmed the AutoNews report. Collins says he is scheduled to meet with Marchionne next week.

Despite Chrysler's assurances that Toledo employment levels would be maintained regardless, many have been passionate about keeping the Toledo icon local. The Wrangler has been produced in Toledo for decades and many consider its history to be intertwined with Toledo's.

Union and political leaders, however, believe there are many obstacles to overcome to keep Wrangler in Toledo.

"The real problem is how do you run the Jeep Wrangler, that's such a success and making so much money for the corporation, and build a new facility at the same time?" said Lucas County Commissioner Peter Gerken.

Some are suggesting somebody besides Chrysler could put up buildings for paint and body shops.

"There's lots of ways to do it. Somebody could pay for them and lease them to Chrysler. That's one scenario. We could help Chrysler put together funding backed by the city or county. [There are] all kinds of tools to do those things," said UAW Local 12 President Bruce Baumhower.

"We all need to work together as we have every time our Jeep has been in jeopardy. We have come together as a community, as a workforce, as labor and management and we've figured out how to overcome that. Got to do that again this time" said UAW Region 2-B Director Ken Lortz.

Commissioner Gerken added if any kind of taxpayer money is involved, questions need to be asked such as what is the cost and what do government entities get back in return.

See Toledo News Now's complete coverage of the Wrangler in Toledo here.

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