Chrysler Group plans to spend US$500m of the US$1.7bn cost of developing a new generation Jeep SUV at the Toledo assembly plant in Ohio that will build it from 2013. The automaker will add a second production shift, about 1,100 jobs, bringing total employment at the complex to over 2,800.
Chrysler chairman and CEO Sergio Marchionne said the new Jeep D-segment SUV would be built at Toledo for sale world-wide.
The $500m spend at the plant includes a 260,000 sq ft expansion of the existing body shop and upgrades to all other areas. Chrysler will also add a 26,000 sq ft Metrology centre which will help improve vehicle quality by verifying key measurements to ensure accurate fit and finish. The remainder of the $1.7bn will be spent on other group facilities in the US, supplier tooling and other related development costs.
Work on the plant will begin in the fourth quarter of 2011 and continue throughout 2012. Toledo North currently builds the Jeep Liberty/Cherokee and Dodge Nitro.
The second shift is scheduled to begin in the third quarter of 2013.
The Toledo assembly plant was built in 1942 and Chrysler acquired it from Autolite in 1964 for use as a machining and engine plant.
In 1981, it was converted for vehicle production, building the Jeep Grand Wagoneer until the summer of 1991. The facility became the Toledo Assembly Plant when Chrysler Corporation acquired American Motors Corporation (AMC) in August 1987.
In autumn 1997, Toledo North was built for the Jeep Liberty/Cherokee which launched in April 2001. The 2007 Dodge Nitro launched in August 2006 and the 2008 Liberty/Cherokee launched in July 2007.
In 2005, the Toledo supplier park was built to include body, paint and chassis operations in partnership with Kuka, Magna and OMMC, respectively, in brand new buildings on the same site as Toledo North Assembly and the former Stickney Assembly with Chrysler handling the final assembly of all three major components for the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited.
Production of the 2011 Wrangler began in August 2010. In the first quarter of 2011, Chrysler Group assumed responsibility for the paint operations, previously managed by Magna.