To get its Toledo Assembly Complex ready for the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles needs to go dark for a little while, meaning extended vacays for thousands of employees.
The proper term would be “temporary layoff,” but in an autoworker’s life, a job you know you can go back to makes these hassles forgivable. In this case, Toledo needs six months to retool.
According to The Toledo Blade, the last day of production of the Jeep Cherokee is April 7, after which the unibody SUV moves to a new home in Belvidere, Illinois. The Cherokee’s assembly line will then be converted to body-on-frame production.
Between unemployment insurance and FCA unemployment benefits, laid-off workers should be able to replace almost all of their take-home pay. The automaker claims all workers will return, and 700 more will be added, when the line reopens.
Production of the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited will continue uninterrupted. In December, Bruce Baumhower, president of United Auto Workers Local 12, told The Blade that production of the 2018 Wrangler will begin in November. Pre-production models should appear “much earlier.”
Baumhower claimed the current-generation Wranglers will cease production in March 2018. After that, the old line will convert to production of the next-generation Wrangler pickup.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]