By on April 14, 2015

Jeep Wranglers Coming Down The Line In Toledo

The fate of Toledo, Ohio holding onto the Jeep factory may be decided not on incentives or land acquisition, but by what happens with the supplier park.

The Detroit News reports the deciding factor on whether Jeep stays in Toledo involves the current business arrangement with the factory’s supplier park. Back in 2006, the park came about when FCA US — then DaimlerChrysler — didn’t want to spend too much capital on building the then-new four-door Wrangler Unlimited. Thus, it struck a deal with suppliers Mobis North America and Kuka Systems to build the body and chassis, which would then be handed off to Magna International to be painted, and then onto Jeep for final assembly. FCA US bought the paint operations from Magna in 2012, and may wish to buy the rest of the process from Mobis and Kuka.

In the meantime, city officials have presented FCA US and its CEO Sergio Marchionne with a so-called “aggressive” incentive plan to keep the Wrangler in Toledo, which includes unspecified state and local tax credits and other financial incentives to expand or build a new facility on 100 acres of land purchased and cleaned by the city for over $7 million. The plan was presented in mid-March, and FCA US is expected to make the final decision on Toledo’s fate by June of this year.

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53 Comments on “Fate Of Jeep In Toledo Rests On Supplier Park, Partnerships...”


  • avatar
    raph

    Aggressive incentive package huh? Must be nice to be able to legally hold an entire city hostage and demand tribute.

    I wonder how much the citizens of Toledo were fleeced for?

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Entire city?

      Try County and State too. The incentive package presented to FCA had money from Toledo, Lucas County Port Authority, and JobsOhio. Segio isn’t going to move production, he just wants all the money from everyone.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        Agreed. If FCA shut down this plant, it’d be like a baseball bat to the head of the city, and it’s endured enough of that kind of thing.

        VERY bad PR, particularly for a brand that’s so strongly identified with American patriotism. It’d sure piss me off.

        • 0 avatar
          Lorenzo

          The Belvidere, Illinois plant is, I believe, FCA’s second largest after Windsor, and it’s under-utilized. The Jeep Grand Cherokee and current Durango are already assembled at Jefferson North, not Toledo.

          The Dart, Compass and Patriot are assembled in Belvidere, and the latter two Jeeps are being discontinued after 2016, leaving only the Dart in a 5 million square foot plant. Expect Sergio to use that to squeeze even more concessions.

        • 0 avatar
          pja48142

          But FCA doesn’t plan to “shut down” the plant. It’s just Wrangler production we are talking about. The Cherokee would still be built here, and FCA could move other vehicle production here. It’s ego. The Toledo/Lucas County pols are willing to pay to keep the Wrangler here instead of saying “we know jobs won’t leave, so maybe someone else will pay you to build the Wrangler”.

  • avatar
    Sammy B

    State and local. So the pols in columbus are finding some $$ for FCA too. I live near Cleveland and will be giving a few pennies to Sergio’s ransom as well.

    To be clear I understand that we have to do this and accept it to keep the factory. I just hate the circumstance

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I’m sure people from down state gave money to keep Cleveland Engine open. It surely wasn’t the same amount of money though. Just have the state cops write more traffic tickets to Michigan, and other out of state, drivers. Pass that cost on to me.

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        No we just got two more eco boost engines at cleveland engine 1 and it was an all ford decision

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          Ford consolidated engine production there because it’s a good facility.

          Don’t pretend like the State of Ohio hasn’t given tax credits to Ford for that plant though. When Ford started ramping up production of the 3.5TT and 3.5 NA V6, the state of Ohio gave over $8 million of tax credits for Ford investing in Cleveland and Lima. I’m not killing Ohio for it. Ford invested $100 million in those two plants so it was probably worth it.

          The money Sergio is holding Toledo, Lucas County, and Ohio hostage for makes $8 million seem like peanuts.

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            And Lucas County was doing well back in the day, but now we barely have a pot to p1$$ in for capital expenditures and the like; I’ve worked in a certain branch of Lucas County government for 22 years this October, and we’re as thin as I’ve ever seen it. (And no, I’m not a typical government “worker”–I get more done before 11:00am Monday than some of my colleagues do all week!)

            The adage of “when Detroit sneezes, Toledo gets a cold” is certainly true! However, the increased income taxes (which were just raised) and side revenue will help things somewhat. And I think we will still realize revenue from the existing piece of TNAP itself, the major component; please correct me if I’m wrong.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    Allow me to make several points, as follows (Warning – do not read further if you are allergic to potentially different opinions than your own, suffer confirmation bias, and/or can’t handle the truth):

    1) Should FCA (aka Sergio) decide to move Wrangler production from Toledo and/or in any way significantly revamp the method by which it’s produced in an attempt to allow FCA to capture far more (all?) of the profits stemming from its assembly (even going so far as to vertically integrate production of what are relatively simple components and subsystems using FCAs significant, global resources), it will reverberate through what is now the most steadfastly loyal customer base like the proverbial 7 signs of the Apocalypse.

    2) Yet Sergio may boldly go where no prior head of Jeep (via stewardship of FCA) has dared to go before, treading not very lightly at all.

    3) I have been seeing more Cherokees on the road lately, and I’ll just call this spade a spade; These are plain ugly, ungainly vehicles, in a very Nissan Rogue having offspring with a Hyundai Santa Fe type way, and it’s only because of the timing of the white hot CUV/AWD market at present that this thing hasn’t flopped completely. In fact, an automaker would have to actively work to sabotage its own CUV designs for any such product to NOT sell briskly at the moment (maybe a Hello Kitty edition?), as robust sales of even the hideous Nissan Rogue prove.

    4) I’ve just now started to see Renegades on the road in significant numbers, and while not as wart-like as their brethren Cherokees, these too are disappointing in the flesh from an aesthetic standpoint, appearing far more feminine/”chick car” in person than in pictures.

    5) I really do not care for the products or DNA that FCA has brought to the Jeep party (or Dodge or Chrysler party, for that matter), yet so far, it would appear the market disagrees with me. Yet, it’s still too early to draw any long term conclusions or make any long term forecasts about the likelihood of sustainable high volume sales of either the Renegade or Cherokee, IMO.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      p.s. –

      6) One may get away with wearing Jorts in either the deep, deep south, or on the factory floor, but not many other places.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      All I can say is, too bad, DW. Aerodynamics have become critical in auto design due to fuel economy requirements. Despite the low fuel prices now, they’ve been rising at a slow but steady rate since their low figure back in Nov/Dec. On average, they’re about 30¢ per gallon higher now and a ‘big picture’ look at the oil industry indicates a continued rise for most of the year. As such, even–or rather especially with Jeep, the SUVs need to improve fuel economy any way they can, both through aerodynamics and engine/transmission choices.

      You say you don’t like the look of the Cherokee. Well, that’s fine; you don’t have to buy one either. However, when the Cherokee came out it encouraged a near-25% increase in overall Jeep sales, cannibalizing very few sales from Jeep’s other models. The new Renegade appears ready to do it again, and through a certain fan site have read (with photos) of a Renegade taking some of the Old West stagecoach trails with Jeep’s typical aplomb. A Jeep doesn’t have to be a rock-crawler or a deep mudder to be a true Jeep and the Renegade has already proven itself in the hands of an old-school Jeeper. If you ask me, Jeep has another winner on its hands.

      As for any new model of Wrangler, it too needs something more than a mere facelift. Achieving any decent kind of fuel economy in the Wrangler requires a much more streamlined shape and new engine/tranny combos. Yes, it is possible to achieve 25mpg in one, if you effectively hypermile and travel as much as 20mph below the speed limit on freeways. I managed it one time in an ’08 model by driving 650 miles at 55mph on the freeway. With a more raked grill, raked windshield and some rounded edges, we could probably gain about 20% on the rated economy and with a more economical engine and a 6- to 9-speed transmission we could perhaps see an additional 20% improvement, making 30mpg a distinct possibility. Losing about 800 pounds of weight would help too.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        Fuel prices will fall through the summer. We have too much oil and not enough storage for all of it.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Do, please, forgive me if I choose not to agree with you. The evidence I’m seeing is a rise in prices along with articles pointing out that the supply vs storage is getting better balanced, which means more increase in prices, not a reduction.

      • 0 avatar
        mikeg216

        Actually the big picture for oil is flat demand and prices for the future

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I’m betting on higher prices; not even a flat or declining price.

          • 0 avatar
            Firestorm 500

            Your information is old. Check yesterday’s news. The refineries are coming out of their maintenance period. They are just about finished changing over from winter to summer blends.

            They will lower prices to increase demand. Prices are already decreasing in my area.

    • 0 avatar
      dbar1

      3) It hilarious how butt-hurt you are about the HUGE sales success the Cherokee is. Over 16k-ish a month while the Wrangler is holding steady at 15k-ish a month. People like it, get over yourself. You are an armchair car reviewer, not the right hand of God deciding what cars are good or bad.
      4) The renegade just came on sale, stop talking. Drown yourself.
      5) You dont like awesome materials, fresh designs, better quality, better performing, more fuel efficient vehicles? Why? Because Japan isnt building it and ….’Murica is? Yes, it’s your opinion, and per usual, your antiquated view of the Big 3 from the 80’s screws your perception of reality.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        “You dont like awesome materials, fresh designs, better quality, better performing, more fuel efficient vehicles? Why? Because Japan isnt building it and ….’Murica is?”

        LOL!

        Remind me to tip you! Should I try the veal?

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        Fiat is the STD of the automotive world.

        500 = garbage

        Renegade = garbage

        Cherokee = garbage

        Dart = garbage

        200 = garbage

        Who brought crabs to the party?

        Fix it again, Tony.

        The more things change…

        • 0 avatar
          dbar1

          The more things change? So they were supposed to continue using Diamler’s 15 year old platforms?

          You should be an auto-exec!

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Have you, by chance, noticed that when you make a recommendation about cars, the people you advise do the exact opposite?

          Maybe you should actually drive some of these vehicles you’re calling “garbage”. From what I’m reading elsewhere, the models are surprising everyone with just how capable they are within their design constraints. The Fiat 500 itself, for example, is remarkably capable compared to its ancestor.

          • 0 avatar
            DeadWeight

            “Have you, by chance, noticed that when you make a recommendation about cars, the people you advise do the exact opposite?”

            Yeah, they can barely make those Caddy ATSs, CTSs & SRXs fast enough!

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Well, at least he trolls everyone.

      But I’m going to agree partially with the point that Jeep buyers might care about moving the plant from Toledo, but not for the reason DW gives. I don’t think the majority of Jeep buyers would care where they’re made, as long as it’s in the United States.

      No, I think the real impact would be with ALL buyers of FCA products, and the effects would involve the entire company. Shutting down the Toledo plant would be a huge blow to a beleaguered city, and that’s going to look really, really bad for a company who has “imported from Detroit” as one of its taglines. That might turn quite a few buyers off. I might even be one of them.

      The Wrangler is a very strong seller for FCA, and it’s an iconic vehicle. I’m going to guess it’s a huge profit maker for them. FCA needs to do the right thing by a town that’s played a huge role in their turnaround.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        I was just reading what happened to the Kenosha AMC plant after Chrysler took over. The plan was to shutter older, obsolet plants and get lean, even if sales were lost during boom years. It was (supposedly) a choice of Kenosha or St. Louis, and Kenosha’s antiquated plant (a former Simmons Mattress plant) was shut down, even after putting out best quality Omnis and Horizons, and even the RWD 5th Avenue models.

        The original pre-Jeep Willys Overland factory is long gone, and even the post-WW2 production in Toledo South was shut down in favor of Toledo North, so it’s nothing like antiquated, but the lesson of the Kenosha shut down is that automakers don’t care much about local impacts and will do what makes the most money long term. Incentives can delay the reckoning, as they did with Canadian GM plants, but long term, the automakers are going to do what they want to do.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Cherokee’s grown on me over time — with that said, that front end needs to be more conventional. And they are doing quite well. (So is the Wrangler, though how much of that is the CAFE writing on the wall?)

      And I saw some Renegades on a carrier today — what! A!! Joke!! Your description is apt!

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    The total number of people outside Toledo who a)know Wranglers are built there; and b)give a damn where Wranglers are built as long as it’s somewhere in this country, could probably fit inside one.

    As for your comments about Cherokee, I know you’re in good company and you can’t argue taste. We can agree to disagree.

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      You do not understand Wrangler buyers (and I’m not speaking of just the enthusiasts, of which there are many).

      They make Ford F150 buyers seem like fair weather customers.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Toledo doesn’t matter. If the Wrangler continues to be made in the US, people won’t complain. It’s a moot point anyway since it’s not moving. Toledo/Lucas County/Ohio have the most to lose. The offer will probably reflect that.

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        As long as Wrangler production doesn’t move outside continental North America, I doubt very few people would even notice, and sales would not be affected at all. Really, moving from Toledo to Michigan is gonna hurt them? Not at all.

      • 0 avatar
        seth1065

        DW,
        I think you may be missing the point, maybe this people who have been buying the “new Jeeps” are not Jeep people, they are either new to the brand or just shopping a cheap lease, I doubt most renegade buyers will have owned a Jeep in the past. The Wrangler crowd that I know of are middle age rich people who buy one for the experience of having something different. They are popular in metro NY and there is no reason they :should be” but they are and those folk could not find Toledo on a map, much less car where it is made. People do not care if MB are made in Germany or the deep south, I doubt people would care if Vets are made in Bowling Green or Green Bay. The only people who would care have a stake in the location, the workers and the local people who gain from the plant being where it is, and that is a very very very small amount of people in the overall picture.

        PS- Thank you for not a word about Caddy and I mean that sincerely.

        • 0 avatar
          Firestorm 500

          Shhhhhhhhhhhh!

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          @seth1065: Before you go too far out on a limb, my friend, I suggest you go look up “toasterjeep dot com” to see who is buying some of these new Renegades.

          While you may be right that in the long run most Renegade owners won’t have owned a Jeep in the past, the same can be said of most current Cherokee owners, and they seem to be very appreciative of their purchase.

          Meanwhile, the Renegade is proving itself TO old-school Jeepers, one of whom now owns a red Renegade and took it down old trails in Nevada before even the new-car smell wore off. And yes, like most Jeeps, it already has ‘trail rash’ to prove it wasn’t exactly babied on that run.

          • 0 avatar
            seth1065

            Valpine,
            I will check out the site, my point was a very high percent of the new jeep models sales will be to first time Jeep owners, Renegade or Cherokee fits that bill I am sure some Jeep folks want a small Jeep, I have no skin in the game, the only Jeep I would consider would be GC oil burner but I am not a truck guy, I am sure the new FCA Jeeps can go off road and earn their trail rash just not sure how many people would ever do that, at least here in the north east.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I’m one of those northeastern Jeepers, Seth. I’m really hoping for a Gladiator-type pickup from Jeep in a couple years but if necessary, I’ll be selecting a Renegade as my next Jeep. I need to get out from under this poorly-designed Daimler Jeep Wrangler. It took me 50K miles to discover it, but I’ve finally experienced the dreaded “Death Wobble” and while I’ve got it minimized, I can’t quite get rid of it.

          • 0 avatar

            Should’ve put those smooth bolts in while you had the chance, eh? Seriously though, I thought something had to let the track rod to move to get the DW. Otherwise you could get the shakes, but not DW. We have guys with lifted TJs in a local club that push 200k with no problem. I’m on ~72k right now.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            For whatever reason, only the JK Wranglers experience this so-called Death Wobble. My personal opinion is that it has something to do with the alignment–as caster is supposed to be a factor in steering stability. The way the Daimler worked around it was by putting a steering damper on the rod, but by ‘feel’ it seems that there’s just enough nose-down pitch to destabilize it. I just loaded it with about 200 pounds of materiel behind the back seat, causing it to sit down a bit in back and the wibble went away. I’m wondering if a 2″ lift and maybe a couple of spring rubbers in the front coils might not just balance the suspension enough to finish the job.

            Officially, nobody as yet has determined the cause, even eight years after the model was released.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            Vulpine,

            TJ Wranglers experience death wobble too. Actually, any solid front axle vehicle is susceptible to this – all it takes is some wear in the front end components and some event at just the right frequency to “excite” the front end. I experienced death wobble on the ’76 F-150 I owned a long time ago. So far so good on both of my TJs though – worst I ever had was some slight shimmy from poorly balanced tires.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      You are right. No one cares that the Wrangler is made in Toledo. If it’s not made there, Sergio will just move it to Sterling Heights. The State of Michigan and Macomb County will have a pile of cash for him.

    • 0 avatar
      Frank Galvin

      I think people will give a damn – particularly if this announced soon. If FCA makes the motions to pull out – think of the resulting bleepstorm in the middle of a presidential campaign. Ohio is the swingiest of swing states and FCA was the recipient of bailout largesse. This will be big news – even if production is moved to another state with UAW jobs preserved – the democrats will use this to whip up their base.

    • 0 avatar
      seth1065

      Gotta agree with Jpolicke here, most of the folks I know on the east coast who have bought Jeeps have no idea where they are made, and truth be told the only reason I know is I drove by the plant on my way to Motor city last year, it production stays in the US no one will care.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        My comment about Toledo has to do ONLY with the Wrangler, not the Fiat-based chick CUVs.

        The Wrangler is Americana, all things hard-core mudders, and the Toledo Plant has an affiliation with WWII at that.

        No one cares where a Fiat Renegade or Fiat Cherokee is made, but moving JEEP Wrangler production will cause backblow for Sergio.

  • avatar
    Aquineas

    Isn’t Mobis Hyundai?

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    It’s already a done deal folks, along with the new factory comes the jeep gladiator pickup on the stretched unlimited chassis that they use for the jp8

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      You have proof, Mike? Because I know of a LOT of people hoping for something like the Gladiator–myself included.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I’ve come to accept anything that’s not a cute-ute is nothing more than Vaporware for the Jeep brand. The H3T is possibly the only Hummer that swayed a single hardcore wrangler owner so a Jeep Pickup would be a very smart move. Unfortunately unless the Wrangler moves production, Toledo gets a big expansion, or the Cherokee production moves, it’s probably not going to happen.

  • avatar
    Joss

    I like the Wrangler, I just don’t like the price That’s the other way they’re cashing-in. The used market’s very firm.

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