By on December 28, 2020

customized Jeeps

Customized Jeeps direct from the factory? That could be a possibility.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is building a $23 million vehicle customization facility with Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator production nearby at their Toledo Assembly Complex.

customized Jeeps

According to a story in the Toledo Blade, Toledo mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz announced a pending purchase agreement with FCA, saying he will present legislation to the city council to authorize the sale and redevelopment of the former Textileather and MedCorp properties. They want to sell the property to FCA for $1 as an incentive for FCA’s proposed investment. FCA then plans to build a 250,000-square-foot facility to be operated by a supplier, employing more than 300 people.

customized Jeeps

“This is major economic development win for Toledo,” Mr. Kapszukiewicz said. In exchange for the reduced sale price, the city intends to authorize tax increment financing for the property prior to the sale. That will allow any increase in property tax revenue from the redevelopment to fund public improvements. “The city will use the economic development tool to recoup its $6.8 million investment into the site over a period of time.” FCA will also provide the city with a buy-back option, allowing the city to repurchase the property for $1 should the automaker not develop the property within four years.

customized Jeeps“Jeep has a special connection and history with Toledo. We appreciate the city council’s consideration of this proposal and would like to thank the city and the mayor’s office for all of their efforts,”  said Kevin E. Frazier, FCA spokesman.

customized Jeeps

Bruce Baumhower, president of UAW Local 12, which represents about 6,000 employees at the assembly complex, said, “The market for Jeep customizations such as bigger tires, bigger roll bars, different lights, customized running boards, and logos or customized paint jobs is growing rapidly, and soon that work can happen just across the street.”

customized Jeeps

Textileather Corp. manufactured vinyl fabric for the auto industry for decades until the company closed its doors in 2009. The adjacent property utilized by MedCorp, an ambulance service provider, closed in 2013, leaving two buildings available for redevelopment. Assembly Complex had limited space to grow, which became an issue when FCA began exploring expansion or relocation of its Jeep Wrangler production to meet growing global demand.  In 2014, the city started acquiring property for an incentive to persuade FCA to continue building Jeeps in Toledo.

customized Jeeps

Ultimately, the city was able to put together a 40-acre site ready for development. Toledo city councilman Rob Ludeman, who supported the city’s move to acquire the parcels six years ago, said, “It’s going to be a big boost to the economy as far as the number of jobs. It also keeps the brand more unified in Toledo since they’re going to customize Jeeps for people all over the country.”

[Images: FCA]

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21 Comments on “Customized Jeeps From the Factory?...”


  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Liability will end this. Aftermarket equipment is too risky when your an attractive target like Stellantis. It’s a lawyers dream paycheck.
    Best to let customization occur at dealer level, small shops and consumers.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      Modifications would have to be authorized by company engineers and liability lawyers. A 5 inch lift with 35’s, winches, cargo racks etc. shouldn’t have much risk attached to them.
      The Power Wagon already has a slight lift and a winch. The Bronco is coming with a 35 or 37 inch wheel option. The Raptor has been around a long time.

      Auto companies want to cash in on the lucrative aftermarket industry.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        ^^This, if I’m not mistaken Jeep has more aftermarket modifications available then any other vehicle. I can see where FCA would want a part of that action with the added bonus of any aftermarket accessories being covered by the factory warranty

    • 0 avatar
      multicam

      “ FCA then plans to build a 250,000-square-foot facility to be operated by a supplier, employing more than 300 people.”

      Re: liability, there has been speculation that the “supplier” referenced in this quote would exist to create a legal buffer for FCA. This way the vehicle manufacturer isn’t installing that lift and winch, it’s a third party.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      I’m from the Toledo area, and I couldn’t figure this out either! It seems like they’re trying to take the dealer out of part of it, but OTOH, this goes against the “you can only have the best price if you order from stock” paradigm which has pervaded the auto market since the ‘80s!

      Are they actually going to be good with letting more people build a vehicle to order, and then deck it out further, before the vehicle is even delivered? Or are they just going to shove vehicles at the dealers with extra gingerbread, and the buyer will be forced to take whatever’s in stock, with the ADM sticker and all other warts included?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      They can run it through a shell company to protect against this, i.e. Jeep Customizations LLC.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “Aftermarket equipment is too risky when your an attractive target like Stellantis. It’s a lawyers dream paycheck.”

      It doesn’t have to be that way.

      If the mods are fully and carefully engineered to the same standards as the vehicle, and if the engineers can prove they did their due diligence (instead of just welding $#!t together and selling it), they should be fine.

      Now, there probably are limits to what they’ll do. They’ll probably do popular high-markup mods, and not the extreme mods. They should also avoid mods that their engineers recommend against, which may be a lot of them.

      But, the resulting vehicle will probably be much better overall than what a driveway tinkerer will come up with.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    Customized Jeep… hmmm… make mine with:
    • A Sierra hoodline
    • A Camaro roofline
    • Concealed door hinges
    • Leave the squared-off wheel arches alone (maybe add lights there)

    Ooops, looks like someone is way ahead of me:
    https://tinyurl.com/yb99r8z6

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Yeah automakers are licking their chops, watching the darn aftermarket, plus upfitters make an absolute killing off their backs.

    As the auto aftermarket continues to grow exponentially, automakers are no doubt feeling the sting of lost, missing and stagnating sales that for many years have gone to fixing, restoring, customizing and otherwise keeping old cars/trucks on the road and avoiding new vehicles altogether.

    Bringing an old car or truck back to life, or just giving one new life, hasn’t really kept up with inflation, thanks to the aftermarket’s competitiveness.

    A few years ago I went to buy a new power-steering pump for my F-150 (yes new, not rebuilt), and when the counter person said $36 bucks, I thought it was a mistake. I said I’ll take the upgrade one. She said that’s just the one.

    It’s still in the truck, still good. What I mean is you could do a full restore or resto-mod on an IROC-z with 700 HP and still have enough cash left over for a new Kia to commute in, vs just a new Camaro SS.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    I bet the dealerships are fighting this. They make a lot of money off these mods.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      This does seem to be the kind of thing best handled at the local level, IE: your local dealer which sells and installs licensed Jeep accessories with a warranty.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Depends on the dealer.

        The local GMC dealer who always has approximately 75 BOF GMC vehicles in inventory at any given time generally has 3 to 4 Rocky Ridge trucks on the front row. https://www.rockyridgetrucks.com/ That’s a dealer that doesn’t do their own customization.

        One of the locally owned tire shops does a brisk business in accessories as well. Leveling kits, lift kits, brush guards, winches, toneau covers, etc… Their lobby/showroom/waiting area was filled with tires 5 or 6 years ago – now it’s filled with accessories on display and catalogs.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @JMII – It all depends on the local dealership and their goodwill. I had a buddy who had a dealer installed lift on his Jeep. He kept breaking rear shock mounts which are a stock component. The dealer washed their hands of it blaming the aftermarket parts even though they installed them. He went to an off-road shop who called the lift manufacturer. They found that his rear springs weren’t up to spec. All was corrected by the aftermarket shop no charge to my friend. Needless to say, he won’t set foot on that dealer’s property ever again.

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    “…reduced sale price…”?! AKA ‘Giveaway Price.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    This is nickel and dime stuff. High margin but different for every customer, lots of administrative work and more trouble than its worth. Manufacturers want to build the same thing over and over, not onesy twosy customer crap. There’s no money in it, it’s just a hassle.
    Here’s a thought – build some competitive, compelling vehicles at mass market prices and get to work.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      The counterargument is that this allows FCA/Stellantis to own more of the value chain and, as a result, harvest more of the profits.

      Another way to own more of the value chain would be to buy one of their suppliers. Those suppliers are the “real” car companies in many ways (the brands we all think of are just the last couple of links in a global value chain), so that might not be possible.

  • avatar
    Super555

    Hay guys where can I add un sprung weight and make the center of gravity higher?

  • avatar
    iNeon

    Selling Dealership: “This is a new Jeep, with a new Jeep warranty.”

    Servicing Dealership: “These aftermarket parts have voided your Jeep’s warranty.”

  • avatar
    Avid Fan

    So what are the payments on my “punisher” spare tire cover?

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