What Jeep Is Doing With a $1 Billion Investment
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has announced a plan to invest over $1 billion to boost Jeep production at two Midwest assembly plants. The plan is to restructure the Toledo North and Belvidere plants in order to make more Jeep Wranglers and Grand Cherokees in 2017. Enthusiasts across the globe welcome the news as Jeep prepares to produce more SUVs, crossovers, and trucks. The move is also nostalgic for fans who are swooning over Jeep getting back to its roots.
Karl Probst, a freelance automotive engineer, designed the first military Jeep in 1940. Probst drafted the design in less than 24 hours, and the prototype he created was a military Jeep that weighed over 1,840 pounds.
Willys-Overland Motor Company of Toledo, Ohio, signed the contract to produce Jeep’s groundbreaking new invention in 1941. Ford Motor Company and Willys-Overland produced over 637,000 Jeeps during World War II, and the rest is history. As a result, Jeep’s early history as a tough war vehicle and a fast-moving ambulance for injured World War II soldiers is forever ingrained in the fabric of the nation.
New Jobs at the Toledo North Plant
The Jeep brand has been a front runner in sales for Fiat Chrysler, accounting for 42.5 percent of the company’s total car sales in the United States. The Toledo North Plant will receive $700 million to manufacture the next generation Jeep Wrangler. Fiat Chrysler’s investment will make room for 700 new jobs in Toledo. The announcement is good news for the Toledo North plant, since the production of the Jeep Cherokee will move to Belvidere, Illinois, in 2017.
The Toledo South plant will focus on making the new Jeep pickup truck, which has a projected release date in 2018. Further announcements about the Toledo South plant will come at a later date.
Developments at the Belvidere Plant
The Belvidere plant will receive $350 million of the investment to focus on production of the Jeep Cherokee. Fiat Chrysler’s investment will also open 300 new jobs at the Belvidere site.
The plant currently manufactures small cars, such as the Dodge Dart, the Jeep Patriot, and the Jeep Compass. Fiat Chrysler will discontinue all three models at the end of 2016. The Jeep Patriot and Jeep Compass will be repackaged into one new crossover model in Mexico, with an estimated premiere date in 2018.
To catch a peek of the new crossover Jeep model, check out the 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show. The name of the new vehicle has not yet been announced.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne will spearhead the production of over 350,000 Jeep Wranglers, nearly doubling the current production rate. The increase in sales of Jeep SUVs and crossovers is due to the slow sales of small cars in the United States. Jeep sales were up by 17 percent in 2016, while Chrysler numbers were down by 19 percent. The total sales for the Jeep brand are projected to grow with the new $1 billion investment.
More sales equal more opportunities for automakers. With a plan to produce more vehicles and create a total of 1,000 jobs, Jeep’s
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