Automotive News recently confirmed that the Jeep Wrangler based pickup will go into production and will be built in Toledo, Ohio. The article reports that the vehicle is still under development and is scheduled to debut in either 2017 or 2018 model year after the next generation Wrangler’s launch.
Though FCA won’t make any additional official announcements and/or comments until their current negotiations with the UAW workers end, Sergio Marchionne, the company’s CEO hinted a bit of the company’s plan to Automotive News by saying “we found a solution that accommodates a variety of other interests to us because of the way in which we can move some products around.” He also said that “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that the only way I can move around the Wrangler is to move it to the other Toledo plant.”Toledo plant currently comprises of two facilities, one which builds the body-on-frame Jeep Wrangler and the other which builds the unibody Jeep Cherokee.
If the current Wrangler’s production shifts to the plant in Belvidere, IL where the Dodge Dart sedan is built, the Toledo plant can be re-tooled for the next generation Jeep Wrangler. However, if the production of the current Wrangler were to be halted, it will severely impact its current sales success.
In the Automotive News report, Mr. Marchionne hinted that the extra capacity could be used to build the new Wrangler-based pickup or even the RAM 1500 pickup on a temporary basis. However, with this proposal, Mr. Marchionne faces two constraints with one being that he cannot take down a day’s production of the Wranglers and two that he also cannot take down a day’s production of the RAM trucks and feels that he needs to move these products and not disrupt their production schedules.
Even with these logistical issues, FCA has a vested interest in keeping the size of the Wrangler pickup similar to that of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. This move not only helps cut down the development time, it will also save millions of dollars by using components already developed for the Wrangler. This strategy will also prevent the Wrangler pickup from cannibalizing the sales of the successful RAM pickup line.
So, after a decade of teasing and whetting our chops, it looks like an official Jeep Wrangler pickup from Toledo, Ohio will become a reality.
Image Source: Jeep USA
Information Source: Automotive News