Back on July 15, 2016, Fiat-Chrysler announced a plan to spend over $1B on its North American assembly lines related to building the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler. $350M would be spent moving the Jeep Cherokee assembly line from Toledo Ohio to their assembly plant in Belvidere Illinois, where it would supplant production of the disappointing (and disappearing) Chrysler 200. The remaining $700B would be spent retooling Toledo North (the plant where the Cherokee was being built) to produce the new 2018 Wrangler.
This was a deal that had been underway for a long time. The new Jeep Wrangler was always going to be built in one of FCA’s US assembly plants — back in 2012 Fiat-Chrysler’s CEO said that the Wrangler was “uniquely American” and part of its brand was to be built in America — but the question was, which one? The logical thing to do was to discontinue the disappointing Chrysler 200 and build the new line in the empty spaces at the underutilized Belvidere IL plant. Toledo and the state of Ohio pulled out the stops to make it happen in Toledo Ohio, the original home of Jeep. They came up with a package of additional land (to be leased to FCA for $1 per year) for the new buildings, temporary cash assistance for the temporarily idled workers paid as if it were unemployment compensation but without the requirement that they apply for new jobs each week, an agreement with the UAW to allow shifting some workers around to Toledo South (producing the current 2017 Wrangler) and temporarily reducing hours of workers at Toledo South so some Toledo North workers could work there too so that as many workers as possible could be kept on the payroll while the Toledo North plant was retooled for the new Wrangler, and various other concessions and incentives. After Toledo North started producing the new Wrangler, Toledo South would then stop producing the old Wrangler and be re-tooled for the new Wrangler pickup truck and various specialty models of Wrangler.
In the end it was a joint venture of Fiat-Chrysler, the city of Toledo, the state of Ohio, and the UAW that made it possible to keep Jeep Wrangler production in Toledo Ohio and expand it. The new Toledo North plant is expected to be capable of making over 450,000 Wranglers per year, of which at least 40% will be exported to other nations (by comparison the current Toledo South plant was designed to make 150,000 Wranglers per year and currently is maxed at around 225,000 Wranglers per year), while Toledo South’s production of the Wrangler Pickup is unknown but the plant was designed for 150,000 vehicles per year and likely they can sell’em if they make’em.
So who is taking credit for all of this? Guess who:
GRRR! What a fucking asshole! All of this was worked out over a year before Donald Trump got his first vote in the primaries! Not only is he taking credit for other people’s hard work, but he even got the states wrong. Yeah, Toledo is in Ohio, but Belvidere is in ILLINOIS, not MICHIGAN! Sheesh. What a maroon.
If I were in Toledo or Ohio government or UAW leadership I’d be pissed right now at Trump taking credit for my hard work. I’m not, but I’m pissed anyhow, because I’ve been following this saga for the past three years (I’m a Jeep enthusiast, doh) and know just how hard so many people have been working to make all of this happen. Having some orange racist pedophile pussy grabber swoop in at the last moment and claim credit for these people’s hard work irks me on so many levels…
– Badtux the Annoyed Penguin