WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following last week’s comments from Chrysler’s CEO, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH-9) called on the company to keep Jeep Wrangler production in Toledo. In a letter to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, Brown and Kaptur pointed to the plant’s dedicated and efficient workforce and the strong community support in Toledo.
“The Jeep Wrangler represents the reliability and tough grit that embody Toledo,” Brown said. “The vehicle’s proud legacy is matched only by that of the workers at the Chrysler Assembly Plant – the most productive in the country – and the community itself. I look forward to working with Chrysler, the Toledo community, and Ohio workers to ensure that Jeep Wranglers stay in Ohio and that the next generation of Wrangler is even more successful.”
“Toledo and Jeep are truly inseparable. Built as a ‘general purpose’ or ‘GP’ vehicles at the request of General George Marshall, Toledo-made Jeeps helped win World War II,” Kaptur said. “Jeep production was the platform for building a strong middle class in northwestern Ohio. We are fully committed to Jeep workers and a long future for Jeep in our community.”
The Chrysler Assembly Plant, which produces the Wrangler and the Cherokee in Toledo, employs more than 4,000 workers and was twice recognized as the most efficient assembly plant in North America. Brown and Kaptur cited the Wrangler’s long legacy in Toledo and the worker’s knowledge, skills, and work ethic as second-to-none and the plant’s agility and ability to innovate for new products and materials. According to the Toledo Blade, the first Jeeps were built in Toledo for the military in 1941 and civilian models were first built in 1945.
Brown has worked to bolster Ohio’s auto industry and encourage increased investment in the Chrysler Assembly Plant. In 2011, Brown called on the Chrysler Group to fully utilize the Toledo Assembly Complex by adding a new production line to the facility as part of the company’s planned 2011 expansion. Brown previously visited the Toledo Assembly Complex with Vice President Joe Biden in August 2010.
In June 2011, Brown met with workers and toured the Chrysler Group’s Toledo Supplier Park with President Obama. Prior to the auto rescue, only 55 percent of the parts in Chrysler’s Jeep Wrangler were made in America. As of 2012, 70 percent of the Jeep Wrangler is American-made – with many parts made in Ohio. The glass is made in Crestline, the steering column in Perrysburg, the seats in Northwood, the hard top in Carey, and cargo components in Holmesville.
Full text of Brown’s letter is here and below.
October 9th, 2014
Chairman and CEO
Chrysler Group LLC
1000 Chrysler Drive
Auburn Hills, MI 48326-2766
Dear Mr. Marchionne:
In light of your recent comments regarding the possibility of moving Jeep Wrangler production out of Toledo, we write to you out of concern for thousands of workers in Northwest Ohio and ask that you do everything you can to keep the production of one of America’s most iconic vehicles at home, in Toledo.
Toledo has a rich and proud history of manufacturing automobiles and sport utility vehicles. The Jeep brand has played a critical role in the city’s development and in Chrysler’s resurgence since the auto rescue, which we wholeheartedly supported. Not only would relocating Wrangler production be devastating to the Toledo community, it could also have an adverse impact on the company’s production. Toledo workers have been building Jeeps for more than 70 years, and can outcompete anyone in the world with their knowledge, skills, and work ethic. Because of their strong collaboration with management and unwavering community support, the Toledo Assembly plant has received recognition as one of North America’s most productive assembly plants.
The manner in which recent reports relating to the future of Jeep Wrangler production in Toledo were released has caused great concern to employees of the Jeep facility and related suppliers, the citizens of our community, and the entire region.
Pursuant to our contacts with Chrysler’s government affairs office, we would appreciate an opportunity to speak with you at your earliest convenience about Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ plans for the future of Jeep production and Chrysler’s Toledo facility. We stand ready to work with you to grow Chrysler’s role in our community.
Time and time again, the Toledo community has risen to the occasion and helped Chrysler produce some of the best vehicles in the world. The community stands behind Chrysler, and is ready to help the company achieve new success with the next generation Wrangler.
Sherrod Brown Marcy Kaptur
United States Senator Member of Congress