Dodge Nitro Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
23,327 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Fight to keep Jeep Wrangler in Toledo hits high gear

Feb 16, 2015

The City of Toledo has delivered an economic incentive package to Fiat Chrysler in its effort to keep Jeep Wrangler production here. While no one will talk specifics, those on the front lines of this fight say they are encouraged tonight. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has said a decision on next generation Wrangler production has to be made by June but some speculate it will happen much sooner than that, maybe in a matter of weeks

Matt Sapara is the Director of Toledo's Department of Development. He is the main architect of the plan that now sits before Fiat Chrysler leaders, "We're in constant discussions with Fiat Chrysler. A plan has been advanced to them based on assumptions on the city's part of what the project may look like and that is currently being reviewed."

Even though the incentive package has been delivered, it is far from finalized, "We don't know what it will look like at the end of the day because we do not yet know the scope of the project, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that whatever is advanced to city council will be sustainable for the community."

The timeline is obviously tight to get the land cleared and a building ready for the next generation Wrangler. Sapara says if Fiat Chrysler keeps Wrangler production here, recently purchased land across from the plant can be cleaned up and built on at the same time, "Whenever you take down a production line, it costs money and our goal is to keep the lines running while we are developing a building to house the 2018 Wrangler.That is key to the package we are offering."

Whatever the scope of the project, the plan includes a new building to expand capacity at the Wrangler plant. Bruce Baumhower who heads up UAW Local 12, says that could mean an annual production increase of about 100,000 Wranglers, "It seems to me that as demand continues to escalate we could build about 350,000 a year and maybe we can satisfy the demand."

Baumhower says he's encouraged by a recent comment made by Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne saying that he would like to keep the Wrangler in Toledo and that he would assemble a team to work on the issue, "He's kept his word. His team has been on the fast track and we'll see where this goes but I am glad to see as much effort and attention being put into this as he said there would be."

Both Baumhower and Sapara believe the workforce will sway things in Toledo's favor in the end, "With our plan they get exactly what they want and with our workforce. From my perspective that far outweighs anywhere else they can go."

Many are hopeful that if Toledo lands the new Wrangler more volume could mean eventually mean more jobs at the plant or at the very least at auto supply companies. Marchionne has said if Wrangler leaves Toledo he will guarantee the jobs won't go with it and that he'll load other products into the plant.


SOURCE
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
23,327 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Keep Jeep in Toledo:

Keep Jeep in Toledo: City sends Fiat-Chrysler incentive proposal
Posted: Mar 13, 2015


TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

Toledo city leaders sent a formal incentive package aimed at keeping Jeep Wrangler production in the Glass City to Fiat Chrysler on Friday.

A decision from Chrysler could come sooner than the June 1 deadline.

While the City is not releasing specific incentive details, a city spokeswoman says the package "has been designed to ensure that Toledo offers the company the most competitive site."

“FCA US looks forward to reviewing the incentive package assembled by the City of Toledo, Lucas County and State of Ohio as it continues to study the business case for Wrangler production,” Fiat-Chrysler said in a statement Friday.

In February, council approved purchase of large pieces of property near Jeep in hopes of keeping production here.
If a deal is for some reason not reached city could resell those properties.
SOURCE
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
23,327 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
No timetable on Wrangler production

Jeep CEO: No timetable on Wrangler production or pickup

March 19, 2015

There is no set date for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to decide if production of the next-generation Wrangler will stay in Toledo or whether it will base a pickup on the popular SUV, according to Jeep CEO and President Mike Manley.

There are a lot of moving parts and issues to address before making final decisions on production, he told reporters Thursday. Issues include capacity restraints, retooling and downtime of the highly popular, productive vehicle.


“There’s no set date for a decision, but obviously there’s a lot of pressure and interest to make a decision as soon as possible,” he said during a media event at the company’s North American headquarters in Auburn Hills. “There’s a lot of vested interest in it, and I think everybody wants to understand where we’re going.”

Manley’s comments come after Fiat Chrysler received an incentive and development package from Toledo and Ohio officials, lobbying to keep Wrangler production in the city. Manley confirmed the pitch was submitted but said he had not seen it.

Exact details of the plan have not been released, but likely involves more than 100 acres adjacent to Toledo Assembly Complex. It’s speculated that Fiat Chrysler could expand its current plant with a flexible body-on-frame line or lines that could increase Wrangler production — and possibly make room for a pickup.

Fiat Chrysler has declined to comment on the city’s land purchases, which came after Marchionne said significant enhancements to the next-generation Wrangler — including a possible aluminum body — would likely lead to production leaving its home in Toledo, where the first World War II Jeeps were made.

The next-generation Wrangler is due out in 2017.

Separately, Manley told reporters that a new-generation Wrangler would likely be an appropriate time for the brand to look into resurrecting a Jeep pickup.

“It is certainly a place the brand can go,” he said. “If you were going to do it, you would probably do it on a new-generation Wrangler.”

Manley said there’s “no time frame in mind” to make a decision on a Jeep pickup, but it is one of the top topics of discussion with customers. He added the brand always is looking at the possibility of a Jeep-branded pickup, which Manley said would need a minimum of a five-foot bed and could function as both a work- and lifestyle-truck.

Jeep pickups date to the 1940s with Willys-Overland Motors, the original American auto company that designed and built the first World War II military Jeeps. The last production model was the Comanche; only about 197,000 were sold from 1986-92.

A Jeep pickup is not part of Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s plan through 2018. Manley said the most important thing is getting the next-generation Wrangler right, before it considers a Wrangler-based pickup.
SOURCE
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
23,327 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Union head confident

Union head confident Ohio city will keep Jeep Wrangler line

03/25/2015



TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The leader of a union that represents Jeep workers in Toledo said Wednesday that he's confident that the city and state have put together a package that will convince Fiat Chrysler Automobiles against moving Jeep Wrangler production.

Bruce Baumhower, president of United Auto Workers Local 12 in Toledo, said he expects a decision from Fiat Chrysler within weeks.

The automaker is considering moving Wrangler production so the vehicle can be made with an aluminum body. Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has said the changes needed to make a redesigned Wrangler would be too costly at the Toledo plant, which also makes the Jeep Cherokee.

Toledo leaders delivered an incentives package two weeks ago to Fiat Chrysler executives as part of their effort to hold onto the Wrangler.

"I think the city, the county, the port authority, the state of Ohio have put together a very attractive package that answers all of Sergio's concerns," Baumhower told reporters at the union's bargaining convention in Detroit on Wednesday.

He said that he thinks the Wrangler is "ours to lose."

Baumhower wouldn't reveal details about the package offered to Fiat Chrysler.

The city in recent months bought 32 acres next to the Jeep assembly plant if the automaker wants more land for a new plant.

Fiat Chrysler has assured city and union officials that employment at the plant would not change even if Wrangler production is moved elsewhere, most likely by bringing in a new vehicle to build.
SOURCE
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
23,327 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Ohio proposes funding a plant for Fiat Chrysler

Ohio proposes funding a plant for Fiat Chrysler

Apr 9, 2015


State and local officials in Ohio are proposing to fund a new factory for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV in Toledo, an unusual auto-industry incentive that would require hundreds of millions in financing, according to people familiar with the plans.

The proposed plan is the latest attempt by public officials to secure production of the iconic Jeep Wrangler, which has been built in Toledo for decades. Details have yet to be finalized as negotiations continue and other proposals are on the table.

A spokeswoman for the Toledo mayor's office and a spokesman for Ohio Gov. John Kasich declined to comment.


Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has said the next generation Wrangler, due in 2017, will likely need a different factory because the capacity of the current one is constrained. A costly overhaul is necessary to prep for the Wrangler's new aluminum body, which will help lighten the vehicle and improve fuel economy.

Building a new factory (without tooling and other equipment belonging to the auto maker or suppliers) can cost between $200 million and $400 million. The cost could potentially be financed by government-backed programs, and Fiat Chrysler would then pay the money back under a lease-to-own arrangement, these people said.

Toledo's leaders delivered their pitch to the U.S.-Italian auto maker in March, hoping to sway the company's top leaders, including Mr. Marchionne, from relocating production of its iconic off-roader to another state. City officials have assembled nearly 100 acres of land to offer Fiat Chrysler for a new Jeep Wrangler plant, but are worried that the land isn't enough.

The arrangement, while tested in some other industries in the U.S., is viewed as a potentially new way to attract or retain automotive manufacturing jobs amid a wave of new car-assembly work moving to Mexico and a flood of imported auto parts.
SOURCE
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
23,327 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Toledo council OKs $1.5M to buy 17 properties by Jeep plant

Toledo council OKs $1.5M to buy 17 properties by Jeep plant

05/14/2015


TOLEDO -- City Council has approved the $1.5 million purchase of 17 residential properties near the Toledo North Assembly Complex plant as it continues its push to keep production of the Wrangler in the Glass City.

The Blade reports the measure approved Tuesday is part of the city's incentive package to persuade Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to stay in Toledo beyond 2017.

The purchases add to more than 100 acres already acquired by the city that could provide space to expand the plant.


Toledo city leaders delivered their proposed incentive package to Fiat Chrysler executives in March. No specific details of the package have been disclosed, as Toledo remains in competition with other states hoping to gain the production. However, the City says that, given its track record with Chrysler production and the incentives being offered, Toledo is on a level-playing field with the competition.

The automaker is considering moving the Wrangler assembly line out of Toledo so it can be made with an aluminum body.

Jeep Wrangler production at Toledo's North Assembly Complex maintains 1,700 jobs, in addition to another 800 jobs within five miles of the complex, according to Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. In a letter sent to FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne, Sen. Brown said that Jeeps have been built in Toledo since the 1940's and that the community and its workers have proven they are ready to build the next Wrangler.

"Toledo workers are second to none in their knowledge, skill, and work ethic," Brown wrote. "They take great pride in building stellar vehicles, and have rightly earned recognition as one of North America's most productive assembly plants."

SOURCE
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
23,327 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
Unwrap the Jeep deal

Unwrap the Jeep deal

05/17/2015

City and state officials want to assure you that they’re offering Fiat Chrysler Automobiles a terrific deal to maintain production of the Jeep Wrangler at the Toledo Assembly Complex. You’ll have to take their word for it, though, because they aren’t letting you know what that deal includes — even though you’re going to pay for it.

Fiat Chrysler is nearing a self-imposed deadline to decide whether to keep building the hot-selling sport utility vehicle in Toledo, or shift that production to another of its North American plants. According to credible reports — which the administrations of Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson and Gov. John Kasich refuse to discuss — the city and state are offering to fund a new factory that could enable Jeep to build 350,000 Wranglers each year, up from the current 240,000 or so.



That plant could cost as much as $400 million, not including its tooling and production equipment. Yet officials who are elected to serve Toledo and Ohio taxpayers continue to insist — largely without challenge — that the details of the package of tax breaks and other public financial incentives Fiat Chrysler is considering are no business of taxpayers.

The Detroit automaker is thinking of converting the next edition of the Wrangler, due in 2017, to a lighter-weight aluminum body to help meet federal fuel-economy mandates. Company officials have said they cannot afford the production delays and lost sales that would result from retooling the current assembly complex in Toledo to build the redesigned vehicle.

Last week, Toledo City Council tapped the city’s capital improvement budget — the fund that lacks money for adequate street repair — for as much as $1.5 million to buy 17 homes near the current Jeep plant in North Toledo. The city already has spent millions of dollars to assemble more than 100 acres of land, some of which is contaminated and will require environmental cleanup, that could accommodate the new factory. It is looking to buy even more land.

Yet except for council member Theresa Gabriel — who questioned only the source of the new Jeep funding, not the supposed need for it — council waved the purchase through without objection. The vote maintained council’s determined incuriosity, at least in public, about the activities of Mayor Hicks-Hudson’s economic development team in waving the city’s checkbook at Fiat Chrysler.

The incentives the city is offering Fiat Chrysler are likely far larger than it gave ProMedica to move its corporate headquarters to the downtown riverfront. Yet while the health-care provider’s demand for a piece of Promenade Park for that project generated noisy — if unsuccessful — opposition, the usual civic activists are nowhere to be found in defending taxpayers’ interests in the Jeep deal.

Keeping the Wrangler here would be preferable to settling for a consolation-prize vehicle at Toledo Assembly that likely would not sell as well or profitably, or require as many workers to build. Fiat Chrysler executives concede that this community and its workers are responsible for much of the company’s success.

It may well turn out that the Jeep deal will be every bit as beneficial to Toledo as city and state officials say it is. But as long as it remains a secret from them, taxpayers have no way to make that judgment.

State law enables the mayor’s and governor’s offices to shield themselves from public accountability and transparency in their tax-subsidized dealings with Fiat Chrysler. It does not require them to do so. That’s their choice, not a mandate.

Secrecy works to Fiat Chrysler’s advantage, because it cedes control of information to the automaker. It provides no competitive advantage to the city or state.

The public money that the city and state want to give Fiat Chrysler to promote the Jeep deal is money that cannot be spent on essential services. It will affect taxes. The secrecy that enshrouds the deal is more likely to generate taxpayer mistrust — or, for now, apathy — than necessary support.
Read more at Unwrap the Jeep deal - Toledo Blade
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
23,327 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Next-generation Jeep

Next-generation Jeep

05/20/2015

Marchionne said a “large portion” of the next-generation Jeep Wrangler will be made of aluminum, but not entirely. The company, he said, has done tests and simulations and determined the cost of producing an all-aluminum Wrangler outweighs the benefits.

“Because of the difference in cost, not just the new material but the actual assembly process, I think we can do almost as well without doing it all-aluminum,” he said.

Speculation around materials of the next-generation Wrangler has been around for years, as the company looks to shed weight from the popular SUV to meet stringent government fuel economy standards.

It could be a good sign for Toledo, where the Wrangler is currently produced. The Ohio city, Marchionne said, is one of “at least” two locations in consideration for production of the next-generation model, which is due out in 2017. He declined to disclose the other city.

In October, Marchionne caused a panic in Ohio by saying production may move out of Toledo because of significant retooling costs to provide possible enhancements such as an aluminum body.

Toledo officials are spending millions to purchase and clean up land in an attempt to persuade the automaker to keep, if not expand, production of the Wrangler in the city.
SOURCE
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
23,327 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Model’s future in Toledo remains in limbo

Workers ramp up Wrangler numbers
Model’s future in Toledo remains in limbo


08/10/2015

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is selling more Jeep Wranglers than it ever has, and there’s no indication that’s going to change any time soon. The last three months have been the best three-month stretch in the vehicle’s history.

To keep up with that demand, employees at the Toledo Assembly Complex are now building Wranglers every Saturday and on many Sundays, giving the company a desperately needed boost to keep sales rolling.


“That work force always surprises me on how they come up with the time they put in and the cars they build. It just amazes me,” said Mark Epley, the Jeep unit chairman for the United Auto Workers Local 12.

Mr. Epley and other union officials hope that flexibility and willingness to cooperate will bolster their argument that Toledo deserves to keep Wrangler production here well into the future.

Industry experts, however, say it may not be that simple.

“A flexible and cooperative work force is an asset for a company investing in your future kind of standpoint, but it’s a mistake to think you can win on something that’s more emotional than business,” said Kristin Dziczek, director of the Industry & Labor Group at the Center for Automotive Research.

By all accounts, the work force at the Toledo Assembly Complex has done a remarkable job keeping up with demand for the Wrangler, one of Fiat Chrysler’s marquee products and an important profit driver.
Fiat Chrysler must decide what to do with a next-generation Jeep Wrangler, which is due in 2017. Fiat Chrysler must decide what to do with a next-generation Jeep Wrangler, which is due in 2017.
THE BLADE/ANDY MORRISON Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Between 2011 and 2014, Wrangler production soared 43 percent, matching the vehicle’s U.S. sales growth during that time period.

Last year, the plant cranked out nearly 236,000 Wranglers. The biggest challenge in building more is that the plant never was intended to build so many.

With the union’s cooperation the last couple of years, Fiat Chrysler has implemented many creative solutions to increase production. They’ve bumped up production line speed and hired new employees to sub in during regular breaks so the line can keep running.

Last year, Fiat Chrysler hired hundreds of temporary workers to ensure the plant can run every Saturday, rather than two out of every three as had previously occurred. That alone gives the company nearly 14,000 extra Wranglers a year. Working two Sunday shifts a month adds another 9,000-plus a year, union officials say.

The only thing keeping the line from running each Sunday is suppliers are unable to ship enough parts to the plant.

“There’s always people that volunteer to work that,” Mr. Epley said. “If they can get us the parts, we’ll work every Sunday.”

While that affects the production staff, it also puts more pressure on the 437 skilled tradesmen tasked with keeping everything up and running smoothly and safely.

“We’ve got one of the best skilled trades work force there is in Chrysler because our skilled trades go beyond the call of duty to make sure the machines are running and safe,” Mr. Epley said.

Even so, demand may be outrunning production. In the year’s first half, Wrangler sales rose 19 percent to 102,450. Production rose 2 percent through the year’s first half.

Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne for years has praised the willingness of Toledo’s work force to do what it takes to make more Wranglers. At the same time, he has publicly questioned whether the company can afford to keep building the Wrangler here.

But union officials say the work force’s dedication to FCA and the quality of their work are something FCA shouldn’t ignore.

“There’s really no place other than Toledo, Ohio, to build these cars,” Mr. Epley said. “We’re showing the world — and not only the world, we’re showing Sergio — that the product should stay right here for this membership. There should be no doubt in his mind this is the place to build the Jeep Wrangler.”

It’s paradoxical, but the Wrangler’s success may be working against keeping it in Toledo. The Wrangler sells too well and makes FCA too much money to allow the company to halt production for a few months to retool for a next-generation model.

Ms. Dziczek of the Center for Automotive Research said that puts Fiat Chrysler in a hard position of deciding what to do with a next-generation Wrangler, due in 2017.

“It has to do with the incentives, certainly, and all the things that the city, state, and municipal governments are willing to do, but it also has to do with the business case,” she said. “Where is it least disruptive to the overall company?”

And in the end, that could still be Toledo. Mr. Marchionne has said he wants to keep it here and will do everything he can to find a way to make the business case work.

Meanwhile, it’s a waiting game. Mr. Marchionne most recently said he hoped to have a decision by the end of summer.

That’s later than most expected, though Ms. Dziczek said the delay may have something to do with ongoing contract negotiations between FCA and the UAW.

“That’s partly why we’re not hearing much about that,” she said. “Placement of a product can be used to extract lots of flexibility, lots of movement in both the national and the local agreement. Products are job security now. We don’t have jobs banks, we don’t have a lot of other contractual provisions. You have a product that sells and that’s job security.”

Mr. Epley said uncertainty about Wrangler’s future in Toledo is difficult for employees who feel they’ve done all they can for the company and face losing a product that’s both extremely successful and woven into the city’s history.

“It’s very frustrating to the membership,” he said. “They feel they’ve done a great job for FCA. They dedicated their life and blood, sweat, and tears to show the world we are the best car builders and we can do it here.”

Despite that, the plant continues to hum with activity nearly 24 hours a day.

“It amazes me the way Mark and his membership over there have kept their eye on the ball with all the issues swirling around about Wrangler and about the upcoming contract negotiations. All that stuff’s going on, and yet they go in there and continue to build a record number of Jeeps. It’s an amazing workforce, and it’s one of a kind in my view,” said Bruce Baumhower, president of UAW Local 12.
SOURCE
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
23,327 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Fiat Chrysler shafts Toledo

Fiat Chrysler shafts Toledo

09/03/2015

Really? That’s it?

After all the effort by the city and the UAW?

After the city buying all that land at taxpayers’ expense?

The Jeep Wrangler saga ends with what will almost certainly be a net loss of jobs. We keep the Wrangler but lose the Cherokee.

We have labored mightily and brought forth a mouse.

At best, you can call this result a wash, in the short run.

But it is bad news in the long run.

We do our citizens no service if we kid ourselves. This is a defeat. We can’t get up off the mat if we don’t admit we are on the mat.

The plan was for EXPANSION of Jeep’s presence in Toledo. To that end, the city committed the taxpayers’ money, not only to buying the land — that’s done and may yet turn out to have been a good move. But the city was willing, with help from the Port Authority, and some help from the state of Ohio, to essentially build a second, new Wrangler plant. Then, when the bonds (a debt assumed by the citizens of Toledo) were paid off, hand the keys to Fiat-Chrysler.


You can’t possibly ask for a better deal than that.

Imagine such a deal being offered to a grocery store in return for locating in the central city where food markets are scarce. Who would not take that deal?

And that’s why city officials remained confident right up to when the hammer came down.

Chrysler still gave Toledo the shaft.

And didn’t have the decency to inform city officials of this decision directly.

Are there clear lessons here? And can we absorb them?

Yes. One comes from Psalm 146. The Psalmist says: “Put not your trust in princes.”

Corporate CEOs are our modern princes. The CEO of Chrysler may well be, as a friend of mine who has met him told me, “a nice guy.” But his interests are not this city’s and never will be. It has been clear for months that his preference was to maximize capacity at one of his underutilized plants rather than build a whole new plant. He said it. The logic and the math were clear enough. No CEO, and none of his stockholders, want to operate any plant significantly below capacity. That’s their job, after all: to maximize their interests.

I don’t think Toledo’s leaders have been smart about maximizing the public’s interests in this city. When city officials kept saying the Jeep miracle was imminent and, after all, Chrysler valued our workers, I wondered what they were smoking.

And I hoped they were right anyway.

The second lesson comes not from the Bible but my mother and yours: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Diversify.

Diversify your interests, your options, and your investments, be ye a person or a community.

We do have the best autoworkers in the world in this city. No brag, just fact. What’s to stop us seeking out Subaru, Honda, Toyota, Hyundai, Nissan, or VW, all of which have been investing in this country in recent years?

We have an ideal location for enterprise and industry, a port, and an underutilized airport. What we don’t have is a particularly business-friendly attitude or a progressive approach to business development.

Why not employ the full-court press we applied to keeping Jeep to new business development? We might start by creating one economic development office for the region, combining the city, Lucas County, Wood County, the chamber, and the various towns and townships into one authority. Think of the clout that office would have. And yes, the person from that office, and the next mayor of Toledo, and the commissioners, should get on airplanes — be they to China, Germany, or California — and sell us. Sell, sell, sell.

Jeep means a lot to Toledo, and always will. But nothing is forever. No CEO will look out for us. We have to do that for ourselves. And we either keep fighting old battles or turn the page — and move forward.

Read more at Fiat Chrysler shafts Toledo - Toledo Blade
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top