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June 19, 2009

Sources say the Jeep Liberty will be retooled

Fiat leaders have been inside the Toledo Jeep plants several times in recent weeks. According to an article from Global Insight, a worldwide auto consulting group, Fiat plans to build the Alfa SUV at Toledo North.

Bruce Baumhower, president of UAW Local 12, says "We have the newest Chrysler plant in North America and it's underutilized. We're running on one shift. In fact, right now we are not running at all and we'd love to be back on two shifts and so would they quite frankly."

Auto industry consultant Dennis Virag likes what he sees in the Alfa SUV. "It has a smooth design to it. It's appealing to the eye. It's not the edgy type of SUV some manufacturers have come out with."

Local union leaders will not talk specifics but they do say they've been lobbying to land new work.

Fiat has been here four times. Baumhower says, "They're doing measurements and things like that and we've lobbied them hard. They do plan to build several new vehicles in the next several years and we are in the hunt for at least one of those vehicles. There will be new production, better product, product that will sell in this market and keep that plant humming for a number of years."

The Global Insight article also says the Jeep Liberty will be re-tooled for the 2012 model year.

If Toledo gets the new vehicle production, experts say it will be at least two years before the assembly lines are up and running.

Local union leaders and plant managers will be in Detroit Monday to talk about Fiat's operating systems.

Article:Alfa SUV may be built in Toledo - 6/18/09 - Toledo News -
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