Hills, Mich., Jun 30, 2006 -
Friday, June 30, will mark the last day of production at Chrysler's
Toledo Parkway Assembly Plant. After 64 years of manufacturing
Jeep products at the Parkway facility, the Chrysler Group will relocate
production of the Jeep® Wrangler to the new, $2.1 billion
state-of-the-art Toledo Supplier Park and add a new, four-door
Unlimited version of the Wrangler to Toledo's manufacturing mix.
The Toledo Supplier Park, part of an unprecedented expansion by
DaimlerChrysler in this urban, Midwest operation -- will become the new
home of the legendary Jeep Wrangler. The plant, adjacent to
DaimlerChrysler's Toledo North Assembly Plant, is operated by the
Chrysler Group and three supplier partners: Magna International's Magna
Steyr, Kuka Group and Hyundai Mobis-owned Ohio Module Manufacturing
Corp. (OMMC). The innovative supplier park is the first North American
operation to have three major vehicle-building operations (body shop,
paint shop and chassis assembly) owned or operated by suppliers.
The Jeep Wrangler was formerly built at the Toledo Assembly Plant
comprised of the Parkway and Stickney locations.
"The closing of Toledo Parkway clearly marks the end of an important
era in our history,” said Frank Ewasyshyn, Executive Vice President -
Manufacturing, Chrysler Group. “But it also opens the door for us to
modernize our facilities while ensuring that our Toledo employees have
a stronger future. Today, you see the oldest auto plant in the
U.S. producing its last vehicle. Tomorrow, in its place will stand one
of the most innovative manufacturing complexes in automotive history.”
Toledo's modern, four-vehicle manufacturing portfolio -- with the
capability to add even more models -- stands in stark contrast to the
one-product town that characterized Toledo less than a decade ago. By
summer 2006, the two plants will be building Jeep
Wrangler Unlimited (four-door)
, Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro. "
"Keeping companies like Chrysler Group in Toledo and providing an
opportunity to grow and expand its operations is a major step toward
stimulating growth in the Toledo area," said Carty Finkbeiner, Toledo
Mayor. "While the Parkway facility has been a part of the Toledo
landscape many years, this new plant structure is clearly the future of
manufacturing and we're proud to be at the center of it. The Jeep
Wrangler is a part of our history and we love that it's built here in
The Supplier Park brings enhanced manufacturing technology to Toledo,
Ohio, and gives the plant the flexibility to build multiple vehicles on
the same production line.
At the Supplier Park, paint operations will be coordinated by Magna
Steyer, Kuka Group will operate the body shop, while Ohio Module
Manufacturing Corp. will assemble the chassis. Chrysler Group has the
responsibility for the final trim and assembly operations at the plant.
All four facilities were completed earlier this year and have been
working together to produce pilot vehicles since May.
After an initial investment of $1.2 billion to build the first of the
two modern Toledo Plants -- Toledo North Assembly Plant --
DaimlerChrysler last year announced that it would invest an additional
$600 million at Toledo North, giving the plant the flexibility to add
Dodge Nitro assembly to the line that has been producing the Jeep
Liberty since 2001. That investment also led to a third manufacturing
shift, added more than 160,000 square feet, new equipment, new
conveyors, as well as important new processes that will contribute to
the plant's productivity and quality.
The 2.1 million square-foot Toledo North Assembly Plant occupies 200
acres and has more than 2,700 employees working two shifts, with the
third shift of approximately 750 employees to begin in the third
quarter. Groundbreaking of Toledo North began in fall 1997.
A third DaimlerChrysler plant is located in nearby Perrysburg,
Ohio. The Toledo Machining Plant opened in 1967 and produces
steering columns and torque converters.
New Plants Ensure Future of Carmaker
The Toledo Parkway facility has served as a local manufacturing
landmark and has been a manufacturing site of the Jeep brand since
1942. Jeep Parkway is North America’s oldest manufacturing facility --
originally opening in 1910 -- and the original Jeep assembly plant. The
facility -- a familiar Toledo sight with its two brick smokestacks
bearing the name "Overland" -- traces its history back to the Pope
Motor Car Co., before it was purchased by John North Willys and
combined with the Overland Automotive Division to form the
Willys-Overland Motor Company in 1912. Parkway began producing Jeep
military vehicles in the early 1940s before switching over to the
Civilian Jeep (CJ) in 1945. It was renamed the Toledo Assembly Plant
after Chrysler purchased American Motors in 1987.
The plant actually consists of two interconnected units, the Stickney
Plant and the Parkway Annex. In recent years, basic assembly and
painting of the Jeep Wrangler has been done in the Parkway
facility. The less-than-ideal setup at the old operation included
operations spread through a warren of buildings and required that
vehicles and components be moved through multiple building levels.
Final assembly of vehicles took place at Stickney, but facility
constraints required that bodies first be painted at Parkway and then
moved through tunnels and across bridges to reach the assembly line.
About a third of the Jeep Parkway annex was demolished in 2002. The
date of the final Parkway demolition will be determined at a later date.
The Stickney Plant was built in 1942 by Autolite and sold to
Kaiser-Jeep in 1964. It was used as a machining and engine plant until
1981 when it was converted for vehicle production. It began producing
the Jeep Grand Wagoneer that year through 1991 when final assembly of
the Jeep Wrangler moved there.
Commitment to the Community
DaimlerChrysler has demonstrated a long-standing commitment to invest
in existing facilities and provide good-paying jobs in urban
environments. By renovating many of its existing facilities,
DaimlerChrysler was a leading corporate investor in urban America
during the 1990s. This decade, the company is continuing the trend in
cities such as Toledo, St. Louis, Detroit and Warren, Mich.
In total, DaimlerChrysler has a significant impact on the Toledo and
the State of Ohio, with 7,941 employees statewide generating $465
million in annual wages and providing more than $26 million in taxable
income to the state.
Chrysler Group, a good neighbor good citizen, sponsors various
community events through its philanthropic arm, the DaimlerChrysler
Corporation Fund, including the Art Tatum Jazz Heritage Festival,
Toledo Urban League, City's Youth Entrepreneur Program, Toledo Opera,
the Toledo Museum of Art, Valentine Theatre and the Diamante Awards.