Text: Marcus De Guzman / Photos: Jeep PH | posted October 24, 2014 12:20
The Wrangler may switchover though to an aluminum shell
The 2017 Jeep Wrangler will keep its Body-On-Frame construction after plans of using a unibody construction has projected in significantly increased costs for the company and production will have to be moved from the Chrysler plant in Toledo, Ohio.
During the 2014 Paris Motor Show, Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne suggested that the next generation Jeep Wrangler slated to be released in 2017 will likely have an aluminum unibody construction. If it pulls through, Chrysler will then have to move the manufacturing of the Wrangler from Toledo, Ohio as the plant there is not capable of creating an aluminum unibody vehicle without a massive investment in buying new equipment.
According to Automotive News Europe, sources close to Chrysler said that the Wrangler will keep its body-on-frame construction but may use an aluminum shell. Jeep enthusiasts favor the body-on-frame design since its off-road capabilities require strength, rigidity and durability against the environment. Also, assembly lines that work on unibody cannot work with body-on-frame vehicles as they are incompatible with one another and vice-versa.
Switching to a different type of assembly-line factoring will affect production as the factory will have to be shut down for the switchover and may affect the supply needed by dealers to sell the Wrangler. To date, the Toledo plant is expected to construct 235,000 units of the Wrangler at the end of 2014.
Marchionne thought of the idea since Chrysler has unibody factories in Belvidere, Illinois and Sterling Heights, Michigan. Local leaders from the state of Ohio were shocked after learning that the Wranger might be built somewhere else. Last October 9, 2014, Toledo Mayor Michael Collins and Ohio Governor John Kasich met with Marchionne to discuss what Chrysler needed and is currently planning.
On October 21, 2014, the Toledo city council agreed to spend USD 9.4 million (about PHP 421.5 million) to purchase more than 32 acres (12 hectares) of land that is located just west of the Wrangler factory. City councils along with Mayor Collins declined to comment on what will be the purpose of the planned purchase of land.
News Source: Automotive News Europe