Despite concerns within Jeep, Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed yesterday that the Wrangler will continue to be manufactured in Toledo, Ohio exclusively.
The question about moving production comes for a couple of reasons. First, because of remarks made in September by Jeep brand CEO Mike Manley that Chrysler was exploring production of Jeep vehicles in China. Second, because Wranglers are selling better than expected, and breaking monthly sales records.
“This plant has been at the heart of what we’ve done. I’ve said publicly that I would never build the Wrangler outside the U.S. and outside of Toledo. These are things that are unthinkable — to assemble a Wrangler somewhere else,” Marchionne said.
Marchionne’s comments came during a press conference where he talked about Chrysler’s recent $500 million investment into the same Toledo plant to build the next generation of Jeep Liberty.
Yesterday, union officials said that November produciton for the Wrangler surpassed the monthly sales record of 14,355 set in July. Sales for the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited collectively rose by 28 percent through October. It’s a sign that the brand is still expanding steadily, but that could be cause for concern.
Chrysler has yet to expand production capacity at the Toledo Supplier Park, which assembles the Wrangler and is part of the Toledo Assembly Complex. That means Jeep might not be able to keep up with demand for Wranglers, especially given that they are expanding into Europe.
“The horrible thing about Jeep is that it’s never had the chance to be exploited internationally. We’ve started a very active marketing effort in Europe now with Jeep, and we’ve had phenomenal results. Sales are doubling almost every 12 months,” Marchionne said.
“As we open up the distribution network to Jeep, it’s becoming probably the star of the European market, and I have similar expectations for Jeep, especially in the eastern part of Europe, and in China and Russia,” he said.
Gallery: 2011 Jeep Wrangler
[Source: Automotive News]