Jeep plans Wrangler and Gladiator customization center near Toledo plant

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is in negotiations with city officials in Toledo, Ohio, over a proposal to purchase two unused sites near the Toledo Assembly Complex plant where the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator are built.

Under the proposal, the city of Toledo will sell the sites to FCA for the token amount of $1. In return, FCA will invest $23 million in the sites to build a new 250,000-square-foot customization center for the Wrangler and Gladiator to be operated by a supplier. More than 300 jobs are estimated to be created by the deal.

FCA spokesman Kevin Frazier told Motor Authority in an email Monday that the automaker appreciates the consideration of the proposed deal by city of Toledo officials, but has no further details to add at this time.

The two sites were previously owned by Textileather and MedCorp but have been unused for several years. Under the proposed deal, the city of Toledo has the option to repurchase the sites for the same $1 amount if FCA fails to construct the customization center within four years.

The Toledo Assembly Complex plant has been home to Jeep production since the original military version was rolling off the line in the 1940s. However, rising demand for the Wrangler in global markets, plus the planned addition of the Gladiator, led to FCA considering moving production elsewhere due to a lack of capacity prior to the start of production of the current Wrangler in 2018. The purchase of the former Textileather and MedCorp sites will provide the Toledo Assembly Complex plant with additional room as demand grows, according to Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz.

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“There was uncertainty about the future of production of the Wrangler because of the limited ability to expand the largely landlocked Toledo Assembly Complex,” Kapszukiewicz said in a statement. “Ultimately, we were successful in accomplishing our retention goals and are very pleased to announce today that our proactive efforts are paying off in the form of new jobs and private investment for our community.”

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