A $23M Jeep customization facility is coming to Toledo
The city of Toledo and its mayor, Wade Kapszukiewicz, are working on a plan to help Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) expand its presence in Toledo, home of the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator.
Two vacant industrial buildings, one a former vinyl fabric manufacturing facility and another a former ambulance service, were purchased by the city and redeveloped to ensure that Jeep would stay in the area. In a statement from Kapszukiewicz, the mayor said “There was uncertainty about the future of production of the Wrangler because of the limited ability to expand the largely landlocked Toledo Assembly Complex. In an effort to retain the facility’s existing workforce and production of the Jeep Wrangler, which has only ever been manufactured in Toledo, the city proactively worked with its economic development partners, including JobsOhio, to redevelop the shuttered Textileather and MedCorp properties into a 40-acre site ready for development.”
Toledo has invested $6.8M into the site and will offer it to FCA for $1. The city plans to recoup its investment by way of a tax increment financing as well as the tax income from the additional 300+ jobs the factory should support. The city has the option of buying the property back, also for a dollar, if the facility isn’t developed in four years. Part of the city’s reason for stepping in was that the two properties required significant renovation to be viable for new construction, essentially making the properties cost more than they were worth. The Toledo Blade reports that the city’s commissioner of economic development, Brandon Sehlhorst, believes the investment should pay off in 12 years.
Jeep hasn’t spelled out exactly what the customization plant will build. Considering the strength of the 4×4 aftermarket, Wranglers and Gladiators are the most likely candidates. These are perhaps the most-customized new vehicles on the market, so it’s not hard to imagine that Jeep would want to increase its footprint, especially with the Ford Bronco raising the stakes. We imagine this facility will offer customers an easier path to a lifted and accessorized off-roader direct from Jeep, either through turnkey vehicles or expanded parts offerings, while helping ensure the Wrangler’s ties to its ancestral home in Toledo.