Word on the street is that the redesigned 2017 Jeep Wrangler will have a lighter aluminum body, while the city of Toledo, Ohio, can rest easy because Wrangler assembly should stay in its home base.
Chrysler doesn't plan to switch to unibody construction, so the manufacturing of body-on-frame Wrangler vehicles will likely remain in Toledo, industry sources told Automotive News.
The auto world has been wondering about the Wrangler's fate since Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne worded some crucial answers almost too carefully earlier this month. The FCA chief was asked about his vows never to manufacture Wranglers outside of Toledo and not to build any more plants in North America.
Marchionne opened up the possibility of a Wrangler relocation, saying that because the next model needed to be lighter and could feature aluminum, production could be shifted elsewhere. His replies spurred a Wrangler campaign in Toledo, which is the historic home of the Jeep model.
All Jeep will spill in regard to the 2017 redesign is that it "will be the most capable Wrangler ever."
AN pointed out a few things to wonder about: whether or not the Wrangler will keep its current 3.6-liter V6 engine, if an eight-speed automatic transmission will be added and whether or not the model will retain its solid axles.
Additionally, a recent land purchase by the city of Toledo hints at a possible plant expansion. The city has obtained 32 acres of land next to the Wrangler-building facility, but neither Toledo nor the automaker has been willing to say that the plant will be expanded.
As federal regulators keep raising the standards for fuel economy in order to reduce emissions, automakers have been working to develop lighter vehicles. In one example, Ford recently kicked off production of its lighter, aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup, which the automaker says will be the most fuel-efficient version yet.