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Published: Saturday, 5/29/2004

Top 2 executives tour Jeep plant

DaimlerChrysler AG's top two U.S. executives toured Toledo Jeep Assembly's Jeep Wrangler-making operations yesterday and thanked workers, a company spokesman said.

The visit by Dieter Zetsche, Chrysler president and chief executive, and Thomas LaSorda, chief operating officer, occurred three days after the automaker hosted a media event for the 2004 1/2 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited.

The recently released model, which has an extended wheelbase, had a successful launch this spring at the Jeep Parkway and Stickney Avenue factories.

The executives met with Bruce Baumhower, president of United Auto Workers Local 12, which represents Toledo Jeep workers. Mr. Baumhower said the meeting was productive, but he declined to discuss details.

Mr. Zetsche and Mr. LaSorda visit plants from time to time, said spokesman Mary Beth Halprin, who did not have details of their Toledo Jeep itinerary. "They were there just to see operations and to thank people for all their hard work," she said.

Local 12 recently started a campaign called "Toledo Loves Jeep 2: Bring Home the Jobs" in an attempt to entice Chrysler to use local suppliers for an upcoming $2.1 billion expansion at Toledo Jeep. The expansion will double the number of vehicle models made at the plant to four.

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