DaimlerChrysler AG is set today to give details on a $2.1 billion expansion of Toledo Jeep Assembly - which in two years will double the number of vehicle models made at the plant to four - and reveal major parts suppliers for the project.
As the result of a historic agreement forged with United Auto Workers Local 12 in December, Chrysler has been laying the groundwork for a manufacturing arrangement in which suppliers will produce the chassis and painted bodies for the upcoming replacement for the Jeep Wrangler and another vehicle built off its platform.
Suppliers are to share the cost for the expansion in an arrangement that will be new to both the UAW and the United States but common elsewhere.
The supplier shops are to be staffed at least in part by Local 12 members, who will work for the same wages as at Jeep through 2011, and will feed a Chrysler final assembly shop to be built near the 3-year-old Toledo North Assembly Plant off Stickney Avenue.
Chrysler will continue to make the Jeep Liberty at Toledo North along with a Dodge off the sport-utility vehicle's platform starting in 2006.
Tom LaSorda, Chrysler's chief operating officer, and other executives from both the automaker and the chosen suppliers are scheduled to give reporters details today on the expansion.
Afterward, they plan to host a celebration with Ohio Gov. Bob Taft, Toledo Mayor Jack Ford, Ohio UAW Director Lloyd Mahaffey, and other union and government officials.
A Chrysler spokesman yesterday declined to comment further on the announcements to be made today.
Forbes magazine, however, reported in its latest issue that the paint shop supplier will be Durr AG, a Stuttgart, Germany, company that does other work with DaimlerChrysler.
Durr was chosen recently by DaimlerChrysler to supply two paint shops at factories in Germany, and it supplies General Motors Corp. and other automakers.
UAW Local 12 President Bruce Baumhower has been leading a community-wide campaign to persuade Chrysler to pick Toledo area companies and suppliers for some of the new work at Toledo Jeep.
For smaller suppliers for the new vehicle, he has urged the automaker to encourage any from out of town to build a factory in Toledo to make their parts.
Construction on Toledo Jeep's expansion initially was planned to begin this spring. Although construction has been delayed, plans to begin producing the Wrangler's replacement in 2006 are not expected to be affected.
Meanwhile, the expansion apparently spells the end for the Jeep Parkway plant, where Wrangler bodies currently are built and painted. Jeep Parkway is the country's longest-running auto plant.
Contact Julie M. McKinnon
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