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LibertyJeep Liberty Assembly in Toledo, Ohio to Lose Shift
Posted by mike on 2008/1/16 8:25:18 (2154) reads

An interesting article over at indicates that the Toledo Jeep Assembly plant where they make the Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro will be losing their 3rd shift in the near future, with more changes to come.

The article also talks about how Chrysler was a bit unprepared for the huge demand for the Wrangler Unlimited and the ongoing issues with the new Liberty's sky-slider roof.

Tom LaSorda and James Press, both vice chairman and president, said in separate interviews that the privately held auto firm views the Jeep brand as one of its greatest assets, and said the brand must be protected.

In a veiled reference to vehicles such as the Nitro, which is made on the same lines as the Liberty, Press said Chrysler officials will begin paring down the company's many model offerings and concentrating on the market segment where each brand is strongest.

Both the Nitro and Liberty are assembled at Toledo Jeep Assembly complex, which also makes the Wrangler in factories next door.

Both spoke during the media preview for the North American International Auto Show, which opens to the public Saturday in the Cobo Center in downtown Detroit. The show has more than 700 vehicles.

LaSorda said last year's introduction of the four-door version of the Wrangler, the Wrangler Unlimited, blew away sales expectations.

''Nobody expected it to be that explosive,'' he said, adding praise for the local work force and the unique ''supplier park'' model that the plant utilizes for the Wrangler. Outside supplier employees make the body and paint the vehicles, and Chrysler workers put it together.

He expects sales of the Liberty to expand in 2008 because of a wider roll-out of the Sky Slider sunroof, which workers said had some leakage problems initially.

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Poster Thread
Posted: 2008/1/16 22:37  Updated: 2008/1/16 22:37
Just popping in
Joined: 2003/4/17
From: Sydney, Australia
Posts: 6
 Re: Jeep Liberty Assembly in Toledo, Ohio to Lose Shift
How's the Nitro selling over there ?

Are customers getting discounts on Nitro and JK Unlimited in US dealerships ?

We've got retail ( full MSRP ) orders going back to August for cars that are not even built yet. Every dealer in Australia is screaming for Nitros and Unlimiteds, we're losing sales to other brands, people just won't wait 6-9 months for this kind of car. I've just received a JK 2 door for a retail order that was accepted in February 2007 !!!

It seems to me that Chrysler management still has a lot of work to do....

Poster Thread
Posted: 2008/1/17 8:35  Updated: 2008/1/17 8:35
Just can't stay away
Joined: 2006/7/25
Posts: 97
 Re: Jeep Liberty Assembly in Toledo, Ohio to Lose Shift
I see a fair amount of Nitros on the road here, but they're all the bargain-basement trim-level ones with the gray plastic fenders and steel wheels. I rarely see the loaded up ones with color-matched overfenders and larger alloy wheels. What that tells me is that people here aren't buying the Nitro because they want it, but rather they need a cheap small/mid SUV and shopped around, and went with the really cheap one.

Poster Thread
Posted: 2008/1/17 9:05  Updated: 2008/1/17 10:43
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/7/20
From: The Great White North
Posts: 494
 Re: Jeep Liberty Assembly in Toledo, Ohio to Lose Shift
U.S. '07 sales figures for comparison (through OCT 07 --latest Nitro data I could get my hands on):

Total '07 U.S. sales of the Wranglers was >120,000, with God knows how many on backorder!

G'day mate!

Poster Thread
Posted: 2008/1/16 10:04  Updated: 2008/1/16 10:21
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/7/20
From: The Great White North
Posts: 494
 Re: Jeep Liberty Assembly in Toledo, Ohio to Lose Shift
Geeee, I would have neeeeeeever seen that problem with the Sky Slider coming.

I love the idea, but keeping water out is always a daunting engineering task, especially as the seals wear. I'm in snow country & wouldn't trust it at all... unless I was just going to lease it for a few years.

As to the ongoing demand (BACKLOG) for Unlimiteds that's been reported for the past year+...
Jeez JEEP, wakeup, it's REAL!
So increase your manufacturing capacity already!! About the time the initial "swell" of JK orders starts to subside (end of 08?) you should be ready to supplement the lineup with JTs, using that same capacity.

Poster Thread
Posted: 2008/1/16 17:38  Updated: 2008/1/16 17:38
Just can't stay away
Joined: 2006/1/26
Posts: 116
 Re: Jeep Liberty Assembly in Toledo, Ohio to Lose Shift
You stole my thunder, but hit it right on the head.

When i first saw the sky slider, I thought.....awesome!!!!,crap it's gonna leak bad. Same with the freedom top in the JK.

And right again on the 4 dr JK

I can see the big meeting in 200/2001

Jeep Big-wigs: There's a trend we read about in Consumer Reports adn Auto Trend magazines we need to discuss. The Cute-Ute. Lets take away one of our best selling products, the XJ/Cherokee....we'll replace it with someting cute to sell to the cute-ute crowd and make it fairly capable.
Jeep Marketing...Yeah, we'll introduce something called "Trail Rated", slap it on the side and it will make people feel good.
Jeep Engineers: <Shudder> Ummmm...ok. Maybe we could put a diesel in it?
Jeep Executives: Sure, you can put a diesel in it, but only for a year.

Flash Forward 5 years....

Jeep Executives: We need something new...we need a really capable vehicle that can hold more than 2 people and a cooler....something like the old Cherokee.
Jeep Marketing: Something people can relate to...and trust.
The mail room intern passing by: Make a 4 door Wrangler...
Jeep Executive: I've got it, why don't we make a 4 door Wrangler!
Jeep Marketing: I don't think it will sell that much, but we can make it look like an insect. Everyone like bugs...right? I mean, look at all the bug movies out there...

Poster Thread
Posted: 2008/1/17 8:45  Updated: 2008/1/17 8:45
Just can't stay away
Joined: 2006/7/25
Posts: 97
 Re: Jeep Liberty Assembly in Toledo, Ohio to Lose Shift
They started working on the KJ long before 2000. I don't disagree that it was a horrible decision to stop making the XJ. But the KJ is the best selling SUV of that size ever. It was a major success. They should have sold them side-by-side as was originally planned. I've owned both an XJ and a KJ, and they're both about the same size inside. And the stock KJ is every bit as capable as the stock XJ was. Sure, you can lift an XJ higher since it has two live axles and not IFS, but talking about two stock 4x4s with command trac and 6 cylinder engines, they can both do the same stuff I ask of them, namely muddy, rutted fire access roads with loose rocks, roots, and logs.

I'd prefer an XJ, but the KJ wasn't a marketing mistake. It's kept the company afloat.

Poster Thread
Posted: 2008/1/16 9:43  Updated: 2008/1/16 9:43
Just can't stay away
Joined: 2005/7/13
From: Peoria
Posts: 150
 Re: Jeep Liberty Assembly in Toledo, Ohio to Lose Shift
I bet as they get the Liberty rolling they will end up getting rid of the Nitro. With the new Dodge Journey coming out where does the Nitro really fit into the Dodge lineup.\
I think the new Liberty will end up doing ok. I think it would do even better if they offered some kind of hybrid model to compete with the Ford Escape.
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