Chrysler Celebrates the Rich History of the Jeep Brand in the Toledo Community
Date 2007/6/22 17:43:57 | Topic: Miscellaneous
|One of our readers wrote in to tell us about the press event at the Jeep facility in Toledo earlier this week:|
The PR event held at the "Liberty Park" across from the 100 year old Willys Overland site was a very positive announcement that one of the three smoke stacks would be saved from the wrecking ball as the original Jeep Plant demolition nears completion. The tallest of the stacks bearing the OVERLAND name will remain for the future as a tribute to the birthplace of the storied Willys Jeep. In addition Chrysler officials have organized a charity effort that involves the sale of individual bricks from the smokestacks as commemorative souvenirs. The Company will provide a monetary match for the bricks sold as a donation to support the charities of the Toledo Boys and Girls Club. During the presentation there were several vintage JEEP vehicles on display to honor the event.
The official press release after the jump...
Toledo, Ohio, Jun 18, 2007 - As demolition of the former Jeep Parkway facility in Toledo draws to a close, the Chrysler Group today announced plans to preserve one of the three recognizable smokestacks on the site. The smokestacks have been a well known part of the Toledo skyline since 1915.
Toledo's Parkway Plant was the oldest manufacturing facility in North America, churning out approximately 11 million vehicles in its 96-year history. Operations at the site ceased in 2006, after 64 years of manufacturing Jeep brand products, including military vehicles for World War II. Production of the Jeep Wrangler and the new, four-door Unlimited version of the Wrangler was relocated to the new, $2.1 billion state-of-the-art Toledo Supplier Park last year.
"While the Parkway facility no longer served our manufacturing needs, the site holds a rich history and is close to my heart," said Deb Morrisssett, Vice President - Regulatory Affairs for the Chrysler Group. "We are invested in Toledo's past and the city's future. We hope that the preserved smokestack serves as a reminder to the citizens of Toledo of the important role they played in history."
In 1909, the site became the headquarters and main manufacturing facility for the Willys-Overland Motor Company. Parkway began producing Jeep military vehicles in the early 1940s before switching over to the Civilian Jeep (CJ) in 1945. In 1953 Kaiser Motors purchased Willys-Overland, and ten years later Kaiser-Jeep Corporation took ownership and then sold it to American Motors Corporation in 1970.
The Chrysler Group also announced plans for bricks from the two demolished smokestacks. "We're inviting Toledo residents to own a piece of Jeep history by purchasing the bricks from those smokestacks," said Frank Fountain, Senior Vice President - External Affairs and Public Policy for the Chrysler Group. "Proceeds from the sale will go to the Boys and Girls Club of Toledo. In addition, the DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund will match the proceeds - doubling the benefit to this worthy cause. So in a way, the two stacks will remain a part of this community." The bricks will be available for $39.99. Details on the brick sale can be found at www.thescoop-cg.com/jeepbricks/.
The Chrysler Group employs 7,941 in the state of Ohio, generating $465 million in annual wages and providing more than $26 million in taxable income to the state. But the company's commitment to the city of Toledo and state of Ohio goes beyond business. Chrysler also sponsors a wide variety of community programs in Toledo, including the Art Tatum Jazz Heritage Festival, the Toledo Urban League, City's Youth Entrepreneur Program, Toledo Opera, the Toledo Museum of Art, Valentine Theatre and the Diamante Awards.
The Chrysler Group, headquartered in Auburn Hills, Mich., produces Chrysler, Jeep®, Dodge and Mopar® brand vehicles and products. Total sales worldwide in 2006 were 2.7 million vehicles. Sales outside of North America were the highest in a decade with an increase of 15 percent over 2005. On the heels of the company’s record product launch year (Chrysler Group launched 10 all-new vehicles in 2006), the company plans to extend that streak with eight all-new products in 2007. Its product lineup features some of the world's most recognizable vehicles, including the Chrysler 300, Jeep Commander and Dodge Charger. The DaimlerChrysler Corporation Fund, the Company's philanthropic arm, gave $23.6 million in grants in 2006.