The Toledo Blade, the hometown newspaper of many Jeep employees, recently published an article about the recent completion of the brand new Jeep assembly plant that will begin producing the all-new Jeep (codenamed "KJ") this summer. Here's a snippet:
Nearly three years after the aging Toledo Jeep Assembly plant was promised an extensive overhaul, workers will fire up the first production line at a $600-million factory Tuesday- and begin manufacturing prototype bodies for the Cherokee's long-awaited, eventual successor.
The first completed, still-secret-looking Jeep is expected to roll off the final assembly line in July, a precursor to the sport-utility vehicles that will be sold to the public next year, after quality is assured from months of testing.
Code-named KJ, the new SUV is expected to take its place on dealership lots summer, 2001, beside Toledo Jeep's two other offerings - the legendary Wrangler and long-lived Cherokee - in a market swarming with competitors. The vehicle, the name of which has not been disclosed by the company, is expected to be in the same price range as the Cherokee. Eventually, the Cherokee will be discontinued.
The factory list price of a basic Cherokee SE, two-door, two-wheel drive model is $17,335. The new factory is expected to build at least as many KJs as it has Cherokees, of which Toledo Jeep built 187,000 last year. Jeep dealerships have yet to see the KJ. Bowling Green Jeep Lincoln Mercury wasn't able to get anything out of customers who are Toledo Jeep employees helping to work out the final engineering design in the past few months, said Mark Campbell, the dealership's general sales manager.
Be sure to check out the entire article, which includes a picture from inside the factory.