Yahoo news is reporting that DaimlerChrysler is considering building the ultra-popular PT Cruiser at the current Jeep assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio when the current-generation Cherokee is retired next fall. The next-generation Cherokee (KJ) will go into production in the coming months at the new Jeep assembly plant, also in Toledo.
The interesting part of this article is that it metions that due to rapidly declining Cherokee sales, the plan to continue current-generation Cherokee production for the next few years may have been scrapped in favor of just going with the next-generation Cherokee beginning next fall (2002 model year). Here's a snippet:
DaimlerChrysler AG's American unit is weighing whether to build the PT Cruiser, a hot-selling melding of car and sport utility vehicle, at its Jeep assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio, sources familiar with the company's plans said on Wednesday.
The German-U.S. automaker's Chrysler group is looking at whether to build the PT Cruiser at one of two old Jeep factories when it stops making the current Jeep Cherokee SUV next fall. Chrysler is building a new factory nearby to assemble the redesigned 2002 Cherokee starting next summer.
The Toledo plant also makes the Jeep Wrangler SUV. The Toledo Blade first reported the story on Aug. 19.
PT Cruiser, with its 1930s gangster getaway car styling, bulging fenders and bullet-shaped headlights, is made at DaimlerChrysler's Toluca, Mexico, plant and production of the vehicle at the company's Graz, Austria plant will begin next spring or summer.
DaimlerChrysler spokesman Trevor Hale wouldn't confirm or deny the report.
``We are looking at the market and demand for the vehicle and evaluating whether we need to add more production.''
Full production has been reached in Mexico and after it is achieved in Austria, the company will be making PT Cruisers at an annual rate of 230,000 units.
One source said company officials have put the odds of Toledo building the PT Cruiser ``at less than 50 percent.''
``At one time, (Chrysler) fancied the idea of keeping the old Cherokee in production for a long time and it's just dropped off the sales chart now,'' another source said. ``They realise that may not be a good idea to keep it around so they're going to lose volume, so use PT Cruiser to make up the difference.''
Be sure to check out the entire article.