Liberty In NYC, Smaller Bonuses, Liberty at Center of Profit Plan, JFK Jr.'s Jeep

Date 2001/3/10 0:00:00 | Topic: Liberty

Various notes from around the Jeep world...

Jeep Liberty at New York Auto Show

Land Rover will unveil its new off-roader, the Freelander, to the North American market, and Jeep will show its new Liberty at the Show.

The 2001 New York International Auto Show opens for a special public Sneak Preview on Friday, April 13 from 1:00 - 8:00 p.m. Following the preview, the Show continues from Saturday, April 14 through Sunday, April 22. Prior to the public opening, the Show welcomes media and industry during its annual Press Preview, April 11 and 12.

Jeep Factory Annual Bonus Check Much Lower

From The Toledo Blade:

Profit-sharing checks for Toledo Jeep and other DaimlerChrysler AG hourly workers are expected to average $375 this year, down from $8,100 last year, a disappointment to many local workers.

"Sometimes it comes to an end, I guess," said Jim Eck, a Toledoan who has been employed at Toledo Jeep for 17 years. Outside of the plant, he said he had expected this yearís check to be at least a quarter of last yearís. He plans to invest less in his retirement accounts than he would have if the bonus were larger.

Marc Cespuglio, a 22-year Toledo Jeep employee, said he usually takes a vacation and renovates part of his Swanton Township home with his bonus check.

"Iíll be staying home this year. No vacation," he said.

Doug Fisher, a 25-year Toledo Jeep factory worker, said the lower checks, at the same time that the companyís unionized workers in Germany are getting higher checks, "puts a bad taste in our mouth."

Jeep worker Kimberley Toensing said the profit-sharing amount seems disheartening when she thinks about some of the deals top executives have negotiated. The single mother from Toledo, who has been employed at Jeep for almost eight years, said she usually puts her check in a savings account as an emergency fund. She is thankful for a company-paid program that pays her tuition to study horticulture at Owens Community College.

"I guess if people keep jobs, then itís not so hard to take," she said.

Richard Gartee, an 18-year Jeep employee, said local plant workers have been lucky to have their profit-sharing. GM workers last year received about $1,775, or only about 20 percent of what Daimlerís U.S. workers received. Workers shouldnít complain if they havenít prepared, he said.

Liberty At Center of Profit Plan

From The Toledo Blade:

DaimlerChrysler AGís ailing U.S. unit will become marginally profitable in 2002 under a three-year turnaround plan that will cost up to $3.9 billion, or three times as much as the Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep brands lost in last yearís fourth quarter, the German automaker announced yesterday.

The expected success of the Toledo-built Jeep Liberty, the first saleable versions of which will be made this spring, are among the keys to the Chrysler unit having an operating profit of $2 billion in 2003. The SUV is to be at dealerships by this summer.

Also, DaimlerChrysler expects to share car underbodies and major parts with partner Mitsubishi Motors Corp., said Chrysler unit chief Dieter Zetsche, who remained vague about the possibility of a similar arrangement with Jeeps and other light trucks.

By cutting 26,000 jobs, closing six factories, scaling back production of the Toledo-made Jeep Wrangler and other vehicles, giving dealers bonuses based on sales, and slashing supplier costs by 15 percent - all of which were previously announced - the Chrysler unit will make an $8.1 billion improvement in 2003ís operating profits, Mr. Zetsche said yesterday in Germany at a news conference broadcast to the firmís U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills.

"We are confident that we will deliver what we promise today," the Chrysler unit president and chief executive said. "We think that we are blessed with a very strong product portfolio and promising new launches within that time frame."


The Chrysler unit repeatedly has touted its hopes for the Liberty and its new $750 million Chrysler Drive factory, which incorporates some Mercedes-Benz technology and could house expanded production or a second vehicle. Still, even with the Liberty, the 5,000-employee Toledo Jeep Assembly Plant could have layoffs after Cherokee production ceases and Wrangler output is reduced.

And the Liberty, some analysts say, will go up against some tough competition in the United States from the Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Nissan Xterra, upcoming Saturn Vue, and other compact SUVs. Higher gas prices and other concerns mean Europe wonít be fertile ground for the Liberty, which will cost about $2,500 more to build than a Cherokee, said Jim Collins, an auto analyst with UBS Warburg in London.

JFK Jr's Jeep

Want to own a piece of history? How about JFK Jr's Jeep Wrangler? Here's the link to it on eBay...


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