A decision on whether to increase production of the Jeep Liberty should come within the next month or so, a union leader said.
DaimlerChrysler AG officials have been talking with union leaders about the Liberty and looking into making a "stretch" version of the Jeep Wrangler in 2004, United Auto Workers Local 12 leader Nick Vuich told The Blade. Any new work would likely result in the recall of laid off workers.
DaimlerChrysler officials would not comment about prospective products or possible production increases at the Jeep plant in Toledo. The automaker is evaluating market demand for the Liberty but won't make predictions for its 2003 production, spokeswoman Michele Tinson said.
Company executives are expected to decide soon whether to increase production of the vehicle that replaced the Cherokee last year, Vuich said. The new factory that makes the Liberty is at maximum line speed and workers are at maximum overtime, so producing more vehicles likely would mean hiring back workers, he said. Cherokee production ended last year and Wrangler output decreased.
Vuich said Toledo Jeep engineers have studied a prototype Wrangler with a longer wheelbase. They took measurements to determine whether it could be made with equipment at the plant, he told The Blade. Jeep employs about 3,800 workers in Toledo.