Manufacturing

FCA plans to spend $23 million to build a customization plant in Toledo

The 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 will be built just down the road from the new plant.

Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

As first reported in the Toledo Blade, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) wants to spend $23 million to build a new facility in Toledo, Ohio near where the company currently produces the Jeep Wrangler. The site is the location of the former Textileather and MedCorp properties. The price of the property? $1.

Details of the deal are still being worked out. Among them is a debate in Toledo City Council over the city's intent to use tax increment financing (TIF) for the property prior to the sale. Typically, these types of agreements allow cities to divert future tax revenue from a site toward a project that is in the public's interest such as an economic development or public improvement project.

Jeep Gladiator Top Dog Concept Jeep owners frequently customize their vehicles. The new Jeep Gladiator Top Dog Concept showed off some of those possible mods last year. Photo courtesy of FCA US LLC

Council is scheduled to take up the issue on January 5 during their regular meeting. If the agenda item passes, the TIF will be in place for 30 years. The City is expected to use the money to recoup the $6.8 million they have put into the site.

The $23 million commitment to the over 40-acre site includes the construction of a building that is between 150,000 and 250,000 square feet. This building will be used as a vehicle customization facility, according to an agreement reached between the City of Toldeo and FCA.

That agreement also specified that the facility will employ approximately 300 workers with an estimated payroll of $12 million, however market conditions and technological advancements may change those numbers.

FCA and the City have agreed to a four-year signature-to-occupancy timeline. Should the building not be completed and permitted for occupancy by that point, a 12-month extensions can be granted. After that, should the condition continue, the City has the option to purchase the property back from FCA for $1.

As part of the agreement, two streets will be given up, Twining Street and Medcorp Drive. A parking lot will be constructed on the site.

Additional infrastructure improvements are likely and will be paid for by FCA and the City, as laid out in the contract.

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New SUV

New Jeep Compass Coming Soon

The Compass gets a major update for 2022.

Stellantis/Jeep

The Chicago Auto Show is happening now, which means we've already seen a few new models and concepts. Just yesterday, Jeep introduced the new 2022 Compass compact SUV. It gets a new design inside and out, updated tech, and a load of new available driver aids. The Compass' refresh comes as new models from Ford, Subaru and others could cut into Jeep's off-road dominance.

As it was in previous model years, the new Compass is powered by a 2.4-liter "Tigershark" four-cylinder engine that makes 177 horsepower and 172 pound-feet of torque. It's good for up to 31 mpg on the highway in 2WD models and can deliver a max towing capacity of up to 2,000 pounds in 4WD models. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard for Compass Sport and Latitude 4X2 models, while all others get a nine-speed automatic transmission that can handle the 20:1 crawl ratio setting in the Trailhawk model.

An all-new Latitude LUX trim joins the Compass lineup for 2022 as well. It features leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped heated steering wheel, an eight-way power driver seat, a seven-inch full-color gauge cluster, and the larger 10.1-inch screen.


2022 Jeep Compass The new Compass is more upscale than its predecessor.Stellantis/Jeep


The Compass comes with a class-leading 8.4-inch infotainment touchscreen, but higher trims get an even larger 10.1-inch unit. It offers standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and runs Uconnect 5, a colorful, responsive infotainment system with advanced features and tech.

Several new safety features make an appearance, but most are added-cost options. The highway assist system offers a semi-autonomous driving feature, which Jeep says will become available later. Other tech includes traffic sign recognition, standard pedestrian/cyclist automatic emergency braking, a surround-view camera system, parallel and perpendicular parking assist, and a long list of more traditional advanced driver aids like blind spot monitoring and parking sensors.

The Compass lineup for 2022 includes five trims: Sport, Latitude, Latitude LUX, Limited, and Trailhawk. Pricing for the new Compass starts at $26,490, including a $1,495 destination charge. At the top of the lineup, the Trailhawk and Limited models both start at $32,890. It's expected to start arriving on dealers' lots in fall 2021.


2022 Jeep Compass New color schemes highlight the Compass' interior.Stellantis/Jeep

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Jeep Freedom models get special appearance-related upgrades.

Stellantis

The Fourth of July is almost here, and for many of us that means relaxing with family and friends over hot dogs, drinks, and fireworks. For Jeep, the holiday is another opportunity to tout its all-American roots. The brand just picked up an award for America's "Most Patriotic Brand," which is based on a survey of 6,000 Americans to choose the 50 companies that best represent America's patriotic spirit.

No huge surprises here. This year marks the 19th consecutive year that Jeep has been recognized as America's most patriotic brand. The automaker 's vehicles are synonymous with American cars for some people, and since 1941 the company has been making SUVs and off-road vehicles here.


2022 Jeep Wagoneer Flags adorn the side of the upcoming Wagoneer and Grand WagoneerStellantis


To celebrate the occasion, Jeep is offering special-edition Freedom models of each of its vehicles for the 2021 model year. The Freedom models have military-themed design features, matte black or Satin Carbon wheels, and an American flag decal on the side. The vehicles' hoods will be emblazoned with a large "Oscar Mike" (military term for "on the move") star on the hood as well. Wrangler and Gladiator models add an extra Oscar Mike star on the rear tailgate. As part of the rollout, Jeep will donate $250 to the USO for every 2021 Freedom model sold. Active and recently retired service members may also qualify for a $500 cash bonus.

Even after the Freedom models have come and gone, Jeep will retain flag-emblazoned models in its lineup. The 2022 Grand Wagoneer and the 2021 Grand Cherokee L both have American flag badging on their sides. Jeep says it will show off the new Grand Wagoneer on the outside of its tower in Auburn Hills, Michigan.


2021 Jeep Grand Cherokee L The new three-row Grand Cherokee also has flag badging.Stellantis

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