FCA is building a Jeep customization facility near its Wrangler/Gladiator assembly plant.
Jeep is getting ready to build a brand new customization facility in North Toledo, within spitting distance of the Toledo Assembly Complex where the Jeep Wrangler SUV and its open-bed cousin, the Jeep Gladiator pickup truck, are built.
According to local news outlet The Blade, the 250,000 square-foot facility will be operated by one of Fiat Chrysler's suppliers, employing a workforce of about 300 people to fit Wranglers and Gladiators with upgraded equipment. FCA isn't ready to divulge precisely what sort of upgrades will be on offer, but we can expect the usual off-road-oriented accessories: upsized terrain tires, beefed-up bumpers with winch mounts and brush guards, suspension lift kits, and the like.
All of those things are big business for the Jeep Wrangler aftermarket already, and the popularity of such modifications is only expected to grow in the coming years. With this planned 250,000-square-foot Toledo facility, positioned essentially right across the street from FCA's Toledo complex, it seems Jeep is looking to expand its share of the customization market.
The land where FCA is looking to build its new facility was previously occupied by automotive vinyl supplier Textileather and ambulance service provider MedCorp. The properties were acquired by the city in recent years as it sought to incentivize FCA to keep its Wrangler production operations local. They will be sold to the automaker for $1, with a $1 buy-back option in the event that FCA fails to build a vehicle customization facility within four years.
"The iconic Jeep brand has a special connection and history with Toledo and all of its residents," FCA spokesperson Kevin E. Frazier said. "We appreciate the city council's consideration of this proposal and would like to thank the city of Toledo and the mayor's office for all of their efforts," he continued, adding that "at this time, we have no further details to provide."
Jeep already has an expansive range of dealer-installed performance parts and accessories for the Wrangler and Gladiator, including auxiliary lighting kits, lift kits, performance wheels, and cargo management solutions.