The Jeep Cherokee crossover is moving from Fiat Chrysler’s main Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio to Belvidere, Illinois in order to make room for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL and Wrangler JL-based pickup truck. No jobs at the Toledo plant will be lost as Wrangler production is set to ramp up with the next-generation model, but employees there are still sad to see the Cherokee go elsewhere, according to Tyrel Linkhorn’s article in The Toledo Blade.
The Cherokee has long been built in Toledo, but is being moved to Illinois so the strong workforce in Ohio is responsible for building the Wrangler – the bread and butter of Jeep’s business. The Belvidere plant was formerly tasked with building the Dodge Dart compact, which was discontinued to free up production capacity at FCA’s North American plants so it could build more trucks and SUVs.
While no jobs will be lost in Toledo, some workers will still be without work while FCA retools the line to build the Wrangler. The Cherokee line will be shuttered this week, leaving certain employees without work until the all-new Wrangler JL enters production in the fourth-quarter of this year. In 2019 the Wrangler JK line will be shut down in order to prepare for the arrival of the Wrangler pickup, putting those workers on leave until that vehicle starts being built.