FCA US, UT Partner to Train Toledo Assembly Complex Workers for Jeep® Wrangler Launch

  • Week-long “Toledo Way” training program included three days at UT
  • More than 2,200 employees took part in launch readiness classes and activities
  • UT program focused on expanding World Class Manufacturing knowledge
  • $700 million investment transformed Toledo North plant for Wrangler production
  • Plant adding 700 new jobs to support production
October 20, 2017 , Toledo, Ohio -  The FCA US Toledo Assembly Complex and The University of Toledo College of Business and Innovation have teamed up to prepare more than 2,200 workers to build the next-generation Jeep® Wrangler, launching later this year.
Over the past six weeks, employees from the Toledo North plant, where the new Wrangler will be built, have been participating in a comprehensive training and launch readiness program known as the “Toledo Way.” The week-long program included three, eight-hour days of hands-on technical training at The University of Toledo’s Scott Park Campus, a day of community service, and a day devoted to learning about the Jeep brand and time behind the wheel of a Wrangler to experience its off-road capability.
The hands-on activities, developed collaboratively with UT, focused on expanding the employees’ knowledge of and competence in World Class Manufacturing, the Company’s manufacturing methodology that aims to eliminate waste, while improving quality and safety in a systematic and organized way. The classes were tailored to meet the specific needs of workers in various departments and taught by instructors from UT and Northwest State Community College.
“This training was unprecedented in size and scope,” said Chuck Padden, Toledo Assembly Complex Plant Manager. “It would have been impossible for us to execute this training while also preparing for an important vehicle launch without the cooperation of the UT and Northwest State Community College staff.
“They not only provided us with a location large enough to hold these classes, but enhanced our curriculum by developing unique hands-on activities that would engage our employees,” said Padden. “We believe this experience has given our Toledo workforce the necessary tools to ensure a successful launch of the Wrangler.”
Production, salaried and skilled trades employees cycled through the training in shifts of 180 people, six days a week. The course curriculum included classes on quality, safety, problem solving and workplace organization, the way in which parts are delivered to an operator on the line. In one class on logistics, the Toledo employees used Legos to build a car, simulating the importance of on-time parts delivery to the line.    
“The University of Toledo is proud of this excellent partnership with FCA US that enhances our collective efforts to strengthen our community,” UT President Sharon L. Gaber said. “Working together, two of Toledo’s anchor institutions continue to contribute as major forces to the region’s growth and development. People make the difference, and we are providing these hard-working men and women high-level training to succeed for their families and for our region.”
“The UT College of Business and Innovation is pleased and excited to deliver this important training program for more than 2,200 employees at Toledo’s Jeep manufacturing facilities,” said Dr. Gary Insch, dean of the UT College of Business and Innovation. “Jeep is one of America’s most iconic brands, and COBI, as one of Bloomberg’s top 100 business schools in the nation, is proud to be their educational partner. We are committed to their continued success.”
The Toledo Assembly training sessions were led by Dr. Anand Kunnathur, professor in the Department of Information, Operations and Technology Management.
This is the second time that the Toledo plant has turned to UT for training support. Back in 2013, the plant worked with the university to prepare the workforce for the launch of the Jeep Cherokee. Since then, UT has delivered training classes directly to skilled trades on the plant floor.
Toledo North Retools for Jeep Wrangler Production
The Jeep Wrangler has called Toledo, Ohio, home for more than 75 years. Since 2006, the iconic Jeep model has been built in the south plant of the Toledo Assembly Complex, or what has also been known as Toledo Supplier Park, an innovative manufacturing project that engages supplier partners to help build the Wrangler body and chassis before being transferred to the FCA US-managed south plant for final assembly.

When the next-generation Wrangler launches later this year, it will continue to be built in Toledo, but will roll off the line from Toledo Assembly’s north plant. The Wrangler’s move from the south to the north plant represents the second step of the Company’s two-phased, $3.5 billion industrialization plan to realign its U.S. manufacturing operations to expand the Jeep and Ram brands. FCA US is investing $700 million to retool the north plant for production of the all-new Wrangler and adding 700 new jobs.

To date, more than 2 million Wranglers have rolled off the line of Toledo’s south plant.
FCA US LLC is a North American automaker based in Auburn Hills, Michigan. It designs, manufactures, and sells or distributes vehicles under the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep®, Ram, FIAT and Alfa Romeo brands, as well as the SRT performance designation. The Company also distributes Mopar and Alfa Romeo parts and accessories. FCA US is building upon the historic foundations of Chrysler Corp., established in 1925 by industry visionary Walter P. Chrysler and Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino (F.I.A.T.), founded in Italy in 1899 by pioneering entrepreneurs, including Giovanni Agnelli. FCA US is a member of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V. (FCA) family of companies. (NYSE: FCAU/ MTA: FCA).

FCA is an international automotive group listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol “FCAU” and on the Mercato Telematico Azionario under the symbol “FCA.”

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Contact Information

Jodi Tinson
Cell: (586) 219-0677
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