Building Chrysler, Part 3: Iacocca, creativity and a whole new world

Plant No. 19) Chrysler’s 19th different plant in North America was actually built by a foreign firm – Renault in 1985 – after the French automaker attempted to re-enter the North American market by acquiring AMC/Jeep, back in 1979.

It was located near Toronto, Ontario, Canada, and built to assemble the Renault-based Eagle Premier sedans.  In 1988 it became Chrysler’s Brampton Assembly Plant when it acquired the assets of AMC and the plant was converted to handle production of the Dodge Monaco and Eagle Premier. Those products were followed by Chrysler’s LH family of cars introduced in 1992 – the Eagle Vision, Chrysler Concorde and Dodge Intrepid, plus the long-wheelbase Chrysler LHS.  It now assembles all of FCA US full-size cars for the North American market – the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger and Challenger.  Status: Active

Brampton Assembly

New Dodge Chargers –one of three FCA car models built at the plant –roll down the assembly line at Chrysler’s Brampton Assembly Plant in Ontario, Canada.

 

Plant No. 20) The purchase of AMC/Jeep by Chrysler in 1988 also included the aging Kenosha Assembly Plant, the first elements of which were built in 1902 by the Thomas B. Jeffrey Company to assemble Rambler and Jeffrey vehicles.  Jeffrey ceased operation in 1916 and was taken over by Nash Motors, which produced cars at the Wisconsin facility from 1916 until 1954, when the Nash-Kelvinator Corporation merged with the Hudson Motor Car Company to create the American Motors Corporation (AMC). The last vehicles to be assembled there were the Dodge Omni and Plymouth Horizon.  After the assembly line was shut down, Chrysler continued using Kenosha to build engines until 2010.  Status: Out of service.

Plant Nos. 21-A and 21-B) A sprawling Jeep assembly complex located in Toledo, Ohio was acquired by Chrysler as part of the AMC/Jeep acquisition in August 1987 and has seen extensive modifications and upgrades over the years.  The original facility, known as Toledo South, was built in 1910 as a Willys-Overland assembly and engine plant.  It was the initial Willys Jeep CJ production line, with the first models earmarked for use by the U.S. Army in 1940.  Over time three different assembly lines have operated at the complex.

The entire facility became known as simply Toledo Assembly when Chrysler Corporation acquired it in the fall of 1997. The new Toledo North Assembly Plant was built for the production of the Jeep Liberty, which launched in April 2001. The 2007 Dodge Nitro launched in August 2006 and the 2008 Jeep Liberty launched in July 2007. The last Dodge Nitro rolled off the line on Dec. 16, 2011. Production of the Jeep Liberty ended on Aug. 16, 2012. The all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee began production there on June 24, 2013. Status: Active

Home of the Jeep

Original Jeep Home — The Toledo Assembly Complex has been building Jeeps, including the iconic Wrangler, Cherokee, Grand Cherokee, Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer have rolled off various assembly lines in Toledo.


Plant No. 22)
While not purely a Chrysler facility, the Diamond-Star Assembly plant, built in Normal, Ill. was part of a joint venture with Mitsubishi Motor Manufacturing of America.  Completed in March 1988, it was designed as the assembly line for the sporty Mitsubishi Eclipse, Eagle Talon and Plymouth Laser.  Mitsubishi had a long-standing relationship with Chrysler which began back in 1970, when Chrysler took a 15 percent share in the Japanese automaker and began selling rebadged Mitsubishis as Dodge Colts and Plymouth Champs.  The automaker also included Mitsubishi engines in many of its new models. Chrysler’s half of the joint venture was bought up by Mitsubishi in 1993, but Chrysler continued to have vehicles assembled there until 2012.  Status: Out of service.