Chrysler workers in Toledo have reached a major milestone: 1 million Jeep Wranglers. You could sum up the day's celebration in two words: pride and heritage.
Employees rolled the one millionth Wrangler JK off the assembly line at the Toledo Assembly Complex in north Toledo Friday. Around 11 a.m., a four-door, black, 10th anniversary Rubicon marked the accomplishment. It will be delivered to a customer in Florida.
The original SUV dates back to 1940. Production of this newest Wrangler in Toledo began back in 2006.
Workers watched with a massive sense of pride, knowing they're keeping the local Jeep heritage alive.
"We're all part of giving America and the world something they really want. They value it just as much as we do," said Tina Fligor, who works at the complex.
"It's a great thing, especially when we've come a long way from where we were a few years ago to right now. And to see the millionth car is just wonderful," said Cheryl Weller, another worker from Toledo's complex.
"It's very exciting! I'm excited to be part of it, something I could talk about when I get older," said Cornelius Winters, an intern at Toledo Assembly Complex.
"This product is absolutely phenomenal. I had a chance to take one off-road in February in northern Michigan up ski slopes, and it's unbelievable what it will do," said Zach Leroux, plant manager of the Toledo complex.
The Glass City milestone is also a major milestone for workers at the MOBIS North America Plant, who build and deliver the Wrangler chassis to their next-door manufacturing neighbor.
"We just built the millionth chassis at 9:30 a.m., and it rolls off the line at 11. That's the partnership and hand-off between the two plants," explained Tyson Stoll, plant manager at MOBIS.
Pride is high for workers at the north Toledo complex, who say they look forward to building 1 million more.
"The employees are awesome. They work endless hours to build that car. A lot of quality goes into it. A lot of craftsmanship. We couldn't be happier or more proud of what's going on here in Toledo," said Dan Henneman, chief unit chairman of UAW Local 12.
What will drive workers to continue the count is the never-ending pursuit to build a quality product.
"We don't wait for a quality report to come back from JD Power or from Warranty, that's all reactive. We have our own quality metrics we drive ourselves to inside the plant," said Leroux.
As for the delay in Chrysler's Jeep Cherokee: A company spokesperson says prototype vehicles of the new Cherokee are still being made. Their target for production of the vehicles for sale to consumers is June, as well as getting the vehicles into showrooms in the third quarter.