DETROIT – Chrysler will hire 200 people at its Ohio Jeep plant that makes the rugged Wrangler, the company said on Thursday.
The Wrangler is the Jeep model that is most like the iconic Jeep that became famous as a U.S. Army vehicle during World War Two. Demand for the Wrangler and the Wrangler Unlimited has caused Chrysler to find ways to increase production at the Toledo, Ohio plant, said Jodi Tinson, Chrysler spokeswoman.
The new hires will be in place on April 1.
Tinson said Chrysler will hire 130 workers that will offer "tag relief" for colleagues who need to take a break from the assembly line.
There are two shifts on the assembly line at the Toledo Wrangler plant, each working about 10 hours. There are presently no plans to add a third shift, because the paint shop of the plant is already at capacity, even after adding a third eight-hour shift on April 1.
Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited production from Toledo rose to more than 200,000 last year, a record. Of those, U.S. sales accounted for 141,669 Wranglers, a 16-percent rise from the previous year.
Chrysler has two parts of what it calls its Toledo Jeep Complex, one that makes the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited, and one that is now shut to prepare for production of the Jeep Cherokee.
The Cherokee, a sports utility vehicle, is replacing the Jeep Liberty, which was discontinued. Production of the Cherokee will begin in late May, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said two weeks ago.
The addition of the new workers was first reported by the Detroit Free Press.
(Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Bob Burgdorfer)