Chrysler to announce plan to replace its aging Jeep Liberty next week

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 11, 2011

On Nov. 16, Chrysler Group will be revealing details about what it is planning for its Toledo North Assembly plant. This is the date that CEO Sergio Marchionne is set to visit the plant to inform workers and local politicians about the plan to replace the Jeep Liberty.

Filings with state and local governments show that Chrysler is prepared to invest a minimum of $365 million in the 10-year-old plant and it also intends to create 1,105 jobs in this facility to make the successor to the Liberty.

Toledo North was built by Chrysler right before Toledo Supplier Park, the newest assembly plant.

This factory rolls out the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited. Toledo North is the only assembly plant owned by Chrysler that continues to operate on a single shift.

Chrysler is expected to announce the details before it terminates the production of the Liberty's line mate, the Dodge Nitro, this December. The name for the Liberty's replacement may either still be the same (which has been used starting in 2001) or it could use its previous name Cherokee, which has always been the name used in markets abroad.

This would be the first Chrysler SUV to use Fiat's CUSW architecture. According to Chrysler’s five-year plan, this architecture will be used to underpin up to eight future Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep vehicles in the high-volume C- and D-segments.

A Jeep spokesman has denied that the new vehicle will be displayed during Marchionne’s visits to the plant next week. The outgoing- Jeep Liberty’s sales in the U.S. are 34% higher through October. Meanwhile, Nitro sales have climbed by 16%.

Since the Jeep Liberty was launched in 2002, it has been able to dominate the market for mid-size sport-utility vehicles (SUV), thanks to its unique blend of Jeep capability and personal freedom. For the 2008 model, the Jeep Liberty has been renewed from the ground up while still boasting of its iconic 4x4 heritage and refined on-the-road handling.

Its vaunted 4x4 capability has been augmented by two Jeep Trail Rated four-wheel-drive system offerings: Command-Trac and the Selec-Trac II. Its on-the-road handling, meanwhile is now augmented by rack-and-pinion steering, a new independent suspension on the front and new five-link suspension on the rear.

The latest installation of the Liberty -- available in either Jeep Liberty Sport and Jeep Liberty Limited -- now offers a redesigned exterior that boasts of a more rugged, classic Jeep look, as well as an interior that feature enhanced seat comfort and larger space for cargo and storage space.

2008 Jeep Liberty marks the global debut of the new Sky Slider full-open canvas roof that allows occupants to enjoy an "Only in a Jeep" open-air experience. Further features and options offered for the new 2008 Jeep Liberty include remote start, memory seats and mirrors, rain-sensing wipers, and express up/down windows.

George Murphy, Senior Vice President for Global Marketing at Chrysler Group quipped that the new 2008 Jeep Liberty stands out from its rivals by offering classic Jeep design, two four-wheel-drive systems as well as refined on-road ride and handling. Moreover, the new Liberty offers enhanced cargo and utility and other features usually not found on a mid-size SUV.

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