http://www.quadratec.com/c/blog/uaw-...ation-wrangler

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, already facing slumping Jeep sales as well as a swing and miss with plans to bring a Grand Wagoneer to market, now could be in danger of not even reaching dealerships this coming year with its next-generation Wrangler.

According to Bruce Baumhower, president of United Auto Workers Local 12 in Toledo, Ohio, production of the next-generation Wrangler will not begin in earnest until November as FCA works to retool its Toledo Assembly Line in preparation for the new vehicle. If this production date stands, then dealerships should begin seeing JL deliveries by that month's end, or possibly by early December. However, because of the later production start date, any type of retooling, training, or quality control delays would push FCA's path to dealerships right into 2018. Baumhower added that a limited amount of JL vehicles would be produced "much earlier" than November in order to work out any production line issues.

FCA declined comment and noted that an official launch date for the new Wrangler has not yet been announced. Mike Manley, head of the Jeep brand for FCA, said earlier this year that the automaker wanted to debut the JL in the first half of 2017, but then amended those remarks during November's Los Angeles Auto Show when he said the company now was 'unsure' when the vehicle would launch.

Baumhower, speaking with The Toledo Blade, said production of Jeep Cherokee vehicles on the Toledo line would end sometime in April, after which FCA would shutter the facility for six months to replace tooling and adapt the line for the body-on-frame Wrangler. FCA previously announced the Cherokee would move to an existing Fiat Chrysler plant in Belvidere, Ill., sometime during the Spring.

While the company works to prep that former Cherokee line for the new JL, it has no plans to alter production of the existing JK Wrangler.

(Toledo is) going to continue to run the current Wrangler just like they always have, working six or seven days a week, Baumhower said.

As long as the November schedule holds up, FCA would produce both its JL and JK Wrangler vehicles side by side in Toledo from November until March 2018, after which the JK Wrangler will cease production in favor of a Wrangler-based Pickup which is expected later in 2018.