DETROIT — Chrysler plans to add new, distinct models to the former American Motors lineup and to improve the quality of Jeep vehicles made in Toledo, Ohio, a Chrysler spokesman said Thursday.
The quality improvement at Toledo, the only U.S. Jeep plant, could include new equipment such as robots but will not create a commitment to keep the plant open after the current Jeep lineup is replaced in the early 1990s, said Chrysler spokesman Baron Bates.
"We're not even sure we're going to do it. It's one of the things we're looking for at Toledo. We're looking for ways to improve the quality of current Jeep production," Bates said.
"The issue of what happens after we replace the current generation of Jeep models is the big issue that has to be decided in Toledo," he said.
Chrysler, which has said it has more plants than it needs, still is deciding what products it will produce in which plants in the next decade, and which plants it will close.
Bates said he didn't know when those decisions would be completed or announced.
The Toledo plant, which has 5,700 hourly workers, is one of four that Chrysler acquired when it bought AMC on Aug. 5. Industry analysts have long speculated that Chrysler will close the aging, multistory plant when the current Jeep lineup is replaced, and most likely a Kenosha, Wis., assembly plant as well.
Richard Dauch, Chrysler executive vice president-manufacturing, said earlier this week that Chrysler did not need all four AMC plants in addition to the nine assembly plants it already has and that it will close some plants.
The four plants include a brand-new, high-tech Bramalea, Canada, plant, which is producing the new Renault-designed Eagle Premier sedan; the Kenosha plant, which builds rear-wheel-drive Chrysler luxury cars and the revived Omni-Horizon subcompact, and a Brampton, Canada, plant that makes the Jeep Wrangler and a four-wheel-drive car called the Eagle.