Terrain course at Toledo plant for JL Wrangler launch

ArcherAce

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Do you know if they are planning on something big on 11/13, if that date is correct? I think we're all dying to see it before the LA show so hopefully something before then.
They have not told us anything. Everyone I ask about the new course gives a different story.



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WaltA

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Can't wait! :rock: It'd be cool if they have the first JL roll off the line and drive it straight out the plant to climb some hills.
And every JL after it, follows the same path. :idea:

Dust, dirt, and mud, factory installed! :clap:
 

MLPP

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Just caught this on The Blade. Turns out the new off-road terrain course was built to provide "immersion into what it calls the Toledo Way, part of a larger team-building effort to prepare its labor force here to build the next-generation of the Wrangler. There’s community service, a crash course in Jeep history, classroom training, and — best of all — the chance to get off-road." :like:


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Over six weeks this summer and fall, the company is tossing the keys to some 3,500 employees of the Toledo Assembly Complex so they can hopefully make a personal connection to the vehicles they build. FCA contracted with an outside company to design the course and provide the drivers, including Mr. Qualley.

“Some of them haven’t had the opportunity to experience what they’re building so that’s kind of where this is coming in and it’s connecting the dots for a lot of them,” Mr. Qualley says. “Honestly, it’s pretty cool to see.”

Fiat Chrysler is pitching the program as an immersion into what it calls the Toledo Way, part of a larger team-building effort to prepare its labor force here to build the next-generation of the Wrangler. There’s community service, a crash course in Jeep history, classroom training, and — best of all — the chance to get off-road.

Work crews spent the better part of three weeks sculpting more than 3,500 tons of dirt, rock, and ground up asphalt into a pair of craggy courses meant to show the Wrangler’s rugged attributes.

As the birthplace of the brand, Toledo knows Jeep’s heritage better than anywhere. From the Willys MB to the Cherokee, to the modern-day Wrangler, the city’s auto workers have built Jeeps for generations.

But they don’t often get the chance to really explore those vehicles, or how their individual role helps build the most capable off-road vehicles in the market. Getting out there on the track changes that.

“It gives you an appreciation for what we are actually building, instead of it just being parts going on a car,” Kimberly Kille, a 22-year veteran of the plant told me on Wednesday.

She likened the ride she took on the course last week to the Magnum at Cedar Point, just without the clicking of the lift chain.

“It was pretty intimidating,” she says with a smile. “I loved it, though.”

Like the employees, we started riding shotgun with a professional driver on the more challenging of the two courses, then had a chance to tackle a toned-down version on own.

I’ve been off-roading as a rider once before, so I knew a little of what to expect. Still, crawling up a hill seeing nothing but puffy clouds beyond the hood is an unnatural feeling.

“It messes with you,” acknowledges Mr. Qualley.

He’s a skilled driver, and he walks me through what he’s doing at each step of the way and how the course shows off the Wrangler’s capabilities. How it crawls over an uneven bed of logs in low gear, how the front sway bar can be disconnected with the press of a button to allow more travel for the front wheels to stay in contact with the ground while climbing over an obstacle, how the hill descent control lets him take his foot off the brake while the vehicle slowly eases down a steep grade.

“We just let it do the work. And that’s what we’re telling people when they’re driving,” he says. “We just tell them nice and easy.”

I take that advice to heart. Point the wheels in the right direction and let the Wrangler do the work. It performs flawlessly. Now, this isn’t true off-roading. There’s no need for spotters pointing out rocks or calculating the best path up a washed out trail. But, like the employees, I get a better appreciation for what this vehicle can do and just how special it is.

The new Wrangler is still a couple of months away, but it’s getting closer. FCA officials say the full first shift will be back in the plant on Monday, and they’ve told us it will be in dealerships early next year.

Early spy shots show a vehicle that looks mostly the same — enthusiasts would likely revolt were it to be anything different. FCA has promised better fuel economy for the new model. They’ve also promised the new Wrangler, known internally as the JL, will be every bit as capable as the current model.

No doubt that will be closely tested by hardcore Jeep fans.

"It's more than just a vehicle for people. It is the lifestyle," Mr. Qualley says. "It's cheesy to say, but it's part of what they are. It has its own culture."
 

The Great Grape Ape

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Effin' Eh , they finally did it !! :like: :jk: :rock:

Now just to add the plant tour and vehicle pickup to the experience.
 

Goes

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Matt The Hammer

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I'd love to have a hands on part in building a Jeep that I buy. I know Chevy does it.

We're all going to be working on these things anyway...
 

Billy

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Yes...Please do this Jeep Team.
So how many noobs can roll their new Jeep before it even leaves the factory? It'd be like a Monty Python Twit competition...
 

Commando

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Just show us the darn thing already. I have the car itch which means if they don't show this thing soon with some decent colors im out. They've been dangling the JL in front of us for long enough.
 
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