Have you been dreaming about building an insane, custom, tricked-out Jeep Wrangler or Gladiator? Well, that may become way easier in the next few years. The Toledo Blade is reporting that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is building a new $23 million vehicle customization facility in Toledo on the site of a former Textileather factory that closed in 2009.
If FCA were planning to build a customization facility for its most notable off-roaders, it could not be more conveniently located than this site, which is literally across the street from the Toledo Assembly Complex where Jeep builds the Wrangler and the Gladiator. And it is only a little over an hour down the road from the Warren Truck Facility, where FCA builds the potentially=customizable Ram 1500 and the upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer. (FCA had "no further details" to offer about its plans for the site, according to the Blade.)
The off-roader aftermarket market is a multi-billion-dollar business. Not surprisingly, then, manufacturers like Jeep have been working to move as much of those profits in-house as possible. Jeep buyers have been able to buy custom dealer-installed parts for some time. A specialized facility could allow FCA to cut out the middleman and offer turn-key packages like AEV's Jeep Gladiator.
That capability would give Jeep a leg up on Ford, making customization a major feature of the new Bronco. There's no reason Jeep couldn't offer some sweet custom overlanding mods from such a facility as well.
Jeep building custom Wranglers and Gladiators in-house would not just eliminate the hassle of building an off-roader with a la carte par for customers; it would allow the process to take place through Jeep itself, under factory warranty and rolled into the vehicle's financing. We can't wait to see what they wind up creating.