Jeep enjoys 70 year legacy and bright future

If there is one message that was heard loud and clear at Cobo Hall for this year's North American International Auto Show, it was that Jeep is 70 years old and shows no sign of slowing down.

Born in Toledo in 1941, the iconic brand celebrates its 70th year in production.

The Jeep came into being when the Army asked prospective manufacturers to build prototypes for an all-purpose vehicle for the war effort. The Willys plant in Toledo evenutally got the bid and hundreds of thousands of Jeeps rolled off the Toledo assembly line to be sent into the theatres of war during WWII.

Our grandparents probably had no idea at the time that they were not only building a durable vehicle, but a durable brand that has withstood the test of time. While it is no longer built as a military vehicle, Toledo-built Jeeps still rank as one of the top known brands in the world.

Chris Ellis, Jeep marketing manager, says Toledo continues to be an important part of that brand. " We are thankful for the great work force in Toledo and their sense of ownership of the brand." Ellis and others with Chrysler continue to give the Toledo operation high marks for its production record for the Jeep Wrangler and the Liberty, which are both produced at the Toledo North Assembly plant.

As to what other models might be built in the future in Toledo, Chrysler chairman Serge Marchionne said Tuesday he is 50-percent sure that a Jeep Wrangler pick-up truck will be built, possibly within the next two years. It has been widely speculated that if such a pick up truck were produced, it would be manaufactured in Toledo on the current Wrangler platform.