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Jeep To Get $2 Billion Overhaul

DETROIT, Dec 18, 2003; Reuters reported that DaimlerChrysler's Chrysler division plans to spend about $2 billion to overhaul its Jeep assembly facilities in Toledo, Ohio, and launch new models that will be added to Jeep's lineup, a source close to the matter said on Thursday.

Company spokesman Dan Bodene declined to comment on details of the plans, which are subject to ratification of a new eight-year labor agreement between Chrysler and Local 12 of the United Auto Workers union.

But the source familiar with the Jeep production plans, confirming reports in Toledo's The Blade newspaper, said the investment of up to $2.1 billion would pay for existing plant improvement, a new factory and redesigned versions of the Jeep Wrangler and at least two other new vehicles.

The new factory, expected to be ready in 2006, would be located alongside a recently built $750 million facility where Chrysler makes the compact Jeep Liberty SUV.

Suppliers at the new factory, and not hourly UAW workers, would handle body and paint shop work on the redesigned Wrangler, according to The Blade.

The source with knowledge of the plans told Reuters the new labor pact, which is expected to be ratified by the union as early as next Monday, would entail no cuts in the UAW work force.

The UAW local in Toledo has negotiated its labor agreements separately from the union's national leadership since Chrysler Corp. acquired AMC and its Jeep brand in 1987.