TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — The city where Jeep’s roots date to World War II will honor the 75th anniversary of the brand this summer.
Organizers of the Toledo Jeep Fest told The Blade newspaper (http://bit.ly/1Uce1YJ) the first-ever event slated for Aug. 13 is expected to draw several thousand people and hundreds of Jeep vehicles to the city.
The free festival will include a parade, history displays and other events. An all-Jeep car show is planned at the city’s downtown convention center.
“We want to honor the past workers who created this success and reflect on it, from the Jeep’s role in the World War II victory to what the plant meant to the growth of Toledo and the standard of living people got from working there,” said Bruce Baumhower, president of the United Auto Workers Local 12 and one of the event’s key organizers.
Willys-Overland, a Toledo-based automobile company, won a full-scale production contract in 1941 to make Willys MB jeeps during World War II. Since then, the city has been the home of the Jeep.
“We’ve been building Jeeps in Toledo continuously since July of 1941, and we’ve built millions of them,” said Ron Szymanski, a local Jeep historian.
Jeep parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles builds the Wrangler and Cherokee SUV’s at its Toledo assembly complex, which employs about 6,000 people.
“Having been there as the plant manager for about 11 years and working there, it’s clear to me that it’s an employment mainstay, and it has a very stabilizing effect on the economy in the community,” said Jerry Huber, one of the event co-chairmen and a former Chrysler executive.
Information from: The Blade, http://www.toledoblade.com/