Amid all the hand wringing and social media sobbing over the celebrities we’ve lost in 2016, no one thought to mention the Jeep Compass and Patriot — strong-selling, affordable yet archaic vehicles that were loathed by the automotive press.
Well, the decade-old twins are dead. Gone. Finito. Pushing up daisies. The Toledo Blade reports that the Patriot and Compass ceased production on December 23, paving the way for a much-improved second-generation global Compass.
While the new, larger Compass prepares for its launch, the next-generation of the Jeepiest of all Jeeps — the 2018 Jeep Wrangler — remains heavily shrouded. We’ve seen details leaked about its appearance and drivetrain, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles remains silent on a production timeline. Well, always count on a union representative to spill some beans.
According to the Blade, FCA’s Toledo assembly plant will cease production of the Jeep Cherokee in early April to make way for the next-gen Wrangler. The move is part of a larger game of production musical chairs that’s only just begun. A six-month shutdown follows the Cherokee’s Toledo exit, during which time the plant will retool for body-on-frame assembly.
Bruce Baumhower, president of United Auto Workers Local 12, told the Blade that production of the 2018 Wrangler will begin in November. Pre-productions models should appear “much earlier.”
As the plant gears up for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, production of the existing model should continue uninterrupted, Baumhower said. He added that the current generation should see production wrap up in March 2018. After that, the line will convert to next-gen Wrangler pickup production — a shadowy model that has played a starring role in the fevered dreams of Jeep aficionados for years.
Once out of Toledo, Cherokee production moves to the Belvidere, Illinois facility recently vacated by the Heaven-bound Patriot and Compass. Retooling is already underway at that plant, UAW officials claim.
This story first appeared on TheTruthAboutCars.com.
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