For well over 100 years, the Toledo/Northwest Ohio region has served as a major location for development and production in the automotive industry. Its niche in automotive evolved from the bicycle industry, where Toledo grew into one of the biggest manufacturing locations in the country. As the automotive industry then began to develop, many of the bicycle manufacturers in Toledo were able to seamlessly convert production and workforce into the car-making business.
Toledo was home to Willys-Overland Motor Company, which pumped out Jeep brand products, including more than 350,000 military vehicles in 1945 during World War II. That plant eventually gave way to Chrysler’s new state-of-the-art facility constructed in 2001 for production of the Jeep Liberty and later Dodge Nitro. The Toledo North Assembly Plant was the first Chrysler facility built using manufacturing simulation for only $54 per square foot, an industry benchmark when compared to the industry average of $70-80 per square foot. Then, in 2006, the $2.1 billion Supplier Park opened to produce the body and chassis, as well as the painting, for the Jeep Wrangler. And just recently, plans have been announced by Chrysler Group LLC to invest $500 million to expand the complex for the production of new Fiat-based product lines, a move that is expected to add more than 1,000 new jobs.
Nearby, the GM Transmission Plant continues to grow upon the recent announcement of the parent company to invest $260 million to upgrade the 6-speed line and add a new 8-speed transmission line. This is expected to create around 500 new jobs.
Throughout this past 100 years, the Toledo/northwest Ohio region has taken advantage of its core expertise as well as its location to Detroit to develop a robust cluster in the automotive industry.
Northwest Ohio has extensive Tier I, Tier II and Tier III automotive parts suppliers and broad manufacturing expertise in tool and die, stamping, blanking, machining, extruding, casting, injection molding, coating and other processes. Our companies have extensive material expertise in ferrous and non-ferrous metals, plastics, glass, fiberglass and composite materials. Many of Northwest Ohio’s automotive parts manufacturers operate non-union production facilities, employing thousands of workers.
The Toledo region borders the state of Michigan and is just 45 miles from Detroit, the automotive capital of the world. In addition, its central Midwest location which features the intersection of the most traveled interstates across the country (I-75, I-80, I-90) provides companies access to nearly 100 million people within a 10-hour drive. This is directly in the center of the largest concentration of automotive production, engineering and administrative activity in North America.
The Northwest Ohio region boasts 82 companies operating in the automotive industry employing nearly 23,000 workers. For years, this regional workforce has been recognized among the most trained, educated and productive in North America. Just recently, the highly respected Harbour Report ranked three local automotive plants as the most productive in North America. Chrysler’s Toledo North Assembly Plant was named the most productive assembly plant; GM’s Powertrain Plant was recognized as the most productive transmission facility; and Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance was named most productive engine plant. This is no coincidence and speaks volumes to the nature of the regional workforce.