1. The Plant
The Toledo Assembly Complex is a massive site that covers 312 acres. There's even a Subway restaurant within the factory.
There are two major areas within the complex. The north plant takes up the majority of the floor space and currently handles assembly of the Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited, including ones destined for export out of the United States. The smaller south plant is responsible for building the new Gladiator after a recent retooling from producing the previous-gen Wrangler.
2. The Line
Because of their similarities, the Gladiator's production line looks a lot like the Wrangler but in a tighter space. As on the other side of the factory, the south plant intends to run two shifts of workers for six days a week to build the pickup.
3. The People
The parallels between the Wrangler and Gladiator mean that Jeep can hit the ground running when the pickup's production begins.
The folks building the Gladiator are currently occupying the Wrangler production line in similar spots as their future jobs assembling the pickup. Since the manufacturing process of the two models is comparable, the factory workers can get used to putting together the existing model and can apply that knowledge to the new truck.
4. The Expansion
In 2017, FCA announced a $1 billion investment for retooling the Toledo south plant to build the Gladiator and adjusting the Warren Truck Assembly factory in Michigan to produce the new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.
If demand for the Gladiator doesn't meet expectations – either too high or too low – there's room to adapt by changing production rates or work hours. The plant's boss said there were no plans at this time to build the pickup on the Wrangler line, even if there was a surge in orders for the truck.
5. The Start
At this time, the Toledo south plant is still only building pre-production examples of the Gladiator. Folks at Jeep don't want to say exactly when the showroom-ready units start rolling off the line, and they are leaving details to the quite vague "first half of 2019."
However, the company's fresh announcement of the Gladiator says that the truck starts rolling into showrooms in the second quarter of 2019. An arrival in the summer gives early adopters a chance to experience their new pickup with the top off.