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In Honor of Jeep's 75th Anniversary & Celebrating the Next 75 Years of Jeep City in Toledo

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Jeep

In Honor of Jeep's 75th Anniversary & Celebrating the Next 75 Years of Jeep City in Toledo

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur
Congressional Record: 114th Congress
Extensions of Remarks
6 September 2016


HON. MARCY KAPTUR of Ohio in the House of Representatives
Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Speaker, I rise today as we return from celebrating Labor Day in communities across our nation to pay special tribute to the iconic American automobile known as Jeep. Let us applaud the men and women who have dedicated the best years of their lives to building this enduring industrious vehicle over generations. Toledo invited the world to celebrate Jeep's 75th anniversary on August 13, 2016. Jeeps of every year and model, some quite rare, prototypes and one-of-a-kinds, rolled into Toledo to parade through the streets and show off the Jeep's history.

Jeep's story began as a durable and reliable vehicle intended for the theatre of military battle and forged in wartime for the troops fighting in World War II. The do-anything, go-anywhere Jeep long ago evolved from its trademark olive-toned, rugged utilitarian vehicle into a classic and enviable symbol of America's fortitude, determination and resolve. The Jeep has survived and thrived for the past seventy-five years, emerging in our nation's consciousness from ubiquity on the battlefield to a rugged symbol found in millions of driveways around the globe.

Though Toledo cannot lay sole claim to its actual origin, the engine powering the 645,000 wartime Jeeps was designed in Toledo and Willys Corporation trademarked the brand name. The history explains that, ``After winning a government contract, Willys-Overland's Toledo factory built approximately 368,000 vehicles for the U.S. Army during World War II. They were shipped all over the world. Where the Army went, the Jeep went.''

Willys-Overland went on to build the ``Jeep station wagon, the first all-steel wagon ever built in America. Toledo also introduced the world to the Grand Wagoneer, the world's first luxury SUV. The next generation of the brand's flagship Wrangler'' will be built in Toledo, too. ``Last year, Jeep sold 1.2 million vehicles worldwide. The company's Toledo Assembly Complex built 538,993, or 45 percent of them. All the while, as Toledoans built Jeeps, Jeep helped to build the City's middle class.''

Much like America itself, Jeep's core characteristics are strength, durability and reliability. This has been made possible by a dedicated hardworking workforce of the men and women of the Toledo region, Jeep's home for all of these years. Our national celebration of the Jeep is as much a celebration of Jeep's workforce as it is this enduring vehicle. The hardworking and dedicated men and women of the United Auto Workers Local 12 have carried Jeep forward over the decades. It is the blood, sweat and toil of thousands of auto workers over three quarters of a century that delivered Jeep to its 75th anniversary.

The road has not always been easy: there have been times when the workforce and Toledo were faced with real challenges to ``Keep Jeep'' in Toledo. The aging Willys Overland factory was replaced with a gleaming state of the art modern complex that now produces the legendary vehicles. The City of Toledo and Jeep's workforce have responded time and again to re-making Toledo's signature vehicle. Their efforts have been rewarded as the company continues its investment in its workforce and in Toledo where work is underway on a $700 million retooling and the addition of 700 new jobs.

There are Jeep enthusiasts all across our country. They love their Jeeps and the qualities of the vehicle as much as the symbolism. Yet, as its anniversary celebration proved, Toledo loves its Jeep. Its legacy is an important part of our identity as a community.

``I build Jeeps'' a United Auto Worker says with pride. The sentiment was eloquently captured in the Toledo Blade's excellent commemorative insert on the 75th anniversary of the Jeep. The story told through the commemorative insert underscores the significance of the phrase ``Toledo Built Jeep'' to Toledo and northern Ohio.

Mr. Speaker, ``It is true that the American people know Detroit as Motor City,'' but I rise today to declare that my hometown, ``Toledo, Ohio is Jeep Country.'' Congratulations to Chrysler Fiat Corporation and the United Auto Workers Local 12 on their building the signature Jeep in Toledo, Ohio. We look forward to the next 75 years in Jeep City.



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