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Jeep Cherokee output resumes after steering wheel shortage

Fiat Chrysler began building Jeep Cherokees again Friday after a shortage of steering wheels interrupted several days of production of the midsize SUV earlier in the week.

Workers at FCA’s Toledo Assembly Complex in Ohio resumed Cherokee production on the second shift Friday, a spokeswoman for the automaker said. They will continue to build Cherokees on Saturday and the company is canvassing for volunteers to run an additional production shift on Sunday to make up for some of the lost output, the spokeswoman said.

The steering wheels are manufactured in Mexico by Key Safety Systems Inc., headquartered in Sterling Heights, Mich.

Key Safety Systems is No. 91 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 suppliers to North America, with an estimated $525 million in total North American original-equipment automotive parts sales in 2014.

Calls and emails to Key Safety Systems seeking comment were not returned.

FCA canceled the afternoon shift Wednesday, both shifts of Cherokees on Thursday because of the shortage of steering wheels. Earlier in the week, the plant operated on shortened shifts because of the steering wheel shortage.

In addition, workers at the automaker’s Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, which produces the Grand Cherokee, were sent home early Wednesday after a shortage of steering wheels shut down the line. Production there resumed Thursday morning, the spokeswoman said.

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