Marchionne Says Big Changes Ahead for Next Jeep Wrangler
Downsized Turbo Engines, Aluminum Body Could Be In Store
It’s not the first time we’ve heard big changes are in store for Jeep’s beloved icon, the Wrangler. However, this is the first time that we’ve heard them from the top and in such detail. Automotive News is reporting that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Sergio Marchionne said serious internal discussions are happening about using aluminum for the next Wrangler’s body and that such a switch could mean production moves outside of its historic home of Toledo, Ohio.
Marchionne said trying to re-tool Toledo to build aluminum bodies would be prohibitively expensive and that it would be almost “impossible” to do. However, he said other products could be built at Toledo to fill the hole left by the Wrangler, adding that he expects a minimal impact on headcount at the plant if production were to move to another facility.
Among the changes expected on the new Wrangler are downsized, turbocharged engines and a “complete re-think of the architecture.” Jeep-brand CEO Mike Manley has said he wants to make the Wrangler competitive with other compact and midsize crossovers in terms of attributes and consumer appeal, but acknowledges the hallowed status the Wrangler holds among Jeep enthusiasts and knows any radical changes could cause a major outcry among traditionalists.
The extensive aftermarket support for the Wrangler may have to change as well, with some companies hoping for an incremental evolution, and others saying they’ll adapt to whatever changes are made.
Source: Automotive News