Report: Next Wrangler to Have Aluminum Body, Stay Body-on-Frame
Land Purchase Adjacent to Toledo Plant Suggests Expansion
Within the past few weeks, news of Chrysler purchasing 32 acres of land adjacent to the Toledo, Ohio, plant added fuel to the speculative fire that Chrysler is looking to add an on-site aluminum stamping facility. Automotive News cites unnamed sources within Chrysler claiming that the next-generation Wrangler will remain body-on-frame but will adopt an aluminum body for lighter weight, and improved fuel economy.
Further specifics on the new Wrangler are unknown outside Auburn Hills, such as the suspension design and powertrain. Improving fuel economy will be a top priority for the new Wrangler, but that mandate may necessitate further changes to the Wrangler’s styling, such as a more steeply canted front grille and windshield for improved aerodynamics. The adoption of Chrysler’s license-built ZF eight-speed transmission is also widely expected, and it’s possible the bread-and-butter Pentastar V-6 engine could be downsized from its current 3.6 liters. Other engine choices could include a turbocharged I-4 or a long-awaited diesel option.
Ever since Sergio Marchionne’s cryptic comments about the future of the Wrangler at the Paris Motor Show, it has kicked off a firestorm of concern and controversy leading to conversations as high up as the governor of Ohio. Even the mere suggestion that Wrangler production could be moved away from Toledo brought cries of anguish and outrage from all corners of the off-road enthusiast community but none more loudly than from the Toledo community, which has been home to the Wrangler and its predecessors since the 1940s.
Source: Automotive News