Marchionne Drops More Info On New Wrangler At Awards Ceremony
New Model Will Use Aluminum But Won’t Be All Aluminum
Sergio Marchionne, the famously outspoken CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, also known to freely share information about the company and future products to much the horror of his PR handlers, has just revealed a few more interesting items regarding the next-generation Wrangler SUV. Although many believed the next-generation iconic SUV would feature an all-aluminum body similar to the Ford F-150, Marchionne poured cold water on those rumors with a clarification of the body construction of the new model at an SAE Foundation awards ceremony.
According to Automotive News, Marchionne said the new Wrangler would make extensive use of aluminum and will likely use the material for the hood, doors, and other pieces but that the main body would be steel. He said extensive engineering simulations and analysis, including potential impact on fuel economy, were performed, and it was determined a mixed-metals approach was the most cost-effective means of achieving the fuel economy improvements targeted on the new model. An all-aluminum body would have required an extensive retooling of the Toledo, Ohio, plant where the Wrangler is made. Both city and state officials have lobbied aggressively to keep Wrangler production in Toledo, responding to an earlier comment by Marchionne that production of the iconic SUV could move to another plant. Except for a brief period in the late ’80s and early ’90s, production of the Wrangler has been at Toledo since its inception, as has production of the predecessor CJ model.
At the same meeting, Marchionne also acknowledged issues with the nine-speed automatic transmission on the recently introduced Jeep Renegade. Issues with the ZF-licensed transmission also plagued the rollout of the new Jeep Cherokee.
Source: Automotive News