Jeep Wrangler Ute confirmed for 2020
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has confirmed production plans for three new models, including the Jeep Wrangler Ute, Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.
FIAT CHRYSLER AUTOMOBILES (FCA) has confirmed investment of US$1 billion in two of its plants that would add 2000 jobs to build the Jeep Wrangler Ute, Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. FCA also said the investment would allow it to bring back production of the Dodge RAM from Mexico to the US.
“The conversion of our industrial footprint completes this stage of our transformation as we respond to the shift in consumer tastes to trucks and SUVs, and as we continue to reinforce the U.S. as a global manufacturing hub for those vehicles at the heart of the SUV and truck market,” said Sergio Marchionne, Chief Executive Officer of FCA NV.
“These moves, which have been under discussion with Dennis Williams and the rest of the UAW leadership for some time, expand our capacity in these key segments, enabling us to meet growing demand here in the U.S., but more importantly to increase exports of our mid-size and larger vehicles to international markets.
“The expansion of our Jeep lineup has been and continues to be the key pillar of our strategy. Our commitment to internationalize the Jeep brand is unwavering, and with these last moves, we will finally have the capacity to successfully penetrate markets other than the US which have historically been denied product due to capacity constraints. In addition, these all-new products will reach new consumers, as well as those that have been part of the Jeep tradition,” said Marchionne.
Jeep has been talking up its Wrangler ute since last year, when it announced the next-generation Wrangler would launch in 2018. More than that, we can expect to see a hybrid version of the Wrangler by 2022.
While the new Wrangler Ute will be out in 2020, the brand, via Mopar, has also offered a conversion kit called the JK-8 Independence. There are a handful of companies in Australia already offering this conversion, one being Murchison Products in Queensland. The conversion requires a JK Wrangler Unlimited as the base vehicle and around 6-8 weeks for the conversion. All conversions come with compliance plates.
What about the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer? Well, as Marchionne mentioned in his statement to the press, the aim is for Jeep to reach new consumers and that is the luxury SUV set. In an interview with Automotive News last year, Jeep boss, Mike Manley consfirmed the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer would be built on the same platform as the new Grand Cherokee but that they would be totally new vehicles, and not just trim lines.
“The Wagoneer name represents, historically, the pinnacle of premium for the Jeep world,” Manley said. “But in the same way as you may have an Overland and a Summit, you have different trim levels. So you could imagine the use of Wagoneer to denote a really premium vehicle, and Grand Wagoneer takes it to the very next level. If you were to use that as your naming strategy, that’s exactly how I would use the trims.”
Question: Are vehicles like this enough to help Jeep claw back some lost ground in Australia?