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    Drew Dowdell

    ...over not enough lube...

    Fiat Chrysler has issued a stop-sale and recall of 3,427 Jeep Gladiators for the potential of the rear drive shaft fracturing. The cause is a rear drive shaft that was assembled without grease on the monoblock joint portion of the drive shaft.  The lack of grease could cause the joint to overheat and seize which may result in a fractured rear driveshaft. The vehicles were manufactured between December 15th 2018 and June 25th of 2019. 
    If the driveshaft fails, the driver could experience a total loss of power and potentially cause dangerous road debris if the driveshaft separates from the vehicle completely. 
    Jeep said they noticed the grease error when four Gladiators came in for warranty repairs and the driveshafts were sent for analysis. FCA will replace the driveshaft for free as part of the recall and anyone who paid to have the shaft replaced will be reimbursed with proper documentation.  Postcards to affected owners will go out October 18th. No accidents or injuries have been reported from the issue. 

    Drew Dowdell

    ...finally able to get an oil burner in your Wrangler...

    Jeep is finally offering the 3.0-Liter EcoDiesel from the Ram 1500 in the Jeep Wrangler as a late availability option for 2020.  For the Wrangler, the engine will produce 260 horsepower and 442 lb-ft of torque. The diesel will be offered on Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon editions, and only on 4 door models. The only transmission available to pair with the diesel is the 8-speed automatic. Electronic Start-Stop (ESS) is standard on the diesel and all other engine options. 
    Other changes for the Wrangler include the addition of the mild-hybrid 48 volt eTorque system to either the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo or the 3.6-liter Pentastar V6. The eTorque system takes the place of ESS and also smooths out the torque band. The 3.6 Pentastar produces 285 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque while the 2.0T produces 270 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. These numbers hold true with or without the eTorque system. Only the Sahara trim gets eTorque.
    Two special editions take their place in the Wrangler lineup. The Willys edition is aimed at the off-road enthusiast. As far as hardware, it comes with a limited-slip differential, Rubicon rock rails and shots, heavy duty brakes, two-speed transfer case, and big 32-inch all-terrain tires. Visually, it gets 17-inch wheels with grey accents, all-weather floor mats, LED headlights and foglights, and a gloss black grille, along with the Willys badging.  The Willys edition can come either in a 2-door for $35,235 or the 4-door for $38,735.
    A second special editions is primarily cosmetic. Called the Black & Tan edition (pictured above), it is mainly a retro looking that gets a tan soft-top, 17-inch Machine Granite wheels, tan cloths seats, side steps, and more.  The Black & Tan edition is available on both 2-door and 4-door models. 

    Drew Dowdell

    ...Decidedly more upscale...

    An interior shot of the next generation Jeep Grand Cherokee has leaked out via a user on Instagram and by the looks of it, its going much more upscale.  The interior looks wide and sleek with the center stack flowing into the center console. The standard dash cluster gets a new 7-inch screen or an optional 10.5-inch cluster will be available. For the center stack, 7-inch, 8.4-inch, and 10.1-inch Uconnect screens will be available, much like in the latest RAM trucks.  There will be a new heads up display and the gear selector goes from being a shift lever to a rotary dial found in other FCA vehicles. 
    The chassis code for this generation Grand Cherokee is WL and is expected to be on the Giorgio platform that underpins the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio.  It is likely that there will be a 3-row version of the Grand Cherokee, but it may go by a new name. The biggest engine news is there is likely to be a turbo-charged inline 6-cylinder of about 3 liters in size. The Pentastar V6 could carry over, while a turbocharge 2.0-liter 4-cylinder joins at the bottom of the range. Also expect the Hemi V8 and the newest version of the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel to reappear. 
    The next Grand Cherokee is expected as a 2021 model and will likely debut next June at the Detroit Auto Show.
     

    Drew Dowdell

    ...Mailings to owners were being sent starting Friday...

    Some Jeep Wrangler drivers have been experiencing a frightening phenomenon commonly known as the Jeep "Death Wobble".  While the term is dramatic, FCA says they know of no injuries or deaths caused by this experience. After the vehicle hits a bump at highway speed, the steering wheel can vibrate back and forth by up to five degrees. Drivers claim that the only way to correct the wobble is to speed up or slow down.
    FCA says that the cause of this is a resonance in the front axle and dampers containing air bubbles.  Cold weather makes the oil in the dampers less viscous and air bubbles won't dissipate quickly enough. Jeep will remedy the issue by installing a new damper free of charge to any customer who wants one, but it is not recalling the vehicle.  All new Wranglers come with the new damper. 
    There is currently a class action lawsuit pending that hopes to force FCA to recall the vehicle and calls the addition of a damper a band-aid. 

    Drew Dowdell

    ...unlikely to make it into the US market...

    Jeep is rumored to be testing a Mercedes-Benz supplied 2.0 liter Turbo-Diesel in 14 test vehicles in the Detroit, Michigan area. However, it is unlikely that such a vehicle would be sold in the U.S. The most likely scenario is that this is testing for the European and Asian markets.
    The Compasses were converted by an independent supplier for FCA and the suspected engine of choice is the Mercedes-Benz OM654 2.0 diesel producing 192 HP and 295 lb-ft of torque. The engine was released in 2016 for the E-Class, but the engine was designed to be mounted in transverse applications as well. 
    In the U.S., the Compass is only sold with a 2.4 liter gasoline engine.  In Europe, the Compass comes with a two different 1.4-liter gasoline engines (140 hp an 170hp), two 2.0-liter diesel engines (140 hp and 170 hp), and a 1.6-liter diesel engine (120 hp). Which engine you can get largely depends on if the car is 4x4 or not. 
    GM currently sells its compact crossovers with a 1.6-liter turbo diesel, and Mazda finally unveiled their diesel CX-5. We think that this diesel Compass would be a good fit in the U.S. and should FCA be reading this, please bring it here.
     

    William Maley

    But there's a bit of a problem

    Hellcat everything has become a bit of a running joke with any vehicle from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Pacifica? Drop a Hellcat. 500? Needs a Hellcat. Charger? Two Hellcats is just what the doctor ordered. The latest vehicles to get the attention from the Hellcat crowd are the Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator.
    Tim Kuniskis, the head of the Jeep brand told Australian outlet Drive that it is technically possible to fit the Hellcat V8 into both vehicles.
    "Everybody always asks me that question: it fits. You know that. It fits like a glove."
    But there comes a big issue.
    "But the problem is that it fits like a glove and there is no air space around the engine and the whole external space of the vehicle so you have no crush space; you have nothing that can be used to absorb energy in a crash," said Kuniskis.
    "It is not a problem to put it in - other than emissions and fuel economy - except it would never pass any crash tests, and that’s a problem."
    So those hoping for a factory model will be disappointed, but the aftermarket will be there to serve those who really want a mad Wrangler or Gladiator.
    Source: Drive

    Drew Dowdell

    ... Jeep Gladiator aims to reign supreme...

    Jeep unveiled six concept Jeep Gladiators for the 53rd Annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari. (click on any of the pics to enlarge)
    The Jeep Wayout:  An overland concept that has a roof-top tent and custom canopy The Jeep Flatbill: An extreme 4x4 that has a nod to Motocross culture The Jeep Five-Quarter: A "resto-mod" of the 1968 Jeep M-715 Gladiator-based military vehicle The Jeep J6: Mixes classic Jeep styling with concept and production Jeep Performance Parts and Accessories The Jeep JT Scrambler: A concept that combines retro '80s styling with Jeep Performance Parts The Jeep Gladiator Gravity: Rock-climber themes trail vehicle using launch-ready Jeep Performance parts  
    Some of these are clearly just fun concepts to show off the versatility of the Jeep Gladiator, while others like the Gladiator Gravity are vehicles that could potentially be built by a customer with a fat enough checkbook and the Jeep/Mopar performance parts catalog.  One thing we'll say about the Five-Quarter resto-mod, Jeep keeps teasing us with these retro look Jeep trucks and to great fanfare, we think they should just build them.
     
    More information is available from the Jeep Press release on Page 2
    April 8, 2019 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Jeep® Gladiator will reign supreme at this year’s Easter Jeep Safari as the Jeep and Mopar brands have once again joined forces to create six new, custom-built concept vehicles for the annual event that takes place in Moab, Utah, April 13-21. For the 53rd year, thousands of off-road enthusiasts will head to Moab for the annual Jeep event to participate in a week of technical off-roading on some of the most challenging and scenic terrain in the country.

    “The Moab Easter Jeep Safari provides the perfect venue to interact with and gather feedback from our most loyal and passionate customers – the diehard off-road enthusiasts who attend the event each year,” said Tim Kuniskis, Head of Jeep Brand - North America. “This year’s Safari will mark the debut of the highly anticipated all-new Jeep Gladiator on Moab’s scenic and demanding trails. To celebrate, we are showcasing six fun and ultra-capable new truck-based Jeep concept vehicles that are certain to turn heads and delight the crowd.”

    A vast selection of production and prototype Jeep Performance Parts are among the highlights on this year’s collection of Jeep concept vehicles. The Mopar brand develops all Jeep Performance Parts with rigorous specifications and legendary 4x4 capability in mind. This allows Jeep owners to further enhance their stock vehicles with confidence.

    “Customization is one of the highest priorities for Jeep brand enthusiasts. This is why we have proactively developed a portfolio of more than 200 exclusive parts and accessories for the all-new Jeep Gladiator,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar) and Passenger Car Brands, FCA - North America. “This portfolio is backed by a factory warranty and has been put through tens of thousands of hours of development, testing and validation, providing our customers a great array of products and peace of mind. At the 2019 Easter Jeep Safari, we will be inspiring our customers by showcasing just a fraction of what is currently available in our catalog and also some conceptual accessories that might make it into production in the near future.”
     
    Jeep Wayout 
    The Jeep Wayout concept is a true overlanding vehicle that takes advantage of the all-new Gladiator’s class-leading payload to allow adventure-seekers to go far off the beaten path. The Jeep Wayout is a functional concept that showcases a full roof-top tent and custom, large sprawling canopy.

    Wayout’s body-armored exterior features a new Gator Green color that will be available on production Gladiator models. A custom bed rack with an integrated ladder carries the roof-top tent that sleeps two comfortably, while the 270-degree awning with amber LED task lighting helps travelers set up camp when the day is done.
    For added convenience, two custom-fit auxiliary fuel tanks are integrated into the bedsides. Also, an ARB on-board air system with a body-mounted quick-disconnect air supply line allows adventurers to travel further off the grid.

    For additional capability, a Jeep Performance Parts two-inch lift kit increases ground clearance on top of 17-inch steel wheels that are hugged by 37-inch mud-terrain tires, providing a distinct retro feeling harking back to the original Willys pickups that paved the way for modern Jeep trucks. Furthermore, a 12,000-lb. Warn winch and Jeep Performance Parts snorkel help overcome multiple obstacles – both wet and dry.

    Jeep Wayout has a custom integrated roof-rack system for packing gear up top, and the truck bed houses a Mopar/Decked bed-drawer system for added lockable dry storage on long treks. Inside, bed-lined floors, plus trimmed brown leather seats with laser-etched inserts of topographical maps, have been added.

    The Jeep Wayout is powered by the award-winning 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

    Jeep Flatbill
    Designed with the desert lifestyle in mind, the Jeep Flatbill concept is another fun look at the all-new Gladiator, mixed with the extreme thrills of the Motocross world resulting in an unmistakable, loud and rowdy appearance that serves as the ultimate hauler for an array of toys.

    On the exterior, the Motocross culture has inspired the vented carbon hood and high-clearance flares, while a custom-designed shortened front bumper and skid plate improve the approach angle. 
      
    The Jeep Flatbill is a truck dedicated to dirt bike riding through and through and is fully equipped to handle transport of dirt bikes for any off-road adventure. This is demonstrated by the Flatbill concept’s truck bed, which features a pair of dirt bikes ready for action. With the removal of the tailgate, dedicated wheel ramps have been installed that slide out for easy access and loading. Custom body work on the bed lowers, plus the addition of a tube rear bumper, increases the vehicle’s departure angle for added capability.

    Dynatrac Pro-Rock 60 front and rear axles, plus an Off-Road Evolution custom four-inch lift kit, help the Flatbill tackle any obstacle. Large rear bypass shocks along with 20-inch wheels have been added, as well as 40-inch tires – the first time on any Jeep Gladiator – combining to provide superior traction and off-road performance.
     
    Inside, bright bed-lined floors plus custom-trimmed seats create a fun and sporty environment.

    The Jeep Flatbill is powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine with a cold-air Mopar intake and mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

    Jeep M-715 Five-Quarter
    Continuing the Easter Jeep Safari tradition of “Resto-Mods” comes the Jeep M-715 Five-Quarter that is a seamless blend of vintage and modern components. The term “Five-Quarter” is a historical nod to Jeep trucks of the past that were one-and-one-quarter tons or “five quarters.”

    Starting with a 1968 M-715, this Gladiator-based military vehicle was re-imagined with design and functional improvements to its chassis, drivetrain and cargo configurations, resulting in a truly capable showpiece.

    On the exterior, the original front sheet metal was removed and a full carbon-fiber front end takes its place. Also, an all-new, bobbed 6-foot custom-fabricated aluminum bed was installed that has been perforated and re-imaged using a mix of water jet cut panels and wood slats. Additional body modifications include a 3.5-inch drop to its convertible soft-top, further enhancing its factory monster truck silhouette.

    Headlights have been replaced with new HID lights along with LED auxiliary lights for vast outward visibility. Rearward, LED halo lights have been installed in the original taillight buckets. To protect the body, the original rockers were removed and replaced with functional rock rails that run the length of the body side. Modified front Jeep Gladiator Rubicon steel bumpers have been installed, which complement the brushed metal-finished body and tailgate, producing a polished look.

    The M-715 Five-Quarter’s off-road capability has been enhanced by reinforcing the original frame and replacing the leaf springs with a heavy-duty link/coil suspension system. Additionally, the front axle has been pulled forward two inches and replaced with a Dynatrac Pro-rock 60 front axle and a Dynatrac Pro-rock 80 axle in the rear, while 20-inch beadlock wheels are wrapped with large 40-inch tires.
     
    Inside, new Jeep Wrangler seats, free of headrests, have been installed for a sleek, low-back visual. Additionally, water-jetted aluminum components make up a new lightweight and premium instrument panel, as well as door panels. A repurposed vintage 8-71 supercharger now serves to encase the transmission and transfer case shifters and the floors have been bed-lined for enhanced durability.

    Power is provided to the Jeep M-715 Five-Quarter by a 6.2-liter supercharged “Hellcrate” HEMI® V-8 engine, which produces more than 700 horsepower.

    Jeep J6 
    The Jeep J6 concept is all truck, all the time, mixing the classic Jeep truck styling of the late 1970s with prototype and production Jeep Performance Parts from Mopar.

    The Jeep J6 is a Rubicon customized in a two-door configuration, maximizing cargo space with a large, six-foot functional bed “box” area that is 12 inches longer than the standard Jeep Gladiator bed. Mopar and the Jeep Design team reached back in time for the custom Metallic Brilliant Blue paint, a homage to the exterior look of the 1978 Jeep Honcho. The overall length of the J6 is 201 inches, while the wheelbase clocks in at 118.4 inches, matching the wheelbase of the current-generation Jeep Wrangler 4-door.

    The upsized bed area is guarded by a prototype body-color matching spray-in bedliner. A sturdy, two-and-a-quarter-inch steel prototype sport/roll bar planted in the bed carries a set of four, five-inch Jeep Performance Parts LED lights that shine at 4,800 lumens each. A prototype spare tire carrier stores up to a 37-inch tire.

    Prototype 17-inch beadlock wheels with a “deep dish” design are set off from the Metallic Brilliant Blue exterior with a Brass Monkey finish, encircled by a silver beadlock ring. A production Jeep Performance Parts two-inch lift kit works with aggressive 37-inch tires to add extra trail clearance.

    Additional modifications defend the Jeep J6 against off-road obstacles, including a prototype two-inch steel stinger bar that bolts to the Rubicon front bumper and rock rails customized with two-inch steel tubes welded to the standard Jeep Gladiator rails. The concept hardtop is removable, and classic Jeep J6 badging is swapped in on the tailgate and side fenders.

    The stinger bar acts as a mounting point for four additional five-inch Jeep Performance Parts LED lights, with another two bolted on near the A-pillars, for a total of 10 five-inch LEDs working together to illuminate the trail. The grille is custom Mopar Satin Black, and the stock Jeep Gladiator Rubicon hood is accented with Mopar hood latches featuring the Jeep logo.

    The 3.6-liter engine receives a performance bump through the Jeep Performance Parts cold-air intake.

    Exterior DNA flows into the interior of the Jeep J6. The instrument panel inserts match the body color and Katzkin leather seats and armrests are also accented with body-color blue stitching. The horn pad is customized with a classic Jeep badge. The auxiliary switch bank offers a central operating location for the 10 LED lights, and the trailer brake control switch showcases the ability to tap into additional stopping power when towing. A bright pedal kit, all-weather floor mats and molded doorsill guards with the Jeep logo round out the lineup of Mopar accessories.

    Jeep JT Scrambler 
    The Jeep JT Scrambler concept is a heritage-inspired remix, carrying the throwback color palette and graphics of the iconic CJ Scrambler crossed with a combination of available Jeep Performance Parts and conceptual touches.

    The look of the early 1980s-era CJ8 Scrambler is recreated with prototype Punk’N Metallic Orange and Nacho body-side stripes running from the front panels to the bed and a matching hood graphic. The white exterior is crowned with a freedom top painted in vintage amber, continuing the retro feel.

    The bed area is customized with a spray-in bedliner and a two-inch steel, prototype tube sport/roll bar painted body-color white. This version of the sport/roll bar anchors to the bed and also extends the length of the bed rails on each side, offering a total of eight tie-down points to lock down cargo. Diffused LED task lights mounted to the sport/roll bar are directed to the rear bed, providing illumination in the cargo area.

    Based on the Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, the Scrambler pulls liberally from the Mopar brand’s Jeep Performance Parts line, including a set of four five-inch LED lights stationed atop the sport/roll bar and two stationed on the vehicle’s A-pillars. Facing forward on the brush guard up front are a pair of Jeep Performance Parts seven-inch LED lights, pointing the way at 8,000 lumens each.

    The Jeep Performance Parts 17-inch slot wheels are customized in a concept bronze to tie in with the exterior color theme. A two-inch Jeep Performance Parts lift kit helps accommodate large, 37-inch tires and tough Jeep Performance Parts rock rails feature a non-slip grip. The 3.6-liter engine is augmented with a Mopar cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust.

    The Scrambler color theme is followed through on the interior. Katzkin Amaretto Brown leather seats are bordered in orange thread, with the Jeep grille logo embroidered in a light Tungsten on the seatbacks. The dash panel and armrests receive the same Katzkin Amaretto Brown leather treatment with matching orange thread accents. The auxiliary switch bank offers a single location for operating accessories, including the LED lights, and the Mopar bright pedal kit and all-weather floor mats also dress up the interior.

    Jeep Gladiator Gravity 
    The rock-climber-themed Jeep Gladiator Gravity concept is elevated with a full complement of available-at-launch Jeep Performance Parts from Mopar to help equip those who have a desire to reach greater heights.

    The Jeep Gladiator Rubicon, colored in attention-grabbing Punk’N Metallic Orange, is a ready-to-order expression of how Jeep Performance Parts can help enhance the all-new pickup’s capability and versatility. In the bed area, mounted Mopar cross rails work in concert with a cargo carrier basket to deliver storage space for rock-climbing gear, such as ropes, carabiners, helmets and shoes. A unique Mopar/Decked truck bed storage system offers additional lockable cargo space through dual sliding drawers, while still allowing for storage on top in the bed area.

    The open-air potential of the Jeep Gladiator — unlike any other offered by a production midsize truck —  is realized through Jeep Performance Parts two-inch round steel tube doors, a mesh sunbonnet that provides cover while keeping the top-down feel, and tie-down straps that secure the windshield when lowered.

    The Jeep Gladiator Gravity is raised with the Jeep Performance Parts two-inch lift kit and runs on 17-inch gear wheels carrying 35-inch tires. Heavy-gauge steel Jeep Performance Parts rock rails are thicker and wider and utilize the same powder-coating on Ram Truck bedliners to provide a non-slip finish. In front of the Mopar satin black grille, Jeep Performance Parts seven-inch LED lights show the way forward, with help from five-inch LED lights on the A-pillars.

    The vehicle is upgraded with a cold-air intake and cat-back exhaust system to enhance horsepower and torque. Inside, the interior is dressed up with Katzkin leather seats featuring the Jeep grille logo embroidered in Tungsten stitching. Additional Mopar accessories include grab handles stamped with the Jeep grille logo, MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) bags for storage and all-weather floor mats with a unique “plug” system that allows for direct draining of water and debris.

    Drew Dowdell

    The 7-seater will play in the same segment as the Grand Cherokee.

    During an announcement that FCA will be building a new manufacturing plant in Detroit, FCA let it known that in addition to the forthcoming full-size Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs, another new 3-row SUV was in the works for Jeep.   Auto Express UK reports today that this new SUV will technically be a 3-row version of the Grand Cherokee, but Jeep President and FCA Boss Mike Manley thinks it will not wear the Grand Cherokee name, instead taking on an new moniker.  His reasoning for not re-using the name is that the Grand Cherokee is such an iconic name and image. It would be like if Jeep dramatically changed the Wrangler, he'd face a customer revolt. 
    The last 3-row SUV Jeep sold was the 2006 - 2010 Jeep Commander. Jeep currently uses the Commander name on the Grand Commander, based on the smaller Cherokee, as a China-Only model. 
    Manley says that the segment the Grand Cherokee plays in covers both 2-row and 3-row SUVs, so the Grand Cherokee has only been covering about 40% of the potential market. Moving into this segment would allow Jeep to compete more directly with the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, and Honda Pilot.
    FCA already sells a vehicle in the 3-row segment with the Dodge Durango which also rides on the same platform as the Jeep Grand Cherokee.  No future plans have been announced for the Dodge Durango, so it could be that this Jeep will take over for the Durango in the FCA lineup.
    FCA hopes to break ground on it's new facility by the end of 2nd quarter 2019 and have the first of the new 3-row SUVs rolling off the line by the end of 2020 as 2021 models.
    Related:
    Quick Drive: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk

    William Maley

    Teaming up with Turo and Avis

    When Fiat Chrysler Automobiles unveiled their latest five-year plan last year, it mentioned about launching a subscription program for Jeep owners that would launch sometime in 2019. This program appears to be moving forward along with a new peer-to-peer car-sharing program.
    Bloomberg reports that FCA will be launching two pilot programs, while Motor Authority has learned about a third pilot. All of the programs will take place in Boston and last for about three months.
    Here are the three programs in detail,
    The first program will see FCA team up with peer-to-peer car sharing service Turo and allow owners to rent out their vehicles to help "offset their car payments," when they are not using it. Jeep is inviting owners in the Boston area over email to sign up and will be limited to the first 100. Program two will have FCA and car rental firm Avis working together on a subscription service that will allow Jeep owners to swap into other FCA products like a Dodge Charger or Ram 1500. Again, it will be limited the first 100 people who sign up. Program three that was brought to light by Motor Authority is known as Car "Borrowing". Teaming with Avis, FCA will be offering Jeep owners the ability to "purchase six "Jeep Coins" that entitles them to a one-day rental" of most products from the FCA lineup. The coins will be good for a year, and owners can either pick up the vehicles or have them dropped off. “All these people who are casually going, ‘Is it for me or not for me?,’ I can then get them as potential prospects to sell them a brand-new Wrangler. We’ll find out what’s good and what’s bad, what customers like and what they don’t like, and ultimately from that we’ll decide if we want to do this as something we promote to our dealerships at the time of sale,” said Tim Kuniskis, head of the Jeep in North America to Bloomberg.
    “We know all the pluses and minuses of subscription services, we’ve seen some challenges. Let’s step our toe in, let’s see if this is, No. 1, right for the brand. If it makes sense, let’s try it.”
    The first two programs have already launched, while the third program is expected to launch sometime later this year.
    Source: Bloomberg , Motor Authority

    William Maley

    Something to take on the likes of the Colorado ZR2?

    While the Jeep Gladiator hasn't arrived at dealers yet (due in the second quarter), there is already talk about what could be in store. The Jeep Gladiator Forum has learned from a source that the brand is considering building a high-performance variant known as "Hercules". According to the source, the vehicle "is currently being evaluated for market viability" and has not been given the green light. There are some prototypes being built but only as "one-offs for testing purposes."
    Jeep has hinted at doing a high-performance off-road model. Mark Allen, head of Jeep design recently mentioned a high-speed off-road vehicle is on the agenda for Jeep’s expansion on an episode of Autoline After Hours (video below). It doesn't mean that the Gladiator is the vehicle in question, however.
    If we were to hazard a guess as to what a high-performance Gladiator may look like, we would guess that a V8 engine would be under the hood, possibly the 6.4L HEMI V8. A number of parts from the Rubicon model such as differential locks and anti-roll bar disconnects could appear.
    Source: Jeep Gladiator Forum


    William Maley

    We delve into the reasons why

    Jeep is seeing record sales of the Wrangler, Through November, sales climbed 25 percent over 2017, to 220,232 vehicles. This year also saw monthly sales record of 29,776 Wranglers sold in April.
    But there is a bit of problem with the Wrangler. According to Automotive News, dealers have over a 100-day supply of the model. In the beginning of November, dealers were sitting on a 156-day supply of Wranglers. The number has fallen to 135-days at the beginning of this month. But it is still a perplexing problem. How can Jeep dealers have such a huge backlog of Wranglers, despite selling a fair number of them?
    There are two reasons. The first deals with production. FCA's Toledo, Ohio plant has undergone some changes that allow it to produce nearly double amount of vehicles of the previous line. CEO Mike Manley has said the additional capacity will allow Jeep to expand sales of the Wrangler to other markets.
    But the other reason is a bit troubling. Some dealers tell AN that the Wrangler is getting too expensive. The starting price of the Wrangler two-door rose $3,950 over the previous generation, while the four-door Unlimited jumped $3,550. The Wrangler is one of the few FCA vehicles that "has traditionally been retailed with little or no consumer cash".

    "I have the largest Wrangler supply I have ever had. That car has gone up in the last three years $12,000! These freakin' things are $55,000 now. I think that vehicle is price-sensitive, and I think they went a little far with the pricing. They were a little aggressive," said an unnamed dealer in the Midwest.
    The dealer said the "higher average transaction prices" could lead to higher resale value, "but it's bad when you start putting the price to the point where consumers can't buy them."
    Other dealers are confident they can continue to sell the Wrangler, despite the higher prices.
    "We've built capacity and just need to continue to adjust to it. I don't think there's an issue for that car at all," said Eric Nielsen, dealer principal at Nielsen Automotive Group in northern New Jersey.
    "As with any vehicle within the industry, there is some seasonality when it comes to the Wrangler, and dealers are already preparing for a strong spring," a spokesman for FCA told AN.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Return of the Mack II

    Since 2012, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Mack Avenue Engine II plant in Detroit has been idled. But new reports from CNBC and The Detroit News say the factory will be retooled to build a new three-row Jeep Grand Cherokee for the 2021 model year.
    According to sources, the reopening of the plant would allow FCA to begin retooling the Jefferson North Assembly Plant - which sits across from the Mack Avenue complex. This would allow Jefferson North to start producing the next-generation two and three-row Grand Cherokee. Reopening Mack II could bring up to 400 jobs back to Detroit.
    “FCA is essentially out of capacity. They’re kind of running up against being against full capacity. This is a very different situation than what GM is dealing with,” said Jeff Schuster, an analyst with LMC Automotive to The Detroit News.
    Last month, FCA was using 92 percent of its plant capacity in North America, due to the increase in demand for trucks and utility vehicles. This is noticeably higher than General Motors (72 percent) and Ford (81 percent) according to data from LMC Automotive.
    FCA and the office of Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan declined to comment.
    An announcement about this retooling is expected to take place next week.
    Source: CNBC, The Detroit News

    William Maley

    Comes down to towing capability

    We have been wondering for some time why the mild-hybrid eTorque powertrain was missing from the Gladiator's available powertrains. The eTorque powertrain pairs a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder with a 48-volt mild hybrid system. This not only improves overall fuel economy, but provides slightly more torque than the 3.6L V6 - 295 vs. 260 pound-feet. We assumed the reason came down to possible issues with towing. It seems our hunch was right.
    The Drive reached out to FCA to see why the Gladiator wasn't being offered with the eHybrid. This was the response from the spokesperson.
    "The 3.6-liter engine can handle the temperatures seen while towing."
    Reading between the lines, it seems Jeep doesn't expect eHybrid powertrain to handle the towing duties of a pickup truck. The Gladiator is rated to tow a max of 7,650 pounds, beating the Chevrolet Colorado Diesel by 50 pounds.
    Source: The Drive

    William Maley

    Care to wager on a name?

    Since last August, we have been calling Jeep's upcoming Wrangler pickup the Scrambler. But a new report says that the name of the truck will be Gladiator.
    The Jeep Scrambler Forum obtained a screenshot of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' media site titled “2020 Jeep Gladiator.” Reportedly, this page included mentions of the Sport, Overland, and Rubicon trims. The page has since been deleted. A source told the forum, “I actually went to the media site and saw the page. I saw it on my iPhone browser and on Google Chrome.” 
    A Jeep spokesman declined to comment when asked by Automobile.
    While most people will know the Gladiator name from the 2005 concept shown at the Detroit Auto Show, the Gladiator name was used on Jeep trucks from the 1960's.
    We'll find out if Gladiator, Scrambler, or something else appears on the truck at the LA Auto Show on November 28th.

    William Maley

    Production is expected to begin in 2020

    Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Melfi plant is beginning to process of retooling to build a plug-in hybrid Jeep Renegade by 2020. The investment totaling 200 million Euros (about $229 million) will include modernizing the plant and training employees. FCA is planning to get pre-production models rolling off the line next year. Melfi is home to the Renegade and Fiat 500X production. 
    FCA says the Renegade will become the third electrified vehicle in their lineup, following the Chrysler Pacifica PHEV and Ram 1500 eTorque mild hybrid. This is part of an effort to launch "12 electric propulsion systems (BEV, PHEV, full-hybrid and mild-hybrid)", adding that 30 different models would be equipped with one or more of these systems.
    No mechanical details were given on the plug-in hybrid system destined for the Renegade. 
    Source: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
    Melfi Plant prepares for production of new Jeep Renegade Plug-in Hybrid
    The FCA Melfi Plant in Italy is beginning preparations to produce the Jeep Renegade Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) scheduled for market launch in early 2020. The Renegade PHEV will be produced alongside the Renegade and 500X full combustion engine products that are currently produced at the Melfi vehicle assembly plant.
    The pre-production units of the new Jeep Renegade PHEV are scheduled in 2019. The investment for the new engine launch equates to more than €200M and also includes a strong commitment by FCA for training all workers on the application of this new technology. The Plant facilities involved in the production will also be modernized accordingly.
    "With over 742,000 Renegades produced to date in Italy, the Melfi plant and the Renegade are the ideal location and the perfect product to launch the PHEV, further strengthening the offer of this highly successful Jeep", said Pietro Gorlier, Chief Operating Officer EMEA region.
    During the FCA Capital Markets Day on June 1, when the 2018-2022 business plan was presented to the financial community, it was stated that one of the most important change factors addressed in the strategic plan is electrification. Investments during the plan period result in a portfolio of technical solutions that will enable FCA to comply with the regulatory requirements in each sales region. At the same time, the technology will also be applied to enhance the specific strengths of each brand.
    The Renegade PHEV is the next step in FCA's roll-out of Electrification, following the launches of the PHEV Pacifica Minivan and the mild-hybrid e-Torque technology launched on the Ram 1500 truck earlier this year. By 2022, FCA will offer a total of 12 electric propulsion systems (BEV, PHEV, full-hybrid and mild-hybrid) in global architectures. Thirty different models will be equipped with one or more of these systems.
    London, 8 October 2018

    William Maley

    There's some minor exterior changes as well

    2019 marks some key changes for Jeep's smallest vehicle, the Renegade.
    The big news is a new turbocharged 1.3L four-cylinder that will take the place of the turbo 1.4. The smaller engine produces 177 horsepower and 200 pound-feet of torque - up 17 and 16 respectively from the 1.4. The engine will also feature an auto start-stop system and active grille shutters to improve fuel economy. It will come standard on the Limited and Trailhawk, and be available as an option for the Sport and Latitude. The base engine will continue to be the 2.4L four-cylinder.
    Interestingly, the Fiat 500X (sister model to the Renegade) will not get the turbo 1.3L.
    There are some changes for the Renegade's exterior with updated front and rear fascias, optional LED headlights, and new wheel designs. Other changes for 2019 include adaptive cruise control, front parking sensors, and self-parking system being added to the optional Advanced Tech Group package.
    Pricing hasn't been announced, but we're expecting to come very soon.
    Source: Jeep


    2019 Jeep Renegade Fact Sheet

    October 1, 2018 , Auburn Hills, Mich. - The Jeep Renegade delivers a unique combination of best-in-class off-road capability, open-air freedom and convenience, as well as fuel-efficient powertrains, including an all-new 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a segment-first nine-speed automatic transmission. This combination contributes to outstanding on-road and off-road driving dynamics, world-class refinement and a host of innovative safety and advanced technology offerings.
    New for 2019:
    All-new 1.3-liter direct-injection turbocharged engine with engine stop-start (ESS) technology mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission that increases fuel efficiency and reduces emissions now standard on Limited and Trailhawk models (optional on Sport and Latitude), providing 177 horsepower and 200 lb.-ft. of torque New active grille shutters now included (not on Trailhawk models) and ESS technology for increased fuel efficiency Refreshed exterior design includes new front fascias and grille surround New aluminum wheel designs New 19-inch aluminum Granite Crystal-painted wheel option on Latitude and Limited models New Bikini, Slate Blue and Sting Grey exterior paint colors (late availability) New LED Lighting Group includes LED headlamps, daytime running lamps (DRL), cornering fog lamps and tail lamps New features added to Advanced Tech Group include adaptive cruise control, ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist Plus and front park sensors New instrument cluster graphics Highlights:
    Jeep Renegade expands the brand’s vehicle lineup, competing in the growing small sport-utility vehicle (SUV) segment, while staying true to the adventurous lifestyle and 4x4 capability for which Jeep is known Choice of two fuel-efficient engines: All-new 1.3-liter direct-injection turbocharged engine standard on premium Limited and Trailhawk models (available on Sport and Latitude models), plus 2.4-liter Tigershark engine standard on Sport and Latitude models Both Jeep Active Drive and Active Drive Low 4x4 systems include the Jeep Selec-Terrain system, providing up to five modes (Auto, Snow, Sand and Mud modes, plus exclusive Rock mode on the Trailhawk model) for the best four-wheel-drive performance on or off road and in any weather condition Renegade Trailhawk delivers best-in-class Trail Rated 4x4 capability with standard Jeep Active Drive Low with improved 21:1 crawl ratio; 8.7 inches of ground clearance; skid plates; signature red front and rear tow hooks; up to 8.1 inches of wheel articulation; Hill-descent Control; up to 19 inches of water fording; and up to 2,000-lb. towing capacity Segment-exclusive disconnecting rear axle and power take-off unit (PTU) optimize fuel efficiency of Jeep Renegade 4x4 models Jeep Renegade features fresh styling with rugged body forms and aggressive proportions, which enable best-in-class approach and departure angles purposely designed to deliver best-in-class off-road capability For segment-exclusive panoramic views, available My Sky open-air roof panel system conveniently stows in the rear cargo area to provide passengers open-air freedom with ease Jeep Renegade is available with up to 70 safety and security features, including the segment’s first availability of Forward Collision Warning-Plus and LaneSense Departure Warning-Plus Jeep Renegade offers advanced technology, including Uconnect 4 8.4-inch touchscreen radio with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; navigation; HD Radio; Bluetooth handsfree calling, voice command and streaming audio; and SiriusXM Radio Apple CarPlay enables iPhone users to access Apple Maps, Messages, phone and Apple Music through Siri Voice control or the Uconnect touchscreen Android Auto enables easy and safe access to Google voice search, Google Maps and Google Play Music via the Uconnect 7-inch touchscreen or steering wheel controls Uconnect 4 system includes performance improvements with faster startup time, enhanced processing power, vivid imagery, plus higher resolution and sharper graphics The available BeatsAudio premium sound system includes eight speakers and a subwoofer for studio-quality sound  Model Lineup
    For 2019, the Jeep Renegade lineup consists of four models:
    Sport Latitude Limited Trailhawk Available Exterior Colors:
    Sting Grey Clear Coat (late availability) Colorado Red Clear Coat Omaha Orange Clear Coat Slate Blue Pearl Coat (late availability) Bikini Clear Coat  (late availability) Granite Crystal Clear Coat Jetset Blue Metallic Clear Coat Glacier Metallic Clear Coat Black Clear Coat Alpine White Clear Coat  Available Interior Colors:
    Black Sandstorm with Metal Diamond accents Trespass Black with Metal Diamond accents Black leather with Grillz accents Polar Plunge with Metal Diamond accents Polar Plunge leather with Grillz accents Trailhawk Black with Ruby Red accents

    William Maley

    Possibly hauling ass for 7 people

    The Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer has been talked about for the past few years, mostly in terms of delays and figuring out what platform will underpin it. But a new report from Road & Track reveals Jeep has something very special in store.
    An internal document from transmission supplier ZF lists the 2018 production and pre-production vehicles using a version of their 8HP eight-speed automatic transmission. Among the vehicles listed the Grand Wagoneer with the platform code ZS. What makes this more intriguing is the mention of a Grand Wagoneer Trackhawk. The listing says it has a 6.2L V8 and produces 729 PS - about 718 horsepower. Like the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, the Wagoneer Trackhawk uses a beefed-up version of the eight-speed automatic - ZF-8HP95X.
    Could this mean that Jeep will be launching a mad Wagoneer in the coming years? Possibly not. Road & Track has some possible guesses as to why this is mentioned,
    Someone goofed while working on this document FCA has built some Wagoneer prototypes with the Hellcat engine, but hasn't made plans to put it into production Source: Road & Track

    William Maley

    Dealers: Where's that Grand Wagoneer?

    Since 2014, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne proclaimed that Jeep needed a three-row luxury SUV to better compete with the likes of the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator. But this SUV, known as the Grand Wagoneer hasn't materialized. Numerous delays and debates about the design has caused the launch to be pushed time and time again. These delays have a number of dealers concerned that Jeep may miss its opportunity with this new model.
    "I think our window of opportunity is closing. We could have killed with [the Grand Wagoneer] if it had been available when they first told us about it, but it's a much tougher sell with interest rates and gas prices going up," said an unnamed FCA dealer to Automotive News.
    John Murphy, research analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch said last week at a meeting of the Automotive Press Association that the "Goldilocks" era in auto retailing was coming to a close. Murphy said the next five years would be tough on auto sales due to a number of factors, especially for those trying to sell high-end models.
    Higher interest rates Increasing gas prices Raw materials becoming more expensive Increasing competition in the light-truck sector The current plan is to launch the Grand Wagoneer in 2019, but production could be pushed back till late in the year or even into 2020. This is due to FCA's plan to keep building the current Ram 1500 at their Warren Truck Plant until the end of year. But depending on demand, this could extend production into 2019, pushing back the time needed to retool the plant for the Grand Wagoneer.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Smaller than the Renegade

    It is no secret that Jeep has been toying with the idea of introducing a model smaller than the Renegade (see our story back in January). According to a new report from Autocar, Jeep might announce plans to do just that.
    In June, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles will be holding their five-year plan announcement. This is where the company outlines what's in store for the brands under the FCA umbrella. Autocar says Jeep is likely to announce their sub-Renegade model during it.
    As we reported back in January, the 'baby' Jeep would likely use the platform that underpins the Fiat 500 and Panda 4x4. It would be aimed at the European market where there is a growing demand for small crossovers. Jeep CEO Mike Manley said Latin America could also be another market for the 'baby' Jeep.
    Source: Autocar

    William Maley

    The date has been set

    After more than a decade of production, the last Jeep JK Wrangler is expected to roll off the assembly line on April 7th. Automotive News obtained a WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) filed by supplier Hyundai Mobis North America to the State of Ohio. The line where the JK is built at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Toledo, Ohio plant will be shut down for extensive retooling to make way for the Wrangler pickup. Production is expected to begin next April.
    FCA retooled part of the Toledo plant last year to make way for the JL Wrangler. Production of this model began back in November.
    We still don't many details about the Wrangler pickup aside from it looking like the new Wrangler with a pickup bed. Rumor has it that the pickup will have a slightly altered frame from the standard Wrangler and possibly have the Scrambler nameplate.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    An even smaller Jeep?!

    Jeep's boss Mike Manley told reporters at the Detroit Auto Show that the brand is looking 'very closely' at building a crossover smaller than the Renegade. The model would be targeted at markets like Europe where small cars are dominate. 
    If given the go-ahead, the new Jeep would be based on FCA’s Mini platform that underpins the Fiat 500 and Panda. Production could take place in Pomigliano, Italy. One issue that needs to be addressed before a decision is made is making sure the model is capable off-road like other Jeep models.
    According to supplier sources, FCA has been talking about possibly producing this model. However, the project has suffered many stop and starts.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley

    Is that you Wagoneer?

    Back at the Shanghai Auto Show in April, Jeep introduced the Yuntu SUV concept. Designed for the Chinese market, the Yuntu features 3-rows and a plug-in hybrid powertrain. Jeep is going forward with bringing the Yuntu to production as evidenced by a new set of spy photos.
    Despite the camouflage, there is no mistaking this is a Jeep thanks to the seven-slot grille. The overall shape matches up with a design trademark filing made last year in China with a boxy profile and a rear end similar to the Dodge Durango. It appears the design of the headlights and taillights carry over.
    A source tells Motor1 the Yuntu provides a preview of what Jeep has in store for their new flagship, the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer. The design hasn't been finalized, so there could be some changes in store. The source also says Jeep is planning to offer two wheelbase lengths for the Wagoneer. It is unclear what platform underpins the Yuntu - speculation has it on a unibody platform, likely Cherokee. We have heard that the Wagoneer will be using platform that underpins the Ram 1500.
    We'll keep you updated if we hear any new details.
    Source: Autoblog, Motor1

    William Maley

    Average price increase of $3,020

    With all of the new improvements and technology for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, it was going to slightly more expensive. We now know how much more that will be.
    Motor1 reports that when the Wrangler hits dealers early next year, it will have a starting price of $28,190 (includes a $1,195 destination charge) for the base 2-door Wrangler. This is an increase of $3,000 when compared to the 2017 model. All 2018 Wrangler models see an average increase of $3,020 to their base price.
    You're not getting much with the Wrangler Sport. Standard equipment includes a six-speed manual gearbox, Dana axles, and 17-inch All Season Bridgestone tires. You'll need to shell out some cash if you want power windows and locks; keyless entry, and air conditioning. The Sahara is slightly better equipped with 18-inch alloy wheels, painted fenders, upgraded audio system, and power accessories. But Jeep is only offering the Sahara in the 4-door Unlimited which will set you back $38,540.
    Rubicon models come equipped with a load of off-road goodies such as beefier Dana 44 axles, electronic locking differentials, automatic swaybar disconnects, upgraded transfer case, and BF Goodrich off-road tires. The Rubicon begins at $38,190 for the two-door and $41,690 for the four-door Unlimited.
    Source: The Car Connection, Motor1

    William Maley

    The turbo-four that debuted in the Wrangler will be popping up in another vehicle

    We know from previous spy shots that Jeep is readying a refresh of the Cherokee that will include revised styling for the front and rear. It seems Jeep has something else up its sleeve for the Cherokee.
    The Truth About Cars did some sleuthing through FCA's 2019 VIN code guide and found that the turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder that debuted on the Wrangler would be an option on the Cherokee. Paired with a 48-volt, the turbo 2.0L produces 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. This is one less horsepower than the Cherokee's 3.2L V6, but offers 56 more pound-feet.
    The turbo 2.0L will likely only be available in higher trim versions of the Cherokee.
    We're expecting the 2.4L four-cylinder and 3.2L V6 to soldier on.
    Source: The Truth About Cars

    William Maley

    We also learn about the reveal date for the Ram 1500

    There have been countless rumors and leaks pertaining to the next-generation Jeep Wrangler. But now we have something official from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
    An employee from FCA tweeted out a picture charting how some of its plants will retool for various products in the coming year. The picture confirms that the Wrangler will be shown in November and enter production sometime in the fourth quarter. There is also the mention of the next Ram 1500 debuting in January with production beginning sometime in the first quarter. It would be safe to assume that the Wrangler will be shown at LA and the Ram 1500 at Detroit.
    We also learned that an updated Cherokee will go into production early next year, but no mention of a possible reveal date.
    Source: Jeff Bennett on Twitter




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