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.
Quick Drive: 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT Trackhawk