Aluminum-Body Jeep Wrangler Coming in 2017
Late last week, Fiat Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne, announced that we will be getting an aluminum-body Jeep Wrangler when the next generation debuts for 2017. The switch to aluminum marks Jeep’s efforts to reduce weight and thus improve fuel economy, as the brand attempts to remain compliant with CAFÉ.
An aluminum-body Jeep Wrangler, however, means we’ll likely see Wrangler production removed from Toledo, Ohio. This is likely going to be an unpopular decision from Jeep fanatics (who already aren’t fond of an Italian running an American company), as the Wrangler has been produced in Toledo since World War II.
“If the solution is aluminum, then I think unfortunately that Toledo is the wrong place, the wrong setup to try and build a Wrangler, because it requires a complete reconfiguring of the assets that would be cost-prohibitive,” Marchionne explained to Automotive News. “It would be so outrageously expensive that it would be impossible to try and work out of that facility.”
Never fear, however, as Marchionne insists that this will have no effect on jobs within the Toledo community: “One of the things that we are dealing with now is what else do we do with Toledo that fulfills our commitment to the city and to Ohio. I don’t have a doubt that there will be zero impact on head count and employment levels and anything else.”
Don’t expect aluminum and the place of manufacturing to be the only changes for the next-generation Wrangler. It is also being reported that the Wrangler will be downsized and will be powered by turbocharged engines, though we don’t have any more official information just yet.
News Source: Automotive News (sub. req.)