Upcoming Dodge, Ram, and Jeep Trucks and SUVs
Stowing seats for trucks and SUVs
Engineer Steven St. Laurent noted a new patent filed by Chrysler, covering an extension of stowable seats. The “Stow ’n’ Go” system in Chrysler and Dodge minivans allows owners to easily fold the middle and rear seats into the floor, providing a completely flat surface for moving large objects (or lots of small ones); when not in use, owners can use the under-floor space for added storage.
Like related Chrysler stowable-seat patents of 2014, this one focuses on simplicity of construction and usage.
Instead, using fewer parts, the new seats can apparently be folded forward and down into the floor. In addition, they provide unobstructed space between the bottom of the seat and the floor, for other passengers’ feet and whatnot. (The patent actually provides for more than one arrangement using pivotable couplings.)
Mr. St. Laurent wrote,
Chrysler is seeking to have rear and middle seats in new-generation trucks and SUVs fold completely into the floors — a flat surface vs a 5-10° incline when folding middle or rear seats (e.g. in Durango). It is now simpler to drop the seat and align it to the floor tub, without much effort. The seat back will be the surface of the floor. It would interest anyone who uses the interior space of the truck or SUV for storage. [It could also be helpful for using] the rear of the quad-cab Ram truck for sleeping when driving on long trips, by folding the seat and placing a mat on top when switching drivers. In an SUV, flat rear space for cargo is better what I am seeing in any SUV.
The inventors were Michigan residents Walter Holzhueter and Todd McCann.
Ram vans (commercial vans)
Fiat Doblo is being sold as Ram ProMaster City, with some serious changes, imported from Turkey. Fiat Ducato has been heavily modified to become Ram ProMaster. A version of Iveco Daily now looks as though it’s far away if it will ever arrive; it is not on the plan through 2018.
Ram Pickups and Chassis Cabs
Ram 1500 is set for a minor update in 2015 (model year 2016), with a major update in 2017 (model year 2018) — the latter being a newly released plan. The refresh is expected to be fenders-forward (except a new tailgate) and interior, with aerodynamic changes.
oh20 wrote: “Dodge is currently working on a plan that would make the Ram 4500 and 5500 chassis cabs available to all Ram dealers.”
The Long Hauler concept used a Kelderman air suspension in front and rear, for higher capacity with a smoother ride; that model was based on the Ram 5500, which has a leaf-spring rear suspension. Here’s the full Long Hauler story and status update (as part of a January 2014 interview). We no longer expect to see it.
Commercial heavy-duty trucks (e.g. tractors, class 7-8) might be planned, though they could be Ivecos, and aren't expected until 2019 at the earliest. Update: According to Fred Diaz, these were discussed, but leaders decided that they did not know the market well enough, and decided to wait until the end of the Five Year Plan and then to reconsider it.
As shown in the plan, we should see minor updates to the chassis cabs and heavy duty pickups for model year 2017, with major updates in 2019. The Ram line will spawn Ram Professional 1500 series pickups in calendar year 2017, accompanying the chassis cabs; Ram Professional heavy duty pickups will follow.
Grand Cherokee, Dodge Durango, Wagoneer
The Wagoneer, a luxury seven-seater positioned above the Grand Cherokee (Durango is currently $2,000 more at the base level), is still planned for the time when a minivan-based crossover joins the Dodge lineup, replacing the Caravan; the Durango name may be used on the crossover instead of Caravan.
One correspondent reported: “Grand Wagoneer looks just like the classic Wagoneer with a bit of Durango styling.” Wagoneer has been all but confirmed, and should have a longer body, like Durango, but with the Jeep suspension setup rather than Durango’s on-road-biased system.
A redesigned Grand Cherokee is due around 2017, but given the current model’s success, it may be another extensive refresh.
The Gladiator concept truck was driven on-stage at a 2010 dealer meeting, with an indication that something like it might be made. Sergio Marchionne later said it would probably be a Wrangler-based vehicle with a short bed. A Mopar pickup kit followed, then a September 2011 statement that a Jeep pickup is still a few years out. It now appears to be slated for 2019.
Two new pickups have been rumored but neither appears to be on the way. One is a Ram 50-sized compact powered by the Tiger Shark four cylinder, due for Mexican production so they can sell it all over North and South America without duties — both the South American and North American free trade zones include Mexico. This appears to have been replaced by a bigger Fiat Strada pickup coupled with a Mitsubishi pickup, neither of which may appear in the US at all.
The Dodge Dakota replacement, which we first mentioned in 2007, which morphed into a European-oriented, metric-ton pickup, has been dropped, most likely partly due to increased competition from both Ford and GM.
We are still providing some renderings based on earlier plans. Suzq044 has provided two renderings showing possible design directions, along with the one above from JackRatchett. JackRatchett was basing his off statements that a minivan-based truck would be made at Windsor; this now appears to be unlikely, though it’s still possible that the forthcoming pickup will come from the new minivan platform.
The rendering above shows a truck made on its own platform; the one below, a modification of the Dodge Charger to provide an El Camino/Ranchero/Rampage style pickup/car. The variety here may indicate that we do not know exactly what Ram is going to do, and that would be a valid conclusion.
Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Scrambler / Gladiator
A US diesel is being looked at; one would expect a four-cylinder VM diesel similar to those used in European Wranglers for decades now, but the 3-liter V6 is not out of the question. An updated transfer case may appear, possibly bringing back a full-time setting for broader market appeal. Sheet metal changes will improve aerodynamics (strong chance of major windshield and front end redesign). There is a chance of some sort of “stripped” model as the production line can now apply bedliner to tubs during assembly. Better quality is also expected.
Word from within Chrysler suggests that the Jeep Wrangler plant in Toledo, Ohio, is being examined for expansion and variants including a factory pickup and vehicles closer to the original Peeps. Insiders told Allpar that the plant was built without expansion in mind but could be reconfigured; this is presumably one of the forces behind trying to use an independent suspension, since those can be brought in as modules, saving space.
CUSW, C-EVO, D crossovers
Jeep Patriot / Jeep Compass
redriderbob, historically a good source, wrote: “Jeep engineers are working closely with Fiat engineers on this project. We will more likely see a diesel version of the replacement Compass/Patriot here in the US and Canada. They are also making sure this new Jeep is more capable then the ones it replaces.”
It appears Chrysler’s going to go with the Compass name instead of Patriot. There are two sets of insider comments, one saying it would “look very much like the current Patriot in shape and size but mixed just slightly with the soft lines of the old Jeep Renegade and Willys2 concepts” and the other saying it looks like an Alfa Romeo Giulietta with a Grand Cherokee/Compass front clip.
The Compass/Patriot successor and an Alfa Romeo CUV are to be closely related and all are built on CUSW, the same platform as the Dodge Dart, as is Liberty. The “Compatriot” would likely be front wheel drive and all wheel drive, lighter in weight and duty cycle than Liberty, and smaller — C class versus D class.