Jeep-Toledo-Web
Automotive News writer Larry Vellequette reports that the next-generation Jeep Wrangler will most likely remain a body-on-frame design and remain in Toledo.

At the Paris Auto Show, which ended last Sunday, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne said FCA was considering switching the Wrangler to an aluminum body and unibody construction. He also said converting the Toledo plant to produce an aluminum body would be prohibitively expensive and that there was capacity available in two FCA plants to handle unibody assembly.

FCA has just two body-on-frame plants, Toledo and the Warren Truck Plant, both of which are already maxed out.

Marchionne’s remarks directly contradicted the promise he made at the Detroit Auto Show last January that Wrangler production would remain in Toledo. At that time, Marchionne said “…one of the commitments we’ve made is never to produce a Wrangler outside of Toledo….”

The news was a bombshell: Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins and representatives of Ohio Governor John Kasich immediately set up discussions aimed at keeping the iconic Wrangler in the Northeastern Ohio city. They met in Auburn Hills on October 9.

Jeep loyalists were also upset: a steel body is superior to aluminum for severe use, such as demanding off-road trails, and the strength of body-on-frame construction is integral to the Wrangler’s capabilities.

However, FCA is faced with the same challenges as every other automaker: the need to reduce weight to improve fuel economy. Ford’s switch to an aluminum body for its F-150 pickup shaved hundreds of pounds off the trucks weight.

Vellequette writes that knowledgeable sources inside and outside of the company are saying the Wrangler will remain a body-on-frame design though it’s likely there will be a switch to an aluminum body.

On Tuesday of this week, the Toledo city council approved the purchase of 32 acres of land near the plant. While it is assumed the purchase is intended to help keep the Wrangler in Toledo, city officials and Chrysler declined to comment.

Ram and Jeep have shown off their SEMA concept cars ahead of time, including a Ram ProMaster done up as the Hospitality Van or Man Cave; the Outdoorsman pickup; and a pair of Jeep Renegades to go with Moab Wrangler and Cherokee concepts.

See the full story (and photos).

Dodge is showing four concept cars at SEMA: a Dart, Charger, Challenger, and Viper ACR. You can now see them all at Allpar, courtesy of Patrick Rall — now with the story behind them. Coming soon: Jeep, Ram, Chrysler, and Fiat concepts.

See all the Dodge concepts

Long before the Challenger Hellcat was officially launched, Allpar noted that the engine — which we estimated at “620-680 horsepower” (depending on when the stories were written) — was being tested in the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Then we wrote that it had probably been ruled out, for various reasons.

Today, one source wrote that the trademarked Trackhawk name, which we had thought was a Jeep replacement for SRT (since SRT is increasingly associated with Dodge and only Dodge), may be a special Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 707 horsepower Hellcat engine.

It might not reach quite that power rating in the Jeep, given available space and the effect it has on other systems, but would certainly provide more power than the already hefty 6.4 liter Hemi.

The 2015 Chrysler 200 has earned a five-star (the highest possible) overall safety rating  from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  It scored five stars in frontal collisions, two-vehicle side-impacts, and single-vehicle-with-pole side impacts. It got four stars for rollover resistance.

The 2015 200 had already earned a Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).

Chrysler-200-Detroit-Web

The car’s many optional active safety systems do not factor into the ratings, though NHTSA provides recognition on their safety-ratings page for them. Collision-warning systems are required for IIHS Top Safety Pick+ status.

One segment-exclusive feature is the standard Electronic Park Brake (EPB) with SafeHold. This automatically activates the parking brake if the driver’s seatbelt is unlatched and their door is opened while in Drive or Reverse, to prevent rollaways.

Other standard and available features include Electronic Stability Control (ESC), electronic roll mitigation, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, ParkSense rear backup sensors, ParkView rear backup camera, blind-spot monitoring, Rear Cross Path Detection and LATCH child seat anchors.

The 2015 Chrysler 200 is built in Sterling Heights, Michigan, a short drive north from Detroit.

hellcat-chargerUS prices for the 2015 Dodge Charger have already been announced; Chrysler Canada has just released Canadian prices.  Both are shown here for comparison, including destination charges. Ironically, while Chargers are assembled in Canada, the destination charge is much higher for Canadians (the equivalent of C$1,119 vs C$1,695). However, AWD is sold at a lower cost, as is the Road & Track package which creates the Charger R/T R/T.

Dodge claims that the Hellcat model is the quickest, fastest, and most powerful sedan in the world. It has a top speed of 328 km/h.

Readers should note that as of posting time, US$40,000 equalled C$44,978. Thus, in US dollars, the Canada Charger SE would run $32,598 — still below the Canadian price, but not by quite as high a margin.  In comparison, the Hellcat is actually cheaper in Canada — US$64,990 is equivalent to $73,078.  Rates fluctuate constantly and Chrysler may have built some reserve into the lower-margin, higher-volume cars to prevent losses if the Canadian dollar falls or the U.S. dollar rises.

At Launch: Charger SE Charger SXT Charger R/T Scat Pack SRT 392 SRT Hellcat
Engine V6 V6 5.7 V8 6.4 V8 6.4 V8 S/C 6.2 V8
Key options AWD* AWD* Road & Track*
US price** $28,990 $30,990 $33,990 $40,990 $49,380 $64,990
Canada price** $34,190 $37,290 $41,190 $49,095 $53,095 $67,095

* $3,000 extra in the United States.
AWD $2,200 extra in Canada; R&T $2,000 extra in Canada

** Includes destination charge ($995 in 48 states, $1,695 in Canada)

Charger Hellcat, SRT, other pricing

Dodge has released pricing for the full Charger lineup, starting with the V6/eight-speed Dodge Charger SE at $28,990 (all prices include $995 destination for the “49 states”). Charger was thoroughly renovated for the 2015 model year, with a new look, suspension and electronics revisions, a standard eight-speed automatic for ever engine, and other upgrades. The top Charger, the SRT Hellcat, has [...]

Is this the Viper ACR?

Allpar’s informal sources have agreed that there are plans for a new Dodge Viper ACR, debuting for the 2016 model year, possibly replacing the current TA (Time Attack) model. Artist suzq044 provided the following rendering, which uses SRT’s trademark black wheels and a Dodge concept-car semi-rendering. The Viper ACR may have a mild power boost, but will be mainly a suspension and/or airflow upgrade, to increase track [...]

Wrangler may leave frame, factory, steel behind

The 2017 Jeep Wrangler may leave its historic steel body-on-frame construction and Toledo plant behind, according to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne, as quoted by Automotive News’ Larry Vellequette. The current Wrangler has good mileage for rugged four wheel drive vehicles, but poor economy overall, at around 17/21 mpg (depending on model and transmission). Mr. Marchionne said the Wrangler will need to lose weight [...]

Chrysler issues SEMA “teasers”

Keeping a years-long tradition, Chrysler today released a number of “teaser images” for concepts to be revealed at the SEMA aftermarket show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Each brand is covered, though Chrysler has but one car — the 200S. That can be explained by the status of the brand’s three cars: the 2015 300 has yet to be launched, and the [...]

Ferrari engines: “Imported from Detroit”

Months after unconfirmed reports made it to Allpar’s pages, the power of Automotive News, in the person of reporter Larry Vellequette, pried a key fact from Chrysler executives — that they cast and build “Ferrari” engines for Maserati. As our sister site pentastars.com reported, the engines are actually cast in Kokomo, and machined in the Trenton Engine plant, using a mixture of [...]

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