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The future of Wrangler

Discussion in 'Rumors and Speculation' started by CherokeeVision, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. Judas Shuttlesworth

    Judas Shuttlesworth Active Member

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    My last .02 on AWD vs true 4WD...

    When the wife and I went to Costa Rica, she didn't know why I insisted on renting a Suzuki Jimny versus all the other AWD crossovers. When she saw the roads I was taking her on, she finally understood. Those little jokers can almost climb a tree.
     
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  2. aldo90731

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    ...and a discount on those without.
     
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  3. MJAB

    MJAB Well-Known Member

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    SShhhhhh don't say that or someone here will say that Suzuki Jimny it is not a true 4WD since it has electrical pushbuttons to engage 4x4 or low gearing, not a mechanical lever! ;-)
     
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  4. MJAB

    MJAB Well-Known Member

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    Something like this. Time to time some information surface since FCA take part to projects or initiatives where public funds are used and publicity is imposed.
    Class B Demonstrator – Fiat 500X - ECOCHAMPS (at http://www.ecochamps.eu/class-b-demonstrator-fiat-500x/ )
    [​IMG]
     
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  5. Mike V.

    Mike V. Mopar-nac The Moderator
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    Not necessarily. There are different consumers who want to buy both new and used Wranglers. There are plenty of used buyers that are not interested in the Rubicon model for instance.

    The full time four wheel drive system will be very capable and is a game changer and can potentially expand the appeal of the Wrangler.

    Now let’s get back on topic and stick to the future of Chrysler... which is more than likely could eventually be a lineup of four CUV’s with gas, hybrid, and/or electric powertrains; lots of technology inside; and models that will span from lower market to upper market.

    Mike
     
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  6. dmcdonald

    dmcdonald Active Member

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    Again, you are making inflammatory assumptions about AWD systems. The limiting factor in the off roadablity of the current Grand Cherokee has nothing to do with it's AWD system. It is in the suspension. People may feel more comfortable with the manual and mechanical nature of the Wrangler Command Trac but that doesn't make other properly designed systems less capable!
     
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  7. aldo90731

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    Thank you for doing FCA's job of articulating for us what they intend Chrysler to represent!

    Now, let me get my flamethrower.

    When we look at successful automakers through history, whether it is Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Toyota, the top three items, in bold, were added AFTER they had proven, over many years, that they stood for excellence: excellence in engineering, excellence in performance, excellence in quality manufacturing.

    Mercedes and BMW gained early notoriety by building high-performing, revolutionary models, built to standards above and beyond the norm; the fact that they had 2 or 4 doors, could carry 2,4 or 6 occupants was irrelevant. They were engineered and built to excel; and that was the proof point. Even Toyotas were originally lauded for their competent, responsive --and, thus, safe-- handling, as much as for their excellent craftsmanship and durability. It wasn't until much later that these automakers expanded into high occupancy SUVs, CUVs, minivans, and detuned their suspensions for improve comfort, and their engines to maximize efficiency.

    And that's the key issue I have with FCA's approach: they want to fast-forward Chrysler to this imaginary finish line without having first set the proper foundation for consumers to connect the dots, and thus give the brand a real chance to succeed.

    And no, the fact that Chrysler proved this type of excellence years ago doesn't count the moment FCA hits the reset button. The underlying premise being that it expects everyone to forget about Chysler's rich heritage and going forward think of the brand in terms of this made-up peoplemovermainstream positioning.

    So far, there just isn't enough context for people to connect with, be convinced by and act upon.

    This is not a knock on you: your articulation of the Chrysler vision is well done. It is a knock on the vision itself: it reads like a UN resolution, and likely it was crafted the same way, by a bunch of mid-level managers through a sequence of meetings.

    Mediocrity is not a sustainable positioning. Even mighty Toyota is seeing the writing on the wall, and is being forced to bring back its long-forgotten enthusiasm for design, performance and innovation.
     
    #47 aldo90731, Sep 22, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
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  8. aldo90731

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    Please, refrain from discussing the poster and focus on discussing the issues.

    Let's agree to disagree on AWD vs 4WD.

    My overarching point is this: the expectation is that Jeep be at the forefront of off-road capability expanding the boundaries of field that made it so famous. As such, it is expected to develop new and innovative products and features that do just that.

    True, adding AWD to Wrangler expands its marketability, but besides selling more Wranglers, it does nothing to expand the boundaries of offroading.

    For a brand, or a nameplate, to grow volume sustainably and maintain its price positioning, it has to elevate its standing in the market. Think of it as a giant circus tent: if you want a bigger tent (i.e., more sales), you need a taller pole in the middle. In Wrangler's case, the way to increase its standing in the market is by introducing a new and revolutionary product or feature that expand the boundaries of off-roading.

    We know JL is coming up with a pickup version, adding AWD to Sahara, and moving to new plant facilities. Presumably, all of this is to grow volume significantly. I still haven't seen nor heard anything, not even on those detailed specs posted already, that will significantly increase expand the boundaries of offroading capability, besides 33" tires. Unless Wrangler has something up its sleeve, that's not going to be sufficient to support all of this expected volume growth, AND retain Wrangler's enviable profits.

    BTW, this thread is supposed to be about Chrysler.
     
    #48 aldo90731, Sep 22, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  9. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    I would heartily disagree with that, because off-roading is not just rock crawling, and Wranglers are not off-road vehicles but dual role vehicles. Remember, the thing about Jeeps is not that they are toys for people who want to have recreational outings off-road now and then — they are vehicles engineered to a purpose. That is a differentiating factor Bob Sheaves constantly pointed out. The purpose most Jeeps are used for today, even Wranglers, is dependable any-weather travel — so if, say, you are a doctor or a nurse, you need not fear the blizzard stranding you in the snow. (Well, actually, you should, because no car is a panacea, but you get my “drift”). The full time four wheel drive system, or all wheel drive, if you must, — if it doesn't lock 50/50 Bob would call it AWD, I vaguely and maybe incorrectly recall —expands the usefulness and utility of the Wrangler for other audiences than recreational rock climbers.

    Maybe... I think that falls into “halo effect” though. BMW doesn’t need to beat Ferrari to sell as sport-luxury. Maserati doesn’t need to beat Ferrari. Making a more extreme top-end Maserati will not sell more low-end Maseratis. Making a better low-end Maserati, better tailored to its buyers, though, might do that.

    When they started making tops that fit better for the Wrangler, and added automatic transmissions, and made it four doors... those were non-off-road-relevant additions (you can argue either way for automatics) that boosted sales. Indeed, the four door is not as nimble off-road, and you may call it a step in the wrong direction, but it more than doubled sales.

    Wrangler can actually stay where it is, because its competitors have fallen. And just because you haven't heard of any rumors other than 33” tires (which is indeed a step forward), doesn’t mean there’s no improvement. Diesels will be a useful off-road improvement due to low end torque. Eight speed automatics will be a boon for off-roading due to the lower first gear ratios in both low and high transfer-case gears. Sturdier frames will help capability, too, as would reducing the center of gravity or the weight. I am sure there are other improvements.

    If we are talking about Chrysler, I would agree with Aldo that the #1 thing they need to do is fix quality. I even agree that moving to crossovers is not a replacement for a brand strategy; but I would argue that moving to crossovers is necessary to move forward in this brave new world of ours. The sedan is rapidly become a niche, not a mass-market segment. So all-crossover-Chrysler would be Step One.

    Chrysler’s main problem, I think, is that Plymouth isn’t there to bolster it any more. Dodge has to focus on what people already think it is, to keep expanding its youth market sales and ability to sell without massive discounting (while Journey and Caravan do sell, they seem to sell largely on price). How does Chrysler carve out an identity? What identity do Toyota, Ford, and Honda have?
     
  10. redriderbob

    redriderbob Mopar Guru!
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    Chrysler Group/FCA US has truly built some amazing AWD systems over the past decade...


    Quadra Drive II is a simple amazing system.


    Active Drive II has shown the FWD based Jeeps can be pretty amazing off the beaten path.


    MP 3015C is the new system under the Trackhawk.
     
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  11. MJAB

    MJAB Well-Known Member

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    Since seem that many are interested in the systems that FCA used for crossover CUV/SUV, hereafter, at least for smaller ones that very very likely will be used also in the new Chrysler crossovers.

    Note that I don't write nor 4WD nor AWD, because these systems can be act both ways, it depends on how are programmed and used by OEM.

    The last system adopted by FCA was GKN Active Connect (FCA was first manufacturer to use it), with Jeep Renegade/Fiat 500X project.

    The hardware, that is identical in Jeep Renegade, Fiat 500X, Fiat Toro and now new Jeep Compass, has a monoblock attached to transaxle (gearbox + integrated differential) that contains the PTU (power transfer unit), a bake to stop the main shaft and a system to disconnect the main shaft that engages/disengages a dog clutch.

    At the rear there is a wet clutch pack that is controlled by an EM CD (ElectroMagnetic Control Device) that can connect, disconnect rear axle or manage the torque that arrive on rear axle.
    The active torque biasing function allows to control the torque distribution of the rear vs. the front.

    Than there is a electronic control module that can be programmed to give different behavior and activation of the systems based on programming made by OEM and user input (selection of drive modes).

    In order to reduce fuel consumption, the system is usually programmed to automatically disengage PTU and open rear wet clutch so to have FWD propulsion and the minimum number of moving parts.

    At the opposite, the system can be programmed to have PTU and main shaft connected (via dog clutch) and rear wet clutch pack fully closed.
    In that condition can be engineered and tuned for torque distribution of 50%-50% front and rear.



    More info at GKN website, there is also an illustrative video.
    GKN - "One AWD platform, two distinct driving experiences"
    One AWD platform, Driving experiences | GKN technology 2016 | GKN Group (at http://www.gkn.com/en/our-divisions/gkn-driveline/case-studies/2016/one-awd-platform-two-distinct-driving-experiences/ )

    To note that similar system, but with additional "Twinster" torque vectoring system)for the rear is used by Land Rover Range Rover Evoque.

     
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  12. aldo90731

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    Points well-taken, Dave. True, we don't know yet if Jeep has an ace up its sleeve.

    But you are mixing elements that grow volume (e.g., adding four doors, adding AWD, adding a truck bed, adding an 8-speed auto, adding powertrains), with elements that establish a reputation (e.g., the cleverness of QuadraCoil, the stoutness of Rock-Trac, the flexibility and toughness of the original Selec-Trac, the bullet-proof durability of the 4.0, the convenience of electronic swaybar disconnects). The difference is subtle but important: that which any automaker can do, vs that which only a very few are known --and trusted-- to do.

    The ability to grow sales AND command a price premium simultaneously, comes from the equity in the brand name and from its reputation for achieving things very few can accomplish. This is true of Toyota, of Jeep, of Porsche and of Mercedes-Benz. And the more ambitious those volume targets are, and the higher those profit margins expectations are, the stronger the brand reputation needs to be to support all of that.

    If FCA believes that AWD, sturdier frames and eight speed transmissions is the way to keep Jeep on top of its game, to sustain sales growth AND to protect margins, they will find out, too late I am afraid, that they aimed too low for all of that to happen.

    Based on what I know so far, JL has been designed to grow volume for the foreseeable future, and that's it. The task of keeping Jeep on top of its game, with its enviable reputation and margins, will fall on whoever owns Jeep next.
     
    #52 aldo90731, Sep 22, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2017
  13. GasAxe

    GasAxe Well-Known Member

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    I don't think that's too surprising since the JL is an evolution of the JK not only in design, but in variants and expanded manufacturing. The next Wrangler will likely be the evolution (IFS, hybrid/electric, composites, etc).
     
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  14. CudaPete

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    Okay, so let's say Jeep JL stays with 4WD. Have a more urban oriented Chrysler version of the JL with AWD. Keeps the purists happy and opens up a new potential customer base.
     
  15. suzq044

    suzq044 Resident Photoshop Nerd

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    People who want a wrangler will get a wrangler.. making a clone in one of the other brands would just canibalize sales.
     
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  16. danbek

    danbek Well-Known Member

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    Would never have thought a Commander could do that!
     
  17. Zagnut27

    Zagnut27 Jeepaholic
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    Wrangler looks like it was born to get over those obstacles (it was). The rest of them have remarkable capability, there's no denying that. But they look so uncomfortable doing it...lol. I appreciate the capability because of my line of work, and to a lesser extent for fun. However, most folks will never need half of the capability that those vehicles possess. An AWD system should be more than sufficient in a Chrysler CUV for those that want it.
     
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  18. Dave Z

    Dave Z It's me, Dave
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    No, I'm really not.

    First, it is only AWD if it has no 50/50 lock, and we're pretty sure it has one, so it is still 4x4 - just full time rather than part time. You ignore my point that this is what Jeep is all about - engineering to a purpose. For most people, full time 4WD is far more useful than part-time systems, so this is a functional improvement — one Jeep pioneered way back when with the Cherokee.

    The eight speed auto, again, is a boon for off-road use due to the far lower first gear.

    The four doors was done for sales gain. The pickup bed increases utility for specific target audiences.

    Any automaker can do any of these things — anyone can copy the CJ or Wrangler — just ask Land Rover and Mahindra. The question is, who will do it?

    Seems to me you have gone well beyond presenting your views based on facts and experience, and are now sticking to defending assertions made in the absence of facts. I will happily respect your expertise, and have backed off a few positions based on your knowledge, but here I find that rational argument has waved goodbye and been replaced by rationalization. I would like you to step back and consider why adding a wide-range automatic, diesel engine, full time four wheel drive (NOT all wheel drive, as far as we know), and better axles as steps backwards, or at least not “functional improvements”?

    Side note: later today I will split off the Jeep stuff into a new thread.
     
  19. CudaPete

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    • Exactly, Wrangler is a purpose built vehicle and should remain that way. A Chrysler variant would also be purpose built with the urban consumer in-mind that wants still the AWD capability of a Jeep but in a more refined package. A specific example of this is making the transition from snow to dry pavement.
     
  20. DarkSky

    DarkSky Moderator
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    That urban consumer would find their needs filled perfectly by Chrysler’s Journey replacement. No need to turn a dedicated off-road vehicle into something no more capable than a crossover.
     
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