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Wrangler to remain unique

by Bill Cawthon on

While most Chrysler and Fiat platforms are being evaluated to see how they will fit in the upcoming Chrysler-Fiat mix, the Jeep Wrangler isn’t going to be sharing with anyone. Not even other Jeeps.

Though it’s a relatively low-volume product, the Wrangler’s unique, terrain-conquering heritage is too valuable to dilute, especially with the likely demise of the Hummer brand.

Though they won’t be shared, the Wrangler’s underpinnings are scheduled for two major upgrades by next year. While the company isn’t releasing many details, these are likely to include the new Pentastar V6 and improved interiors. The company says new derivatives of the iconic Wrangler are also in the works. There has been a lot of interest in a Wrangler pickup like the government-only J8, but Mike Manley, head of the Jeep brand, says though he would like to do a pickup, such a vehicle “is not imminent.”

“No imminent” is also applicable to a diesel-powered Wrangler for the North American market. However, a diesel is being studied as it would improve the Wrangler’s fuel efficiency. That’s important as Chrysler works to meet new federal mileage standards.

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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