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Marchionne clarifies present, future Liberty

by David Zatz on

Jeep Liberty

sergio marchionne

In a recent roundtable with reporters, Sergio Marchionne discussed the current and future Jeep Liberty (if the name remains) in response to a question by Toledo Blade reporter Larry Vellequette. After confirming it would be based on Fiat-derived architecture (which goes beyond platform to core suspension mechanisms), Mr. Vellequette noted that some Jeep enthusiasts were concerned about its being a true Jeep. Mr. Marchione responded:

Nonsense. Manley made the comment yesterday that any Jeep is going to have a Trail Rated version; there is no way to have the Trail Rated version if the architecture was not [right].

[Answering “How is the current Liberty deficient then?”] For one, its weight; fuel efficiency on the vehicle is not where we need to be. Some of it is weight determined, but some of it has got to do with the architecture itself, or what engines we can install. There are some things we can install on a Nitro that we can’t install on a Liberty. We can’t install the 4 liter. These are things that shoudn’t happen when you are sharing an architecture. We designed them on purpose, almost, to be exclusive and I find that to be a bit bizarre.

So we have a 3.7 liter V6 in the Liberty and it is not what I would call the most up to date engine. Installation of a Pentastar would be a monumental effort, I think we are running up against the cross members. So we need to be very, very careful because the problem is that we are inheriting a platorm that had a different purpose, I guess. I can’t update it sufficiently to make it truly competitive in the SUV segment, which it needs to be.

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