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Aluminum Wrangler, Jeep pickup?

by David Zatz on

Automotive News’ Larry Vellequette quoted Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne answering two different questions in a way that points to extensive use on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler (to be produced starting in calendar-year 2017, according to the latest Five Year Plan). In one question, about whether he could think of a better use for aluminum than Wrangler, Mr. Marchionne answered, “No,” indicating that Wrangler was the best use for aluminum. He said at another time yesterday that FCA would be ready to produce aluminum vehicles in 2017, the same year Wrangler (but also probably at least one Alfa Romeo) enters production.

Adding weight, so to speak, to the argument were two slides, used by two different presenters, discussing the importance of weight in meeting carbon dioxide requirements and increasing city gas mileage. Weight is the primary contributor to differences in city-cycle gas mileage, which is currently where Chrysler (and many other manufacturers) are having their greatest economy challenges. Highway mileage, which is influenced by gearing and aerodynamics more than weight, according to the slides, has been addressed by Chrysler and others, but weight has continued to grow as customers get used to top safety ratings, huge wheels, powerful stereos, and silent interiors.

As for the Gladiator — the Jeep Wrangler-based pickup, that is — it did not appear in the Five Year Plan at all, but Mr. Marchionne indicated that if demand for it continued to be strong, it could be made. Many observers have noted that it is unlikely to appear at all until the plant is re-built for the 2018 Wranglers.

David Zatz founded Allpar in 1998 (based on a site he had begun in 1993-94), after years of writing reviews for retail trades. He has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. Before making Allpar a full-time career, he was a consultant in organizational psychology. You can reach him by using our contact form (much preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304


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