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Wrangler Classic and New Wrangler

by David Zatz on

Toledo-based Automotive News reporter Larry Vellequette wrote that Jeep is inextricably intertwined with the City of Toledo, so much so that the state should be spelled OIIIIIO, in a recent editorial. (There were, admittedly, years when Wranglers were made in Canada.)

Mr. Vellequette suggested that, if Chrysler does need to build a new plant to make aluminum Wranglers, somewhere outside the city limits, it should keep on making the classic Wranglers, updated as needed, in Toledo. That would provide insurance against failure of the new design, keep a steady income from Wrangler sales as the new model is brought on line, and reduce pressure on the classic Toledo South plant. “That might even make room for an eventual and long-desired Wrangler-based pickup.”

If the new Jeep is indeed a major improvement on the old one, chances are that production of the old Jeep Wrangler would fall to a single shift, leaving less of a dent on fuel-economy averages, but still filling a niche of customizable, rough-and-tough off-road vehicles. If demand failed to fall, price hikes could be called into play, providing enough profit on the old model to keep it updated and perhaps bring in a diesel to help with the fuel economy.

The new Jeep is, according to Sergio Marchionne, to rely on extensive use of aluminum to save weight; to use a smaller engine than the current 3.6 liter V6; and may be of unit-body construction, though it seems more likely that it will emulate the Cherokee XJ and combine mini-frames with unit-body work. Such a vehicle would be superior for most buyers, but not for those who customize or tackle more serious off-roading tasks, given the expense of working with aluminum. Read the original article.

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