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FCA hints at Wrangler 8-speed in SEC filing

by Bill Cawthon on


In today’s Automotive News, Larry Vellequette reports that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may have leaked a bit of future product information about the next-generation Jeep Wrangler in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The AN article didn’t identify the filing, so Allpar accessed the EDGAR system at the SEC website and found FCA’s “Amendment No. 1 to Form F-1 Registration Statement under the Securities Act of 1933” dated November 13, 2014.

On page 179 of the 257-page (not including attachments) document, the fourth paragraph says: “We have two commercial agreements with one of our key suppliers, ZF Friedrichshafen AG, or ZF, for the design, engineering and manufacture of new automatic transmissions that deliver reduced fuel consumption combined with improved driving performance. The first agreement covers a rear-wheel-drive 8-speed transmission for light- and medium-duty applications introduced in 2011 in the Chrysler 300 and Dodge Charger. Depending on the application, this 8-speed transmission reduces fuel consumption by more than nine percent over the 5-speed and 6-speed transmissions it replaced. The 8-speed transmission is currently paired with gasoline and diesel engines in the 2014 Ram 1500 and Jeep Grand Cherokee and is also featured in the new 2014 Dodge Durango. We plan to use this transmission in all of our rear-wheel-drive vehicles, except for heavy-duty versions of the Ram pick-up truck and the SRT Viper….”

Since the 2018 Wrangler will almost certainly be rear-wheel-drive, it appears the predictions of a Wrangler designed to accommodate the 8-speed are correct.

Vellequette notes that Jeep declined to comment on the statement in the filing.

The company’s unwillingness to discuss the 2018 Wrangler isn’t surprising, considering that at this stage of development there probably still a lot that’s not set in stone. If the vehicle is a 2018 model, its earliest likely debut will be at the 2017 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. That is just over two years from now. There’s still more engineering and design to be done.

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 just-auto.com, 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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