Jeep Grand Cherokee Delayed At Least One More Year
The delays mentioned by FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne regarding the Jeep Grand Cherokee have been rehashed, this time by Jeep’s CEO Mike Manley. Manley says the redesigned Grand Cherokee will be delayed until late 2018 or possibly 2019 before it hits showrooms.
Jeep’s original plan detailed in its five year forecast released in 2014 showed the new Grand Cherokee arriving in 2017. The delays, Marchionne says, are so Jeep engineers can “take a complete re-look” at the vehicle’s basic architecture.
That architecture is likely getting revamped in order to make it more configurable, allowing for easier sharing between multiple vehicles, namely the upcoming 2017 Jeep Grand Wagoneer, Jeep’s future, high-end luxury competitor to the Land Rover Range Rover. The two-row Grand Cherokee and three-row Grand Wagoneer’s shared platform would certainly need flexibility in its design in order to accommodate the differences in sizes.
The “complete re-look” will furthermore hamper Jeep’s ability to delver the Grand Wagoneer anytime soon, as well. Initially slotted for a 2018 debut, the three-row Jeep may not come until the end of the decade.
Despite the setbacks, the Grand Cherokee is enjoying tremendous success within the Jeep brand. The automaker sold 183,786 examples of the SUV in 2014 – a nearly 10,000-unit increase over sales in 2013. In fact, sales of the Grand Cherokee have been on the rise since the current model debuted for 2011.
In order to keep that momentum, Manley says the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee will undergo a “mild refresh” before its next full redesign. Expect that refresh to consist of minor exterior tweaks and a few interior cosmetic changes, while the powertrain and chassis continue unaltered.
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Why it matters
Jeep has traditionally been a popular brand for SUV buyers, thanks to its wide variety of vehicles, but Sergio Marchionne and others want to expand its dominance in the marketplace. By offering a new mid-range Grand Cherokee and an all-new, high-range Grand Wagoneer, customers will have an immensely wide range of choices within the brand. Of course, all Jeep products will offer optional 4WD drivetrains and that familiar seven-slot grille as the FCA division holds true to its wartime heritage.
While it is disappointing for Jeep to delay the Grand Cherokee and Grand Wagoneer, both products should be well worth the wait. It will certainly be interesting to see how well the Grand Wagoneer competes in such a ruthless market, but if the Grand Cherokee’s past record is any indication, Jeep will be raking in the profits.
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Source: Automotive News