Could Jeep’s ultra luxury SUV be dead?

It seems the rumor mill is spinning out word that Jeep has canceled plans to build the Grand Wagoneer – the high-end competitor slotted to compete with vehicles like the Range Rover. Early speculation had put the Grand Wagoneer debuting for the 2019 model.

The news comes from Autoline Daily, which cites speculation from AutoForecast Solution, a company that provides automotive business planning. The purported problem stems from engineering problems with the Grand Wagoneer’s chassis. The luxury SUV was slated to ride on a widened and lengthened version of the unibody platform that underpins the Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. AutoForcasts Solution says the platform could not support a full-size SUV with three rows.

Autoline did add speculation to the news, supposing the Grand Wagoneer could borrow the Ram 1500’s ladder frame chassis. That move is plausible given the Ram’s rear suspension uses a multi-link system with coil springs, just a many modern body-on-frame SUVs do. If this were the case, the Grand Wagoneer would become a competitor to the Cadillac Escalade, as Truck Trend points out. We would also add the Infiniti QX80 to that mix.

However, we find it incredibly hard to believe the engineers at Jeep can’t make the Grand Cherokee’s chassis work. After all, the Durango is already 11.4 inches longer than the Grand Cherokee and has a five-inch-longer wheelbase.

What’s more, FCA boss Sergio Marchionne seems to be smitten with the idea of the Grand Wagoneer competing with big-time players like the Range Rover and Jeep CEO Mike Manley confirmed the three-row luxury Jeep in a conversation with Motoring. Last but certainly not least is the spied silhouette rendering of the entire future Jeep lineup, including the range-topping SUV, at a dealership meeting back in October.

The final nail in this rumor comes from an unnamed inside source that very recently told Truck Trend the Grand Wagoneer and its less-luxurious brother, the Wagoneer, are both still headed to production.

Continue reading for more information.

Why It Matters

While we’d love to see Jeep roll out a high-end Range Rover competitor that revived the iconic Grand Wagoneer nameplate, the SUV represents more than just another model or some nostalgic glimmer into a bygone era of motoring nomenclatures. FCA is fully embarking on dropping its dependence on cars while ramping up its dependence on crossovers, trucks, and SUVs.

These vehicles bring larger profit margins than smaller, less expensive cars, and therefore can help keep the automaker’s books in black. This is aided by the dropping prices of oil and the market’s long-term shift towards larger, higher-riding vehicles. There is no question FCA will be relying heavily on these vehicles for the next 10 years.

Jeep also has the brand loyalty and desirability needed to launch a luxury-minded SUV. The Grand Cherokee does really well for itself, despite it not being the newest SUV on the block. A Range Rover-like Jeep would certainly attract American buyers looking for a capable yet comfortable alternative to what’s already on the market. What’s more, Jeep will likely export the Grand Wagoneer. China, as the best example, loves American luxury vehicles and its wealthy don’t mind paying big bucks for imported models. This has the potential to be a goldmine for Jeep.

So, what’s this about Jeep canceling plans for the Grand Wagoneer?

2017 Jeep Grand Wagoneer

2017 Jeep Grand Wagoneer
- image 692358

Read our full review on the 2017 Jeep Grand Wagoneer here.

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