Jeep Planing Range Rover Competitor
Sergio Marchionne just spilled the beans on Jeep’s development of a high-end, luxury SUV that competes with Range Rover. The news comes as the Fiat Chrysler Chief Executive Officer spoke during the opening ceremony at an Alfa Romeo and Maserati dealership near Toronto last week.
And Marchionne didn’t mince his words either. “When I see a Range Rover on the street, my blood boils, because we should be able to do a thing like that, and we will.” He continued saying FCA purposefully left the luxo-Jeep off its publicly known five-year plan to keep the vehicle under wraps. “Would I tell you that?” Marchionne said. “No, but we’re working on it now.”
Well, okay then.
This does put Jeep in unfamiliar territory in terms of price ceilings. Currently the most expensive model is the Grand Cherokee SRT, which sells for roughly $70,000. That ceiling would certainly rise once Jeep declares war with Land Rover’s Range Rover, as its prices vary from $80,000 to $150,000.
Jeep already has plans to revive the Grand Wagoneer, a nameplate that’s been dormant since 1991. The SUV is slotted to be a large, three-row competitor to the Chevrolet Suburban when it debuts for 2018. Still, Marchionne figures there’s more room in the large SUV segment.
There’s no word on what platform or name Jeep will use for its Range Rover competitor, but perhaps help will come from FCA’s Maserati branch. You’ll recall the Italian luxury brand is expected to launch its Levante SUV within the next year. The Levante rides on a modified version of the same platform underpinning the Quattroporte and Ghibli. With some massaging, FCA might have its unibody, three-row luxury SUV ready for a seven-slot grille and a capable 4WD system.
As for the name, perhaps Jeep will revive the Super Wagoneer. Built between 1966 and 1969, the Super Wagoneer was a luxury version of the Grand Wagoneer. It came standard with amenities not otherwise found on 1960s SUVs like A/C, tilt steering, leather bucket seats, and a console shifter for its automatic transmission.
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Why it matters
Marchionne is a smart man and he understands that high-end luxury SUVs and crossovers are where profits go to flourish. Not only would a high-end vehicle do well in sales, it would also act as a halo vehicle, bringing prestige to the brand and driving sales of its less-expensive but somewhat similar-looking SUV cousins. In Jeep’s case, that would be the Grand Cherokee and soon-to-be Grand Wagoneer.
These are certainly exciting times in the automotive world, with new vehicles popping up and automakers experiencing good financial growth.