2018 Jeep Cherokee may lose its split headlights

jeepcherokee-face-g15-kgp-ed-2.jpg

Now that the Jeep Cherokee is three model years old, it’s about due for a refresh, and it looks like Jeep has a major one in store. New spy shots show two prototype Cherokees testing. The heavily disguised prototype has the nose and tail completely covered, and an undisguised mule with the current body shows what appear to be new radar sensors. Based on these spy shots, it looks like the Cherokee’s current split headlight design could be disappearing.

We know there must be a significant redesign to the front considering how much camouflage is used. We can also just make out a revised accent light in a similar position as the current accent lights. This wouldn’t indicate unified headlights alone, but two of the exposed mule’s apparent radar sensors sit right where the square-shaped main headlamps are located on the current model. They’ll have to at least move those lights higher in the bumper for the sensors, and if they’re moved that far up, they might as well be merged with the accent lights.

Among the other details we can make out, the rear section will likely be substantially different. The license plate mounting point has been moved out of the rear bumper and into the rear hatch. This may also be related to radar sensors, since the line of sensors on the undisguised model are right in line with the license plate. But it should also serve to break up the large swath of sheet metal in the hatch. The middle section of the car still looks the same as the current model, which is further indication that this is a refresh.

 

Jeep and Ram could be spun off from FCA, says Marchionne

the-jeep-badge-appears-on-the-grille-of-a-2011-wrangler-sahara-sport-picture-id104310519.jpeg

Jeep is surely the biggest single feather left in the cap of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles portfolio. Under Sergio Marchionne’s leadership, Jeep went from fewer than 500,000 annual sales in 2008 to 1.4 million in 2016, and is on track for 2 million by 2018. Add in the brand’s legacy, status as one of the most recognizable nameplates in the world, and rabid fan base, and Jeep has extraordinary monetary value to its parent company.

Investors and analysts have certainly noticed Jeep’s inherent value. According to The Detroit Free Press, Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas asked FCA chief Sergio Marchionne if he would ever consider spinning Jeep and Ram, FCA’s dedicated truck brand, into a separate corporate entity, and he responded with a simple “Yes.”

Jonas estimated Jeep’s worth in January of this year at $22 billion. Ram was valued at $11.2 billion.

Marchionne has a history of spinning off brands while keeping them part of FCA’s corporate umbrella. The most noteworthy example of this value maximization was with Ferrari, which now trades on the New York Stock Exchange and rakes in $3.4 billion in annual revenue and close to $435 million in net income, reports the Free Press. Marchionne still serves as chairman and CEO of Ferrari, and Fiat heir John Elkann owns 22 percent of the Italian marque’s shares.

Even if the offloading of Jeep and Ram into a separate entity would amount to little more than a profit-driven ownership change on paper, it would be huge news to the brands’ loyal fanbases. In any case, such a move would likely take years to actually happen and probably wouldn’t mean much at all to the products that Jeep and Ram produce. In other words, Jeep fans can keep the pitchforks in the shed … for now.

[Source: Autoblog]

New Jeep Wrangler pickup spy shots reveal suspension and tire details

wrangler-truck-003-copy-1.jpg

Most of the spy shots we’ve received of the Wrangler pickup have been from a bird’s-eye perspective. However this time, one of our spy photographers got up close to the truck at ground level. The new view shows us some interesting details regarding the truck’s suspension, as well as the placement of the spare tire.

Immediately evident is that the Wrangler pickup will have the same sort of suspension design as its SUV sibling. Solid axles are employed at the front and rear, and it appears that the rear axle is coil-sprung, since there are no leaf springs nor shackles present underneath. The photos also reveal that the truck won’t have a tailgate-mounted spare tire like the SUV. Instead, it will have a more traditional truck location beneath the bed.

Few other new details can be seen from the spy photos. This prototype sports the same production-style bed we’ve previously seen. The photos also really show just how long this Wrangler pickup is. With such a long wheelbase and rear overhang, the pickup will have more difficulty with hills than the bed-less versions. Of course, it will also be able to carry more than those Wranglers. We expect it go on sale in late 2019 based on previous reports.

[Source: Autoblog]

Jeep’s latest special edition tries to give the all-American Wrangler European appeal

170516_Mopar_St-Tropez_04.jpg

Jeep has a long history in Europe, starting with GIs bouncing across the continent kicking Nazi ass and much later being a conspicuously American status symbol. It’s been a varied existence, to be sure. And there have been a lot of Euro-only editions aimed at Continental tastes, like the Wrangler Polar and the Black Edition II. So this Mopar One Package version of the Wrangler Rubicon, which Jeep showed off at the Geneva show but was just showcased at the “Euro Festival” in Saint-Tropez, wasn’t born in a vacuum. It really underlines the continuing appeal in Europe for stereotypically American things. “Euro Festival”, after all, is a Harley-Davidson gathering. Harleys are expensive, conspicuous status symbols in Europe – and so is a Wrangler.

The Mopar One Package is only available on the Rubicon, and is a little unusual in that it’s more function-oriented than the normally cosmetic Euro packages. It has a 2-inch lift kit, larger 32-inch tires, a steering stabilizer, and accessory fenders. Jeep says this is the first time it’s been able to offer factory-installed accessories in Europe, so now our friends over there can enjoy the highly addictive experience of ticking off boxes to customize a Wrangler.

One thing the Euro Rubicon gets that we can’t, which might make American Jeepers a little jealous, is the 2.8-liter CRD diesel engine. That’s a VM Motori unit, similar to what was available over here in the Jeep Liberty for a hot minute. Euro Jeeps have used variants of this engine for years. If you want an off-road diesel comparable to the Euro Rubicon, you either have to move to the Euro Zone or buy a new Chevy Colorado ZR2 – which we just drove, by the way.

No word on how much the Mopar One Package will set buyers back. It’s likely that this is also just a beachhead for more factory customs from Mopar, not just in the Jeep world. It’ll be interesting to see how Europe responds.

[Source: Autoblog]

Here’s our first look at the next-gen Jeep Wrangler interior

wrangler-interior-001-1.jpg

After 10 years on the road, the current Jeep Wrangler JK is finally being put out to pasture. As expected, the new Wrangler is going to look a hell of a lot like the current model. Surprise, surprise. Until now, all we’ve been able to do is glimpse the occasional spy shot or well-done rendering. Our spy photographers finally managed to capture photos of the much-needed update to the interior.

Like the exterior, the new interior isn’t a huge departure. The overall design, unsurprisingly, is a mix of Jeep Renegade and outgoing Wrangler. All the switches and knobs are still on the center stack, necessary when the doors aren’t permanently attached. There are four auxiliary buttons in the bottom-right corner and what looks like electronic controls for the four-wheel-drive system and detachable sway bar on the left. The materials look to be a higher quality than the one in the current model, but a full judgment will have to wait until we literally get our hands on it.

A presumably body-colored panel runs the width of the dash, with big, round vents flanking the latest version of FCA’s wonderful UConnect infotainment system. The steering wheel appears to be an even newer design than what’s currently inside Jeep products, with a large, thick rim and the usual smattering of buttons. A tight close-up shot gives us a glimpse of the removable roof, though it’s not enough to show how it works.

There isn’t much new to see on the exterior. The Wrangler’s front and rear are still heavily camouflaged, and the entire body is covered in a detail-hiding wrap. The debut is drawing ever closer, so look for a full debut sometime in the next few months.

Jeep and Ram could be spun off from FCA, says Marchionne

the-jeep-badge-appears-on-the-grille-of-a-2011-wrangler-sahara-sport-picture-id104310519.jpeg

Jeep is surely the biggest single feather left in the cap of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles portfolio. Under Sergio Marchionne’s leadership, Jeep went from fewer than 500,000 annual sales in 2008 to 1.4 million in 2016, and is on track for 2 million by 2018. Add in the brand’s legacy, status as one of the most recognizable nameplates in the world, and rabid fan base, and Jeep has extraordinary monetary value to its parent company.

Investors and analysts have certainly noticed Jeep’s inherent value. According to The Detroit Free Press, Morgan Stanley’s Adam Jonas asked FCA chief Sergio Marchionne if he would ever consider spinning Jeep and Ram, FCA’s dedicated truck brand, into a separate corporate entity, and he responded with a simple “Yes.”

Jonas estimated Jeep’s worth in January of this year at $22 billion. Ram was valued at $11.2 billion.

Marchionne has a history of spinning off brands while keeping them part of FCA’s corporate umbrella. The most noteworthy example of this value maximization was with Ferrari, which now trades on the New York Stock Exchange and rakes in $3.4 billion in annual revenue and close to $435 million in net income, reports the Free Press. Marchionne still serves as chairman and CEO of Ferrari, and Fiat heir John Elkann owns 22 percent of the Italian marque’s shares.

Even if the offloading of Jeep and Ram into a separate entity would amount to little more than a profit-driven ownership change on paper, it would be huge news to the brands’ loyal fanbases. In any case, such a move would likely take years to actually happen and probably wouldn’t mean much at all to the products that Jeep and Ram produce. In other words, Jeep fans can keep the pitchforks in the shed … for now.

[Source: Autoblog]

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk set for New York debut

trackhawk-012-copy-1.jpg

The head of Jeep confirmed Wednesday that the brand will reveal its high-powered Grand Cherokee Trackhawk in April at the New York Auto Show. “That is going to be quite a special vehicle,” Jeep boss Mike Manley said. “Very difficult for one not to smile.”

Speaking at an event at FCA US headquarters in Auburn Hills, MI, to preview the 2017 Easter Jeep Safari vehicles for Moab, he didn’t provide further details. The Trackhawk has been expected to bow in New York, and the confirmation comes after months of rumors and spy shots.

What’s under the hood? The blown 6.2-liter Hemi Hellcat from the Charger and Challenger is the overwhelmingly obvious choice. The V8 engine makes 707 horsepower in the Dodges. The most potent current Grand Cherokee, the SRT model, is rated at 475 hp. Jeep also already sells a Grand Cherokee Trailhawk for off-road adventures.

Meanwhile, Manley reiterated the next-generation Wrangler will debut by the end of the year, as expected.

The New York show is shaping up to be a blockbuster event for FCA US, which will also debut the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon on the eve of the show next month.