Some of the biggest news to come out of Toledo, Ohio over the past couple of months actually came out of France, during the Paris Auto Show. First, we saw and heard of the diesel Wrangler concept at its unveiling, packing a stout 2.8L inline-six under the hood.
Dubbed the “Rubicon Stealth,” the seven-slot surprise was equipped with a turbocharger, and was reported to generate 200 horsepower and 339 pound-feet of torque. Europeans may well already be familiar with diesel-powered JKs, but to us deprived Americans, it’s just out of reach.
Now comes news that Jeep is looking to possibly invest in a new full-size SUV, and do so as early as late 2015 for a 2016 model. It started with the automaker’s own CEO, Mike Manley, who expressed his desire to have the vehicle become a halo model for the Jeep brand, likely competing with luxury SUVs like the Range Rover and Toyota Land Cruiser.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne echoed similar sentiments during press briefings at the show, commenting that the new model could be a revival of the Grand Wagoneer nameplate, an idea that’s been at the back of his mind since 2011. “I’ve always talked about Grand Wagoneer and that for me is a big focus and it will fill out the [Jeep] brand at the top end,” said Marchionne. “Obviously, I have intimate knowledge of what it is and I think that vehicle could very, very effectively compete with premium SUVs.”
Jeep has sold over a million vehicles this year already, and with the goal to double that figure by 2018, it is believed by Manley that such growth will come from market penetration in areas like South America, as well as manufacturing vehicles that make sense while living up to the Jeep legacy.
With what we know about the Renegade and concept vehicles on the radar, what direction do you think Jeep is heading in? Will we one day see a return of the Scrambler or Comanche pickups? Offer us your two cents in a comment below.