Jeep to release FWD, car-based vehicle.

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Apr 6, 2004.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Jeep calls on partner to help develop entry-level, front-drive model

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    By RICK KRANZ AND MARY CONNELLY | Automotive News
    (08:49 April 05, 2004)

    DETROIT -- The Chrysler group is developing a Jeep model from a front-drive platform, a bold departure for a brand that specializes in rugged off-roaders.

    Two industry sources say the new Jeep will be based on a small, fwd platform co-developed with one of Chrysler's alliance partners. One source says the partner is Mitsubishi.

    The vehicle will be positioned as an inexpensive, entry-level SUV positioned below the Liberty. The vehicle is expected to offer four- or all-wheel drive.

    Chrysler officials say the lineup will stay true to Jeep's robust brand image.

    But the new vehicle represents a significant change for Jeep, a brand that has relied on dedicated 4wd platforms and assembly plants. Besides being built on a front-wheel-drive platform, the vehicle almost certainly will be assembled in a plant that also produces non-Jeep vehicles.

    "Is there a chance that one of our alliance partners could use this same platform that we would use for one of the Jeeps? Absolutely," says a Chrysler source familiar with the project who asked not to be identified.

    Mitsubishi and the Chrysler group are co-developing a fwd platform for a wide range of vehicles. The unnamed Jeep vehicle is expected to debut in 2006 or early 2007. "Final decisions have not been made on that," says the Chrysler source.

    The vehicle is part of a plan to expand the Jeep line from three to at least five nameplates by early 2007, a source says.

    The two-door Compass, a small, entry-level concept that debuted at the 2002 Detroit auto show, signals the styling direction for the new nameplate, an industry source says.

    Some Jeep loyalists at the company believe creating Jeeps off shared platforms will erode its brand image. But Chrysler group CEO Dieter Zetsche has said Jeep can share parts, electrical systems, powertrains and portions of vehicle platforms, yet maintain its distinct identity.

    Such sharing saves development time and money.

    If a Jeep vehicle meets or surpasses a buyer's expectations, "nobody cares what's underneath," Zetsche says.

    At a press event last month in Texas, Jeff Bell, Jeep's vice president for marketing, said, "You can take any type of platform" to create a Jeep. But Jeep characteristics, such as ground clearance and a tight turning circle, must be engineered into the platform from the beginning.

    The exterior styling also must be true to the brand, he said.

    Bell did not acknowledge the development of the new Jeep. But he did say that if Jeep shared a fwd platform used for cars, "it will be pretty unique. It is not going to be a car. It would be a Jeep 4x4."

    Jeep will move into new territory, offering models that are less rugged than current entries.

    The strategy will test Jeep's ability to retain the loyalty of die-hard off-roaders.


    "It is such a well-accepted brand that you can take it in different directions without losing the heartbeat of it," says Ron Jelling, chairman of the Chrysler Jeep National Dealer Council and owner of Chrysler of Paramus in Paramus, N.J.

    Jeep needs to expand its lineup because it has not kept pace with the SUV explosion in recent years.

    In 1995, Jeep held a strong 24.3 percent of the SUV market in the United States excluding sport wagons. Last year, its share was 14.8 percent.

    Historically, Jeeps have been capable of traversing the Rubicon Trail, an off-road route in California. But not all future Jeeps will be required to meet that rigorous standard.

    Instead, the company will require that existing nameplates - including the Wrangler, Liberty and Grand Cherokee - retain their performance capabilities.

    The new breed of Jeeps will be less rugged than current vehicles. But to safeguard the brand's image, the company is mandating that the new Jeeps be the most capable vehicles in the segments in which they compete, including in off-road capability.


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  2. TankRizzo

    TankRizzo Sensational Moderator Super Moderator

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    I think this---> :eek4: sums up this thread quite nicely :)
     
  3. muya

    muya Patiently waiting.

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    its a sad day in jeep country
     
  4. twinturboteddy

    twinturboteddy Bling Bling!

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    what the ghey
     
  5. KDubb

    KDubb everyday I'm hustlin'

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    : porsche :

    but backwards :o
     
  6. Tk

    Tk Well-Known Member

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    no, please god no
     
  7. iZero

    iZero Guest

    Who cares.
     
  8. Glennhuricane

    Glennhuricane New Member

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    to many words
     
  9. KDubb

    KDubb everyday I'm hustlin'

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  10. nitro

    nitro Guest

  11. Dr. Woo

    Dr. Woo Guns don't kill people

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  12. mucky

    mucky .

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    IBJeepCrew = :wtc:
     
  13. Rob

    Rob OT Supporter

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    You ever see the Jeeps that they test on the Rubicon? They are all beat to hell when they are done.

    They get strapped over everything. :o
     
  14. cbremer

    cbremer OT Supporter

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  15. jestre

    jestre New Member

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    yah...:sadwavey:
     
  16. cbremer

    cbremer OT Supporter

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    i just can't picture someone thinking "well, i'm in the market for a 2-door coupe. HEY! I'll go look at Jeeps!" :ugh:


    i honestly don't get it :sad2:
     
  17. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    :bowrofl:
     
  18. BlazinBlazer Guy

    BlazinBlazer Guy Witness to The De-Evolution of Mankind.

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    what's their ad slogan, something saying "If it's not trail rated, it's not a Jeep"

    well I doubt this will be trail rated...... therefore it != Jeep.
     
  19. Tony Stark

    Tony Stark John McCain has an illegitimate mexican baby

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    isn't the neon their FWD based car
     
  20. mucky

    mucky .

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    Trail Rated = overrated to begin with anyways.
     
  21. iZero

    iZero Guest

    This is the only Jeep I'd ever consider.
     
  22. troutie

    troutie New Member

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    hope that we'll never see an IFS/IRS Wrangler? :x:
     
  23. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    :wtc:
     
  24. iZero

    iZero Guest

    Jeeps have been about image more than anything else for decades now anyway. It's nice to see them trying to develop a vehicle which can take an on-ramp without ending up on its roof. You know, because that's really where people drive their "Trail-Rated" piles of shit.
     
  25. DetR6oit

    DetR6oit New Member

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    Thier standards for trail rated are about as low as it gets even now.
     

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