By on May 13, 2014

2014 Jeep Wrangler

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne may be watching Ford experiment aluminium-bodied pickups from afar, but as far as the 2018 Jeep Wrangler is concerned, the lightweight metal may wind up on the iconic vehicle before the Ram 1500 considers taking the plunge.

Automotive News reports Jeep’s engineers and designers are already at work finalizing design work for the next-gen Wrangler, set to enter production in 2017. Based on recent job postings, the brand as an eye on dropping weight for the vehicle as part of its plan to meet ever-tightening CAFE goals. The current Wrangler holds an average of 17 city/21 highway while weighing anywhere from 3,785 to 4,340 pounds depending on trim, while the new Cherokee 4×4 — based on a lighter foundation — pulls 19 city/25 highway at a weight of 4,044 pounds.

Other key components of the plan on the table include an eight-speed automatic and an expanded lineup of fuel-efficient gasoline and diesel powerplants.

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117 Comments on “Marchionne: Aluminium Better Used In Wrangler Over Ram 1500...”


  • avatar

    May I suggest aluminum live axles.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Considering how many smiling front axles I’ve seen that were made out of iron, that should work out beautifully.

      • 0 avatar
        cgjeep

        WJ’s with a v8 had aluminum axles in rear, well aluminum housing anyway. Dana 44A. And yes they break.

        • 0 avatar

          cgjeep would you prefer IFS?

        • 0 avatar
          mikeg216

          Dana 44a was only on the 96-98 orvis and 98 limited only the pumpkin is aluminum,same as on the dodge viper. Is it a weak point? Not if don’t abuse it. Also zj only with the 318 and 360 only with the towing and rear locker.again 96-98 orvis or 5.9 limited only so about 7500 tops

          • 0 avatar
            cgjeep

            Not so. On 99-04 WJ with 4.7. I have one. For towing they are fine, but no one buys a Wrangler to tow with, for off road use the really need to be trussed (at least on WJ) or they break.

            Crazycar, nope I would cringe if there was a IFS on a Wrangler. Xterra has Aluminum IFS and common to break those off road, but only if you bash it into something (common off road)

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Maybe that’s why old Series Land Rovers have gone up in price: Jeep engineers are trying to figure out how to put aluminum (aka aluminium) panels on a steel frame.

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    Dear Stronzetto Marchionne ;

    Signor . How about first focusing on fixing the multiple safety – reliability and maintenance issues that have plagued each and every JEEP Wrangler for the last 30 years ..

    … and then consider such Down the Rabbit Hole pretense strategies such as aluminum bodies etc [ which btw only serve to increase manufacturing as well as repair costs when damage is incurred ]

    I understand what I’m asking for here is a bit difficult [ a bit of common sense as well as concern for the consumer ] for one suffering from delusions of grandeur such as yourself to do Stronzetto .

    But at least take it under consideration . Because Stronzetto . Here’s a clue . If it were not for all the woes befalling the JEEP Wrangler [ and especially the JK } I’d of spent my money locally [ US made product ] rather than sending it overseas … and not into your [ FCA] pocket I might add

    Ciao

    • 0 avatar
      anti121hero

      It’s a jeep. Not a volvo. What do you expect when you buy a car with removable doors and roof.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      “reliability and maintenance issues that have plagued each and every JEEP Wrangler for the last 30 years”

      I’ve got a buddy with a 500,000 mile YJ who would disagree with you.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        Your buddy is either ;

        A) A bold faced liar
        B) A true believer who would not dare speak ill of his much venerated and worshipped JEEP
        C) Suffering from the longest case on record [ probably terminal by now ] of PDVS [ post decision validation syndrome ]
        D) Is the very rare exception to the rule
        E) Is too ashamed to tell the truth about his JEEP ownership experience

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Good to know about my buddy. I’ve known him since the Jeep was new, and never realized that he was lying to me. I’ll bet he rolls the odometer forward!

          Heck, I’ve even helped him swap an alternator with a basic set of hand tools in 20 minutes. I guess other, easier to maintain cars take 10 minutes and a bottle cap opener. Shame on Jeep for making such a complicated machine that requires a socket set and a few wrenches to maintain.

    • 0 avatar
      Car Ramrod

      Yeah…gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there. At least in FL, we are crawling with YJ and TJ Wranglers, all of which are now 8 to 27 years old. We have a 92 Wrangler in my family that runs perfectly despite years of neglect. There just isn’t much to these things that can go wrong. I can’t vouch for the current generation mall-crawlers, but I doubt most of them go anywhere that a tow truck can’t easily retrieve them.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        Just because they’re old … doesn’t make them reliable . That just means the owners are stubborn or foolish enough to spend the time and money keeping them running . And seriously CR … just how much strain does driving in Flat as a Pancake Florida place on any car ? Never mind a 2wd JEEP [ which the majority of Wranglers in FLA are ]

        Try coming up my way and asking around as to how reliable ANY Wrangler built in the last 30 years really is .. despite their owners keeping them year after year …. repair after repair … etc .

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Exactly where is “here” gtrs?

          As I stated earlier, I’ve taken my ’08 bone stock through Rousch Creek and have 50K miles on it now. Other than the brakes, no mechanical difficulties.

          • 0 avatar
            gtrslngr

            Colorado … and don’t even go there Volpine . Your JEEP experience may be one of the very rare exceptions .. but its hardly anywheres near the Rule .

            One mans experience never equaling the Truth .

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Neat! I lived in Aurora for a few years and did a lot of off-roading up in the mountains–with a 2WD Mitsubishi pickup and a 4WD Mitsubishi off-roader designed to compete with the Jeep. (An abysmal failure because of its too-flimsy unibody design.) In dry weather that little pickup went almost everywhere. Of course, I had about 300 pounds of steel rail mounted in the bed to give me some rear-end traction, too.

        • 0 avatar
          Car Ramrod

          Every CJ, YJ, and TJ is 4wd, and surprisingly, the take rate on 4WD JK’s seems high here too. I think the obvious context is lost on you– yes, I live in Florida where everything ages slower and nothing rusts, but relatively speaking there are a lot of Wranglers per capita.

          Part of this is probably because any rust-free example that runs is worth at least $3000, but this is also true of other some other vehicles in that age range (some of which are crap, for example the W210). Wranglers are cheap to fix, and have less to break. Hell, I can work on ours and I am pretty much helpless with even basic tools. In 20 years of ownership it has never failed to start and run.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      The JK is unreliable, but older Jeeps are not.

      The “reliability” problems with TJ, YJ, and CJ are related to one issue: People damaging the powertrain by over-reving the old AMC tractor engines. The Jeep I-6 didn’t get idiot-proofed until the 242 variant in the early-2000s, but owners still broke their automatic gearboxes.

      If you accept that Jeeps are slow, they will run forever.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “The JK is unreliable, but older Jeeps are not.” — That seems to depend. While I will acknowledge that at 50,000 miles I’ve had to replace all my brake hoses due to Daimler’s cheaping out on them, my ’08 runs just about as well now as it did new–and yes, I’ve taken it bone-stock through Rousch Creek off-road park in Pennsylvania. Every JK owner I know loves it for what it can do in even the worst weather conditions. In fact, you might like to know about how a JK saved lives in Moore, OK last year after itself being totaled by the tornado. It not only ran, but helped to drag debris away from people trapped in their basements after the storm.

        Oh, its name? “Stomper”. Look it up.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I thought the big reliability issue with the JK was its 3.7 V6, which has a habit of oil problems much like its one liter smaller brother.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            If you mean by sipping through the oil as it runs, I might acknowledge that–barely. I change oil every 5,000 miles and usually have to add a quart or two between services–but then, if you remember the old 318c.i.d. V8 (a great engine) you never could keep that top quart in it no matter how hard you tried. With my own (running on the ‘minivan’ engine) I put a part of the blame on using such a thin oil in the first place–5w20 vs 10w30 I used in all my previous vehicles. Still, using a synthetic blend I put over 150,000 miles on a 3.8 V6 Camaro in a mere 6 years and 130,000 in a 2.4L l-4 Saturn Vue in less than 10 years (yes, my driving needs scaled back drastically once I didn’t have to commute 120 miles every day.) So far I have over 50K miles on this engine with no mechanical breakdowns, though I’ve upped my octane to 89/90 to get a little better performance and economy. I’ve gained about 10% gas mileage and the engine runs more smoothly just with the octane change.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            While gtrslngr certainly comes across as a troll, discarding having to replace brake hoses on a 6 year old vehicle with only 50k miles and burning through “a quart or two” of oil at such a low mileage sounds pretty bad IMO. The 3.4 v6 in my 18 year old 4Runner with 106k miles burns exactly zero 5w-30 in 5k miles, dipstick never leaves full.

            I do find the new wrangler unlimiteds rather tempting, hopefully they sorted out the valvetrain issues with the pentastar by now. Can’t argue with BOF and solid axles front and rear!

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            @gtemnykh: Keep in mind that I pointed out a V8 engine that you could NEVER keep the top quart in–it didn’t burn it as far as anyone could figure out, but it always lost it somehow. As for “burning through” that quart or so of oil in my current Jeep, I honestly don’t think it would pass state emissions tests if it was burning the oil–every time I take it through, the emissions numbers come out 0… as in no emissions whatsoever. However, with oil that thin it could be draining through before the block heats up–a few drops at a time.

            Then again, I was trained a long time ago to do as much of my own service as I am able and to be quite blunt I’ve had other cars go through a LOT more oil than a mere quart or so between changes. Maybe if I bothered to ‘blueprint’ my existing engine I could stop it, but why bother? The cost of the blueprint vastly exceeds any amount of money saved in efficiency. Besides, I’m seeing a coming possibility to drop one of several different engines under that hood which would make the matter quite moot.

            As for the ‘tempting’, I’d suggest you buy in pretty soon if you want one of the current generation; rumor has it the next generation will lose the things you like most about it.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        … and rear axel assemblies falling off – CarBQ issues – transmission failures – electronic failures – excess rust in critical structural areas which JEEP will not warranty … and on and on and on ..

        ad infinitum

        See … unlike you and most others here … I did my research before laying my hard earned cash on the table . You’d be wise to do the same .

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      @gtrslngr Don’t you own a GLK350? Have you taken a look at Mercedes reliability?

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        Yes I do … and Yeah I have . Obviously you have not ! The Wrangler constantly jostling with Land/Range Rover for least reliable car sold in the US . With JEEP in general battling for the bottom of the heap award with JLR overall

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          http://www.truedelta.com/SUV/reliability-B7

          TrueDelta doesn’t seem to agree.

          (Consumer Reports’ “reliability” numbers have never been very convincing – and I say this as someone who isn’t a Jeep Fanboy, and *loves* Daimler Benz, at least in principle*.

          * The current design language does little for me, though.)

          • 0 avatar
            gtrslngr

            TrueDelta is delusional . End of story . Do the research and you’ll know why I say that .

            FYI ; CR is even worse

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      There’s one thing about using aluminum panels on a Jeep Wrangler over the typical pickup truck–when you consider most of those panels are absolutely flat (doors and body side), working them in a repair is remarkably easy; they can be replaced relatively cheaply rather than having to literally re-work them and the value of recycled aluminum is pretty good. However, that will also be a drawback as once the doors are removed for summertime open riding, what’s to say some unscrupulous metal thief won’t walk away with them? That’s likely to be the biggest problem for any vehicle that carries aluminum panels. If you think pickup truck tailgate thefts are band now, just WAIT until the aluminum ones come out. People will end up replacing them with steel just to slow down the thieves.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “How about first focusing on fixing the multiple safety – reliability and maintenance issues that have plagued each and every JEEP Wrangler for the last 30 years ..” — Such as?

      “… and then consider such Down the Rabbit Hole pretense strategies such as aluminum bodies etc [ which btw only serve to increase manufacturing as well as repair costs when damage is incurred ]” — flat panel aluminum is MUCH easier to replace.

      ” If it were not for all the woes befalling the JEEP Wrangler [ and especially the JK } I’d of spent my money locally [ US made product ] rather than sending it overseas …” — No, I think you would have spent it overseas anyway. And by the way, the JK is the most popular Wrangler ever built–or didn’t you know that?

    • 0 avatar
      Pinzgauer

      Couldn’t agree more, Wrangler quality is pretty poor. I bought a 14 Unlimited with the 6MT two months ago. So far its gotten a new gas tank because the old one shot gas at me when being filled, and tomorrow its probably getting a new water pump because the seals are making chirping noises. I also had to replace all of the bolts in the track bar and LCA’s because Jeep uses a bolt that is slightly too small for the hole and it eventually causes “death wobble”. On and my transmission makes a faint rattling sound in 3rd/4th gear, which is apparently very common.

      Other problems I read about on forums are head issues with the Pentastar, oil burning on the 3.8, manual transmission syncro issues and rattles, hard top leaks etc.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Ummm… right. About those complaints. BTW, I have the manual 6-speed transmission myself in an ’08. The ‘spitting gas’? It’s a recall item that affects even my older one–and simply got a new valve, not a whole new tank. Works fine–doesn’t spit.

        No water pump noise.
        And that “death wobble” complaint still doesn’t make sense to me. That has reportedly been an issue with the JK since it was first designed, and I’ve never once experienced it in mine in almost 7 years, at low speed, medium speed or even at 80mph. I’ve also never heard any kind of transmission rattle, though I admit I’m hearing some U-joint clunks when I’m at low speed. Nothing that’s affected driving and regular checks show that they’re still good.

        If you ask me, I don’t believe you own what you say you do, or you wouldn’t be complaining about it the way you are. The many negatives you’ve posted would drive a complainer like you away from ever purchasing it in the first place.

        • 0 avatar
          Pinzgauer

          You’re clearly a troll or blinded fanboy, but either way, that’s been my experience with my ’14 JKU.

          As to the issues with mine, the recall was for earlier JK’s and it replaced the filler neck. The issue with mine was the tank vent being stuck, and the STAR case recommended fuel tank replacement. No more spitting after the new tank.

          As for the water pump, that’s just poor quality from the supplier. But its quite common if you follow the forums at all.

          I don’t think anyone should accept this level of poor quality from a new car. I bought a Jeep expecting a rough off road vehicle with not so great on road characteristics but I didn’t expect it to have rather poor quality.

          If it weren’t for these problems I’d give the vehicle two thumbs up because I really do enjoy driving it – I just worry that it may not hold up long term.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            As you wish, Pinz. I’ve got 50K miles on mine and haven’t had to spend for anything except the brake issues that I pin on Daimler for using cheap hoses. FCA has gone out of their way to make sure I’m happy with it despite the fact it was out of warranty. (Brakes are not necessarily a part of the Lifetime Drivetrain Warranty.)

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Wrangler has a specific mission and makes sacrifices to achieve that mission. Its not a ‘lifestyle’ vehicle and it should not have to compromise for you or anyone else. You are free not to buy it. Since they sell everyone they make, they won’t miss you.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        “Its not a ‘lifestyle’ vehicle”

        It absolutely is a lifestyle vehicle. Every product is, to some degree, the Wrangler is just somewhat more focused.

        That said, Chrysler/DCX/FCA doesn’t have to cheap out on components just because the Wrangler buyers are buying regardless. That kind of attitude will get their lunch eaten as soon as someone else (Toyota, for example) cares to make a Wrangler that doesn’t break down.

        It’s not like there isn’t precedent: the automotive landscape is littered with the corpses of products and brands that thought their niche was secure, only to get beat out by someone who did their niche better.

        • 0 avatar
          thelaine

          I would love to see that, psarhjinian. The Xterra and the FJ just weren’t quite direct competitors. Toyota could have done much better.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Agreed that Toyota could have.

            But would it have been profitable to make a “New FJ-40″ (that is, a real Wrangler-killer Offroad Monster, not the FJ Cruiser)?

            That market, for a Jeepier-Jeep-Than-A-Jeep, is small; only the die-hard offroaders really care.

            The “Oooh, a Jeep!” market, as I understand it, wants a Jeep, not a new FJ, even if it was a superior vehicle…

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Which is why the Wrangler is the only vehicle of its type remaining in the US. Sure, you could consider its Mercedes G-type twin, but how many of those are really on the road and how many of those high-dollar Mercedes are real OFF the road–crawling trails?

          The Jeep Wrangler is pretty much a one-of-a-kind vehicle even after Ford, GM and even Chrysler tried to compete 40 years ago with the Bronco, Blazer and Ramcharger. Chrysler ended up owning that market by simply buying Jeep–or rather buying AMC to get the Jeep.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Yeah, the very idea that the Wrangler is not a “lifestyle vehicle” suggests that nickoo doesn’t understand the term.

          It’s not a “poser” vehicle, in that it really is absolutely capable offroad.

          But it’s equally absolutely a *lifestyle statement* vehicle.

          That’s something like [pure guesswork] 90% of the Wrangler’s market!

        • 0 avatar
          azmtbkr81

          I wish other manufactures would enter the off-road SUV market. If the high volume and insane transaction prices of the Wrangler haven’t been enough to convince anyone to take the plunge I don’t know what will.

          Until Jeep sees signs of a threat to their monopoly on the horizon there is zero incentive to improve.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheeljack

      If Wranglers are so unsafe, why are the insurance rates on them absurdly low? I’d rather be in one of my 2 Wranglers in an accident than just about anything else. 2 years ago a woman ran a light and hit my Jeep as I was making a left turn. All I had wrong with it was some scuffs on the aftermarket front bumper. The entire left side of her Ford Windbag minivan was destroyed.

      • 0 avatar
        luvmyv8

        That’s oddly enough true. I pay considerably less for insurance for my 2 door ’12 Wrangler Sport then my previous ’12 4Runner SR-5 with much more safety equipment…..

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Safety is best measured, IMO, by fatality and accidents per mile (usually displayed per million miles I believe).

        Rates reflect nothing more than claims history for the pool. I suspect the average wrangler doesn’t do a lot of miles, so the rate could be low for that. I suspect the rate for under 25 drivers isn’t that great though, since I suspect they do a lot damage in jeeps.

        There was a time when the Miata was a really safe car by the statistics. Haters claimed the stats were skewed by older drivers, but the fans credited superior accident avoidance. Both were likely correct, but the stat reflected reality and crash testing only attempts to predict reality.

    • 0 avatar
      luvmyv8

      Hmmmmm…… yes we all know what a POS the 4.0L I-6 is…… oh wait a second…..

      I guess some people just live pissing in other people’s Wheaties I suppose. I myself own a ’12 Wrangler Sport and have had no issues with it. Nothings fallen off. Nothings caught fire. Nothings grenaded. While not the most refined vehicle I’ve owned, it is one of the most enjoyable; I enjoy it as much as my ’06 Mustang GT I owned a few years back.

      When I bought it, I knew I wasn’t getting the ultimate in luxury, comfort, economy ect…… I was getting something that could get me anywhere I needed to go. Something that I could use as a mobile tripod for my cameras, something versatile (a Jeep is stupid easy to park) Something that the top came off, plus something that I could make my own.

      I’m no Chrysler homer. My family previously owned a ’99 Chrysler Concorde and it was easily hands down the worst car my family’s ever owned. However I didn’t let that preclude a Jeep and I’m glad I did. I’m happy with mine, I couldn’t care less what others think of it, but like others have noted, you see plenty of YJ’s, TJ’s and JK’s around…. especially in San Diego, you even still see CJ’s around. I love my JK, but I still wouldn’t mind having a CJ Renegade or Golden Eagle or a Jurassic Park Jeep replica.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    He’d better get his priorities straight. The Ram pickup is still his greatest asset. A new generation of Rams needs to be in the works. All aluminum preferably. Everything else, including all Fiats, can be put in a holding pattern. For all we know, the Wrangler is a loss-leader. And Jeep traditionalists hate change.

    The Ram pickup is FCA’s #1 generator of cash. And still the #3 most profitable car in the world.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      I’m sure the next gen Ram is already in the works. Probably wise to take a wait and see approach with the F150 before committing to aluminum though. With the wrangler they are basically in a class of their own so they can be a little riskier.

      • 0 avatar
        Viquitor

        Indeed they can. My guess is, they’ll learn with the Wrangler and go the aluminum way with the Ram with the generation that will come after the next one. That’s the wise thing to do. FCA can’t afford to fail on the Ram.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “For all we know, the Wrangler is a loss-leader.” — Very poor powers of observation, Mike. While the TJ and earlier Wranglers/CJs were modestly popular, the JK model has blown through the roof! Jeep as a brand almost rivals Ram as a brand in total sales with the JK Wrangler and the Grand Cherokee currently their top two sellers with the Cherokee itself making a strong showing as well. All you have to do is drive down the street to see how many Wranglers are out there. All you have to do is look into any parking lot to see Wranglers are out there. And in western states like Colorado, Utah, Nevada, etc. all you have to do is look at the trails to see Wranglers are out there. Wranglers, by the way, costing anywhere between $25K to $35K BEFORE modding.

    • 0 avatar
      mikeg216

      I don’t think you know what loss leader means,im willing to bet that the profit margin on a jeep is in excess of 65% its only seen 5 revisions in its whole entire history. You can option a jeep to 45k or more…thats grand Cherokee territory. I doubt its got more than 15k into it I

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Denver|Mike makes a lot of absolute statements like that–based on little to no verifiable data.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        What we know is the Wrangler sold 15+K units last month. That puts it between the Ridgeline and Frontier. I mean the Wrangler is a “mid-size truck”, for all intents and purposes. As expensive to build, if not more. It might be profitable, it might not be. OEMs sure do report when models are crazy profitable thought. For comparison, Ram sold 134K trucks last month. So where would YOUR priorities be?

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          No, DM; the Wrangler is clearly labeled as a truck-based SUV by nearly all agencies that count–including insurance agencies.

          And can you by any chance link us to the references you use to make those statements? Based on one of your incorrect numbers (verified incorrect right at PickupTrucks dot com) and your unverified Wrangler number, the Wranglers alone sold almost half as many as all RAMS put together in April. Meanwhile, Jeep as a whole sold more vehicles than Ram as a whole–by 20,000 vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine – What does it matter what it’s labeled? It doesn’t change a thing.

            Regardless of what you gut feeling tells you, 15,389 Wranglers sold in April, 2014

            And 133,580 Ram trucks sold in the same time period.

            goodcarbadcar.net/2014/05/usa-best-selling-suv-crossovers-april-2014-sales-figures.html

            news.pickuptrucks.com/2014/05/best-selling-pickup-trucks-april-2014.html

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine – OK, I read my own link wrong. Calm down, you win the internets, alright? This time. But you miss my greater point.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Aye, DM, you did read it wrong–drastically wrong. Wrong enough to totally change your argument.

            Yes, 15,389 Wranglers sold in April. Barely 7,000 Honda Ridgeline and Nissan Frontiers combined sold in April. That means that the Wrangler alone sold twice as many vehicles as those two mid-sized trucks as a whole and more even than the Toyota Tacoma all by itself! By those numbers, the Wrangler hardly qualifies as a “loss leader”.

            Oh, and only 36.674 Ram trucks sold in the same time period, NOT the YTD number of 133,580. The Wrangler sold almost as many as GMC Sierras at 17,246 units in April.

            Now, with your link to goodcarbadcar dot net, you might note that Jeep takes three of the top ten spots in SUV sales with a combined total of 46,048 SUVs vs 43,058 total SUVs from Ford. Toyota came in third as a brand with 31,341 total SUV sales.

            As for the pickup trucks dot com link, you need to learn how to read that chart better; you repeated your mistake.

        • 0 avatar
          mikeg216

          I can walk into any dealer and they’ll slap $12,000 off on the hood just for looking at it.There are no real discounts on wrangle beside employee only pricing. The overall profit at the end of the year may favor ram over wrangler but the wrangler id far more profitable overall and the only reason fiat bought the company was to get the jeep name, everything else is gravy.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            It would take the entire Jeep brand to be nearly as profitable as the Ram truck.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            As mikeg216 just said, Denver, the reason the Ram is more profitable is that Ram, just like Ford and GM, put a HUGE profit margin on their trucks–maybe even as high as 50%, while their other vehicles carry from 5%-20% profit margin or so. (I’m thinking some of the Jeep models are challenging the Ram for profit margin lately, however.)

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Denver, one advantage of pickup trucks is FCA can make incremental changes toward aluminum if the market demands weight reduction. The bed, fenders, hood, and doors could go aluminum before the cab. However, I do agree that the Ram 1500 is their most important product.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    The price of aluminum is just going to go up and up. Better to skip it and head straight to composites. A serious off road hobbyist can learn to make composite repairs himself so it would be a popular benefit to that very vocal buyer segment.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      The price of composites would likely follow the same trend, especially as aircraft manufacturers are increasingly turning away from aluminum towards composites. Making high quality composites isn’t necessarily quick or easy.

      • 0 avatar
        gmichaelj

        “The price of composites would likely follow the same trend, especially as aircraft manufacturers are increasingly turning away from aluminum towards composites. ”

        I suppose that is true in the short term, but I think over the mid to longer term, composites might be a more controllable (from vech manf point of view) cost. Many sources of carbon, whereas mining and refining aluminium is very capital and energy intensive.

      • 0 avatar
        Landcrusher

        Composites are less susceptible to commodity costs, though they are based on a really volatile commodity. The composites needed for body work on a framed vehicle are actually very easy to make. There is likely a good reason they don’t go to composites, but I haven’t heard it. At the same time, I think the car company demand makes the airplane demand look small. Can’t the big three move the price with their demand? I would think raising aluminum output is harder than building more composite processors. I don’t really know though.

        • 0 avatar
          TW5

          @Landcrusher

          The auto industry doesn’t use carbon-reinforced plastics because the curing times are much longer than stamping times. To maintain production rates, the manufacturers would need to double or triple the budget for manufacturing structural components. Some people have argued that these costs would be offset by eliminating most of the expensive hoisting and lifting equipment required by metal components.

          For now, CFRP is limited to low-volume vehicles in segments with customers who don’t mind paying for manual labor.

          • 0 avatar
            Nicholas Weaver

            The curing time is the big deal. You don’t necessarily need hand labor, but you need a line where basically a large number of parts have to be able to bake.

            There are videos of the i3 production line: its slow as a consequence, since the CFRP is slow, everything else can be the same: all driven by robots, but not the “Stamp stamp stamp, spark spark spark” of a metal assembly line.

            There is also is a matter of getting enough of the processed material: BMW basically set up a joint venture factory to produce enough carbon fiber for the i3 and i8, and they are already looking at doubling the size.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Was it the same for other vehicles that used composites in the past? Like the Fiero? I wouldn’t think you would use much carbon in a jeep panel since it’s not structural. Modern light aircraft benefit from a mix of composites and I have seen designs where small CF or Kevlar bits were layered onto much larger panels to get most of the strength benefits, though at a weight penalty in some cases. CF is really expensive and not always the best material anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            N Weaver,
            Excellent point, but it’s been done before. Where are the Fiero lovers when you need one?

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            Fiero had composite body panels, not composite structure. It wasn’t CFRP, either

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            Okay, the Fiero was 370k over 5 years. I can’t see why the same composite wouldn’t work (e glass?).

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        It would behoove you to watch programs like, “How it’s Made”. Carbon Fiber composites are now relatively easy to make and very quick, though the manufacturing capability is still somewhat limited since the aviation industry uses most of what gets manufactured. However, the simple fact that carbon composites are showing up in production cars around the world, it’s only a matter of time.

        • 0 avatar
          NoGoYo

          I can’t wait for the day when I can buy an all carbon fiber midsize sedan that gets like 60 mpg and handles like a race car.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            NoGoYo, the Saturn SL was as close to your ideal as they come. Even with that little four-banger it ran like a raped ape.

            I bought a brand new ’96 SL2 for my daughter, 5-sp manual, AC, 15″ wheels,sunroof, rear spoiler.

            The body held up real well but after ~ four years of baking in the NM sun the clearcoat started to separate from the dark green body panels.

            It looked awful, like the car had a bad skin disease. At first just a little, but all too soon it was all over the top and partially down the sides.

            However, the drive train and other little nitnoy problems, like a blown head gasket and transmission problems, is why we traded it for a 2000 Corolla.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Vulpine, “How It’s Made”; I wish I had more time to watch TV. That is such an interesting program, at least on the occasions I got a glimpse of it.

          Given a choice, I would opt for carbon fiber composites over aluminum.

          My experience with maintaining the skin of the AC47 I was a crew member of in 1967 only showed me what a pain in the @ss aluminum is to work with and repair.

          I would not like to see it on cars and trucks, although I realize that it is the way of the future because the aircraft industry is using less and less of it now that cfc (carbon fiber composites) have proven to be better, lighter and more durable than aluminum.

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            AC47! How were the mini guns to maintain? How ridiculously loud was it in there when you let things rip?

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You have to remember that aircraft also tend to encounter much greater stresses than the typical off-roader, too. That DC-3/C-47 was a very reliable workhorse, your own example showing that it had been flying more than 20 years when you worked on it. Keep in mind that those radial engines also meant for constant vibration throughout the airframe during flight–at levels far higher than a typical Jeep would experience on the road or off.

            This isn’t to say that aluminum isn’t more brittle than steel in such circumstances–obviously it is–but at the same time it carried the same load as steel, at less than half the weight. Having myself worked on more recent aircraft ( Gulfstream G4, for example ) shows that the honeycomb panels were remarkably strong, able to carry heavy loads yet still weighing a fraction that of a sheet of steel carrying that same load while remaining far more rigid.

            The use of aluminum really depends on where it’s used and how it’s designed for the purpose. Sure, an aluminum bed floor in a pickup would be extremely light, but because aluminum itself is so soft it would scar and penetrate pretty easily. On the other hand, putting a thick composite or even simple plastic layer on top of the aluminum could still be lighter than the steel and eliminate rust as we know it. Body panels will have similar issues with taking dents in parking-lot encounters unless they’re coated with something to absorb and minimize the impact to the aluminum itself. We’ll just have to wait and see.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            Spooky!

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Landcrusher, we had a variety of weaponry we used and tried during my 9 months with the experimental unit at Tan Son Nhut.

            I had two stripes back then so my duties consisted of the crapwork nobody else did, and some of their work as well, like carrying ammo, cleaning and oiling the weapons, inspecting the hide of the bird, fixing combat damage, etc etc etc. Whatever I was told to do, I did.

            It kept us all busy. Like a full-time job. We didn’t have any slackers. Even the three Commissioned officers pitched in, mostly with sighting adjustments and airframe inspection and damage repair.

            The noise in flight was bad enough but when the guns were firing it was deafening. Plus it was always dark because we flew at night.

            We each wore a headset with ear protection that was connected to the intercom, so the actual noise was muted.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Vulpine, I agree that we’ll have to wait and see.

            But aluminum and various aluminum alloys are already used extensively on cars. The first time I crawled under my wife’s 2012 Grand Cherokee I noticed that.

            Still, at this point, I’m not a fan of aluminum body panels. Audi tried it a long time ago and I didn’t hear or read anyone raving about it, then, either.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            At the same time, HDC, how many people bemoaned those aluminum body panels on those Audis? Not arguing in this case, just wondering. Considering how few even seem aware of the attempt, are they back to steel, or did they keep the aluminum until they started using composites?

          • 0 avatar
            Landcrusher

            HDC,
            Our vulcans were a bit fiddly to maintain, but awesome to fire. We used the same hearing combo, but we were outside and it was loud so I always suspected you guys would just be getting hammered.

            Glad you weren’t part of the combat damage. :)

        • 0 avatar
          gmichaelj

          @Nicholas Weaver: I’m not a operations mgt guy, but if ‘curing’ is a bottleneck, couldn’t the bottleneck be relieved with say 10 vacuum or 10 ovens along each line at the bottleneck point?

          Editors: can your IT dept not figure out how to get the Reply button in on each post? What kind of low budget tech have you got here? I’ll bet even GM could solve this problem :)

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I think the ‘reply button’ issue has to do with how many levels of sub-discussion their software can handle. I think right now they only allow four or five levels of nested conversation.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            It also has something to do with the text not wrapping on the further-down replies. More than once, words or parts of words have been lost.

            EDIT: Actually, that seems to have been fixed.

          • 0 avatar
            Nicholas Weaver

            Yes but… (Again, I’m not an operations guy either…)

            It does take up a lot of space. If you’ve seen video of Ford Deerborne’s stamping operation, it really is “boom, boom, boom”: It can do about 1 door panel every few seconds. Lets ballpark it at 10/minute.

            If a CFRP part has to cure in mold for “just” an hour, you’d need 600 sets of molds to match the same throughput as a stamping line.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      How about steel mesh like a screen embedded in plywood for body panels? That has to be cheaper!

    • 0 avatar
      nickoo

      Going up thanks to Goldman Sachs distorting the market holding al for years in warehouses. Isn’t deregulated commodities trading wonderful?

  • avatar
    thegamper

    Its difficult to say the effect of extensive use of aluminum will have on truck sales. GM and Ram might just get a sales bump from folks not wanting an aluminum pickup for longevity/durability reasons.

    Then again, I do believe that reality would support the fact that the vast majority of truck owners use their trucks for “extremely light duty” or “no duty/commuting” and thus would probably appreciate the increased fuel economy. That leaves HD trucks with steel frames to satisfy the people who actually need/use trucks for their intended purpose.

    Just like the way SUV’s have basically become extinct in favor of crossovers, the volume Pickup trucks as we know them will likely morph in to something softer that more closely resembles how the majority of them are used in order to meet future fuel economy mandates.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Its difficult to say the effect of extensive use of aluminum will have on truck sales.”

      The net effect will rely heavily on how the benefits of using the material manifest themselves versus the drawbacks. The average buyer won’t care much if at all what their truck is made out of, but they will care how it performs.

      Will the fuel economy of the aluminum Ford be significantly better than other trucks giving them a significant advtantage that directly translates into sales?

      If it is only marginally better, will it be enough for customers to notice and defect to Ford or re-up for the new model?

      Will Ford be able to amortize the increased costs of the material without raising prices (too much?)

      Have durability concerns been sufficiently addressed as to not create new quality problems?

      How will the secondary effects of the aluminum usage affect customer buying patterns? ie. How much will insurance costs increase on the Al F-150 vs. the previous model? Will customers notice and care?

      These are just some of the issues that Ford would have considered, but exactly how they pan out IRL remains to be seen. From a business standpoint, these are all tremendous risks that need to be evaluated. Surely Ford has, but the amount of marketing they’re putting behind it indicates they have a strong need to sell it as a value added feature worthy of additional expenditure in the minds of customers.

      FCA is probably right to wait out Al with the Ram 1500 and explore other ways to keep it competitive for now. Failure in one of the areas above could hurt them badly.

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    the head of fiat does not know much about how basic alumunium cracks and does not bend like steel when offroading.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      I think he’s talking about aluminum body panels, not frames. Land Rover has been using aluminium (British spelling) panels since the 1940s, so the off-road performance is well known.

      • 0 avatar
        gtrslngr

        Yes … you’re right . The off road capabilities of aluminum body panels is well known due to Land/Range Rovers extensive use of it … not that most Land/Range Rovers are used extensively off road mind you . But be that as it may … hey … lets have a peak ;

        1)Body panels dent and buckle with the smallest of impact
        2)As well as having been know to fall off when hit relatively hard at the right angle
        3) The body work and paint costs to repair said panels verges on highway robbery [ due to the difficulty of working/welding/painting aluminum ]
        4) Even leaning against an L/Rs body can cause it to buckle or in worst cases collapse
        5) Though technically aluminum does not rust … it does corrode severely when exposed to the elements along with the corrosion that is created by the interactions of aluminum with other metals [ unavoidable in a vehicles construction ]

        etc etc etc

        So with that quick look … aren’t you impressed as to how appropriate the use of aluminum is in an off road capable car ?

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Not really–because we don’t yet know how Marccione intends to do it. We’re all making assumptions based on little to no real data. As usual.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      … and you do? How?

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    There sure is a lot of British spelling going on here at TTAC. I thought Teddy Roosevelt banished that from American shores a century ago.

    Anyway, mixing metals is a known cause of premature corrosion, so look for the places where aluminum joins to steel as future problem areas. Composites make a lot more sense, if used in non-load-bearing areas.

    I’m more than a little concerned about the more fuel-efficient power plants. Fiat’s expertise is in transversely mounted high-revving eggbeater engines, whereas Jeep owners value off-road low end torque. The longitudinal long stroke inline sixes were better for torque and were easier to work on.

    I can’t escape the feeling that Fiat is going to turn Jeeps into flimsy, underpowered, fast rusting pseudo-Pandas more suited to competing with on-road AWD cars like the Subaru than off-road capable Jeeps. The Jeep brand has been a bad luck omen for its past owners but kept chugging along. It’s possible we’ll see Jeep kill Fiat and Fiat kill Jeep simultaneously.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “Composites make a lot more sense, if used in non-load-bearing areas.” Why not ‘load bearing areas’? It seems they do pretty well on aircraft, where they support the entire weight of the plane in flight.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      If Jeep is ruined, CAFE will be the culprit. However, CAFE is not stringent enough, at the moment, to excuse the Cherokee KL, which is a shameless profit-take.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      “Anyway, mixing metals is a known cause of premature corrosion, so look for the places where aluminum joins to steel as future problem areas”

      I just snapped two steel bolts that attached my alternator to my oil filter housing for this very reason.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      “Anyway, mixing metals is a known cause of premature corrosion, so look for the places where aluminum joins to steel as future problem areas”.

      Being a former body guy, and a former Ford guy (Ford has extensively used Al body panels for 2 decades now with mixed results), this is a point of interest to me. Galvantic corrosion between aluminum and steel is a major concern. Aluminum is more reactive than steel and thus has a greater corrosion potential, especially in the presence of an electrolyte like water and road salt. While bare Al tends to form an aluminum oxide layer that protects the material beneath, once that layer is disturbed further corrosion happens quickly.

      I’ve read about some of the proprietary coatings, treatments and bonding processes to be used on F150 panels which are reassuring, but we’ll see how it pans out in service.

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    So aluminum body steel frame and axles and the 3.6 mated to a zf 8 or 9 speed? Put a small bed on the back made out of plastic like the ridgeline and let it tow 3 tons and you can have my money now.

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    Off-topic, but Cameron, what’s the story with the “Are you ready for…” tag? Is that an Electric Six reference?

  • avatar
    zerofoo

    OK – since we are going with wild speculation I predict:

    1. The body on frame will go away in 2017 – the next Wrangler will have a unitized aluminum tub and will keep its solid axles. (I remember reading recently that solid axles will remain for 2017).

    2. The folding windshield is gone – the new one will have a steeper rake for better fuel economy.

    3. The 8-speed ZF licensed unit will be used – the old 5 speed is gone.

    4. The 2.4 Tigershark will be the base engine, a Pentastar V6 will be a step up, and a 4-cylinder diesel will also be offered.

    5. Removable roof and doors will remain.

    Remember…..this is all just wild a$$ speculation on my part.

    • 0 avatar
      gtrslngr

      Oh dear . Wanna hear the truth about Marchionnes real plans for the Wranglers future ? Errr …. I dunno … maybe this might be too hard to take . Could even cause a coronary or two . Maybe a nervous breakdown as well .

      But … errr … here it is … straight from the Horses @$& … I mean mouth . Marchionne that is . In several interviews with the Italian automotive press . Errr …. ready ?

      Know the FIAT 500L ? Know the Suzuki SX4 platform its based on ?

      That …. is Marchionnes planned future for the next JEEP Wrangler .

      ERT is standing by …. just in case

      Ecco ! Enough Stronzetto for the next three months … never mind today

      Basta !

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        So you’re saying the Jeep Wrangler will be the Jeep Renegade, right? The Renegade is on the same platform as the 500L/SX4 platform. Now, why would the Wrangler go into such direct competition with another BRAND NEW stablemate? You may be right, but… It’s not logical. I expect the Wrangler will keep much of its size, which means it CAN’T be a direct offshoot of the platform you describe. Related maybe. A scaled-up version, maybe. but the SAME platform? Not likely.

        They could maybe downsize it a bit to the old TJ proportions without hurting it too much, though. Sure would help trim some weight off of it.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    With a smallish footprint the Wrangler is the better out of itself and the Ram for some weight reduction.

    CAFE you have to love it!

    I can see the Wrangler increasing in price considerably.

    I just hope the manufacturers aren’t over estimating the allure of the adaptation of aluminium.

    Will they exceed what could be deemed as a tolerable price for the Wrangler, F-150, and Silverado??

    I wouldn’t pay more for a Wrangler than what they currently are selling for if they were made of aluminium.

    You’d expect quality.

  • avatar
    fishiftstick

    Aluminum prices may fluctuate as demand ramps up, but there is lots of bauxite in the ground, not to mention recycling. If demand increases so will production, and then prices will return to normal.
    I’d be more worried about the price of gas. Buyers of big trucks and SUVs are moved by fuel prices. Ford has gone to aluminum. GM is said to be planning the same. When they can claim a 3-5 mpg advantage over Dodge or Ram or whatever Fiat decides to call its truck division, the decision to stick with steel will hurt sales and CAFE ratings.

  • avatar
    gtrslngr

    Cheese & Rice ! Don’t any of you guys READ ? I mean .. looking over the responses to my comment one would think I was looking at a Home & Gardens or worse yet Vogue UK site ! Not a goram automotive site whos title is The Truth About Cars !

    Sometimes the overall ignorance of folks pretending to know or even wanting to know the Truth about cars simply astonishes me

    Yeah .. you betcha … buy a Wrangler … any model …. I dare you . Then just hope it doesn’t either die on you – kill you – become a CarBQ – the rear axel doesn’t fall off – the tranny doesn’t give up the ghost despite never having been taken off road – the interior doesn’t fall apart in your lap – or worse … all while your friendly local JEEP dealer is counting the profits and laughing his/her fool head off that you were stupid enough to of bought a Wrangler

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      Just shut up.

      All cars, from all makes, fall apart toward the end of their useable life.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Yeah. He seems to think all of these things are happening to every example of Brand New vehicles. Strangely, I’ve never experienced any of the issues HE describes, though I admit to a completely different one of my own which seems to be a one-off. The transmission fires were due not to the transmissions themselves, but rather the exhaust pipe catching drips from the transmission area and to be quite honest I’ve not heard of a single rear axle falling off before he mentioned it. Death Wobble? I’ve heard of it, but never once experienced it or known anyone else who experienced it. If they were anywhere near the issue claimed, there would be a recall out on them and I’ve not received a single one involving transmission, rear end or ‘death wobble’.

        Am I a “fanboy”? No. When I no longer trust a vehicle I get rid of it. I was ready to trade off my ’08 JK over this brake issue, but FCA convinced me to give them a chance, since it was a Daimler-built model. Since I’m about to get the pickup truck size of my choice (though of a brand I personally loathe), my next new car is very likely to be a new Jeep–though which model is still open to debate.

    • 0 avatar
      Kenmore

      gtrslngr,

      You use the most wonderful drugs. I must learn what they are.

      When I’m at the end stage and the greasy blue aura of rot surrounding me keeps all and sundry away, I want to enjoy the same giddy infant’s delight at my ceaseless strings of gibberish.

      You have indeed found the fountain of youth that will make your passing merely a return to endless enchantment.

      You are Sensei.

      • 0 avatar
        luvmyv8

        Must be some of Walter White’s best obviously.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Why would you think those were good drugs? Arrogance with a false sense of superiority isn’t a high I’d want from any drug. I thought people took drugs NOT to be like that

      • 0 avatar
        isthatmybanana

        LOL Oh, you are funny! :) I agree with you. Gtrslngr is either impossibly ignorant and hateful, or a brilliant troll. What a gas. But then, I’ve come across this forum name in the past and he’s been no less angry.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Most of us don’t respond to your comments: we respond to each others comments below yours. Sure, somebody will respond to your comment, but after that, we comment to each other, not you. Sorry.


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