2017 Jeep Wrangler To Remain Body-On-Frame

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon

The fate of where the next-gen Jeep Wrangler will be assembled may have been settled, thanks to the fact that there will be no unibody Wrangler anytime soon.

Automotive News reports sources from inside and outside Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have stated the 2017 Wrangler will remain body-on-frame, meaning the Toledo, Ohio plant responsible for the icon’s production won’t see it head elsewhere for now.

As for going aluminum to help make weight in the CAFE fuel economy competition, CEO Sergio Marchionne says it’s still a possibility for the next Wrangler to use the metal so long as production costs are manageable, which may also mean trouble still for Toledo:

If the solution is aluminum then I think unfortunately Toledo is the wrong set up to try and build a Wrangler because it requires a complete, a reconfiguring of the assets which would be cost prohibitive. I mean it would be just be so outrageously expensive for us to try and work out that facility.

Further, the switchover would stop Wrangler production completely — the Toledo plant, which is already operating above capacity, is the only plant where Wranglers are made — eating away at both dealer inventory and corporate profits. The current forecast shows 235,000 units leaving Ohio by the end of 2014, the third consecutive year of record high production.

Cameron Aubernon
Cameron Aubernon

Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.

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  • 05lgt 05lgt on Oct 24, 2014

    All this means is Sergio expects the citizens of Toledo and Ohio to pay for the retooling required if Al is the answer. If not, he'll take it it somewhere more fully subsidized. Just like every one else. Pimping the workers taxable paychecks in exchange for tax free operation and publicly funded capital equipment. We da ho's.

  • Frantz Frantz on Oct 24, 2014

    I just partook in Fords "built ford tough 3" thing today on the 2015 F150. Some of the things I really liked (but question how long will be around) is the modular build they did. In order to counter increased body repair cost with the higher part price, they reduced repair labor by designing the truck to be much more modular. *nods head*. If Jeep did the same thing, the body shouldn't be a huge concern. Lets not forgot they didn't make a 1996 Wrangler, so it's not impossible to over build one year and then speed up on the new line. I also was happy to see an improved frame with less reliance on the body. This speaks to the strength of full frames. No matter what, it will be better than an 80's CJ, and yet I and most other jeepers will still drool over the idea of bringing back such a simple vehicle. I like the future of Alcoa stock.

  • Big L from Chicago Big L from Chicago on Oct 25, 2014

    I think plastic would be a better choice for a Jeep body than aluminum. Amazing new chemistries and molding technologies these days. I Just hope they keep the live axle up front, or at least the option to have one.

    • 95_SC 95_SC on Oct 25, 2014

      Interesting....make it body colored all the way through to hide the trail rash or cover said plastic in some of that flexible epoxy bedliner stuff. The bottom of my Land Cruiser was covered in monstaliner after I ripped the fender flares off and it was pretty stout and would flex. Only issue is IIRC with Saturns the spaceframe + polymer body were actually heavier than a comparibly sized steel unibody vehicle.

  • Racer-esq. Racer-esq. on Oct 25, 2014

    The standard military Jeep from 1959 through 1982 was unibody with front rear independent suspension: "The Truck, Utility, l/4-Ton, 4x4, M151 (M151 ) was the successor to the Korean War M38 and M38A1 jeep Light Utility Vehicles. Commonly referred to as a 'jeep' or 'quarter-ton', it was produced from 1959 through 1982 and served in the Vietnam War. The M151 had a monocoque design making it roomier than previous jeep designs, and incorporated an independent suspension with coil springs." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M151_Truck,_Utility,_l/4-Ton,_4x4