By on December 8, 2016

1978-jeep-wagoneer

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has high hopes for the upcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer and its ability to challenge Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz for premium SUV buyers. The proposed model’s $140,000 price ceiling keeps FCA execs up at night in giddy anticipation.

However, there’s a problem: Before FCA hoists that sparkling and lucrative cherry atop its Jeep sundae, it first needs to build the damn thing, and that’s easier said than done.

Which is why the Grand Wagoneer — the three-row ultra-lux SUV that Lee Iacocca could only dream of — is on hold.

According to two supplier sources who spoke to Automotive News, FCA has slammed the brakes on the Grand Wagoneer. The reason, to anyone’s best guess, comes down to money. FCA simply doesn’t have enough of it, and that throws a wrench into the automaker’s initial plan of stretching the next-generation Grand Cherokee’s platform to underpin the Grand Wagoneer.

Besides being in a scramble to bring the next-gen Jeep Wrangler and Ram 1500 to market, the automaker is in the midst of an assembly plant shuffle. Uncertainty over where FCA can build the range-topping SUV raised its head back in September.

The go-to location — the ancient Warren truck plant, which will soon send its Ram production to Sterling Heights — requires costly upgrades to handle the unibody vehicle. On top of that, the Ram shuffle has already eaten up $1.5 billion. An alternative location, the Jefferson North plant — home to the Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango — isn’t setup to produce a longer-wheelbase vehicle. That means another pricey upgrade.

Unless FCA finds a pot of gold (which, ironically, is how the company sees the Grand Wagoneer), there’s no fulfilling the dream — at least, not at this point. Ideally, the automaker hoped to produce the Grand Wagoneer for the 2019 model year, concurrent with the next-gen Ram 1500 and a year after the updated Wrangler’s sales debut.

One fall-back option is to ditch the idea of a lengthened Grand Cherokee platform and go with something that already exists. That makes the next-gen Ram 1500’s frame a candidate. FCA loves bragging about the versatility of its platforms (and saving money!), so a Ram connection can’t be ruled out, especially when there’s cash and prestige at stake.

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21 Comments on “Jeep Grand Wagoneer Reportedly on Hold as FCA Figures Out How Exactly to Do This...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Grand Wagoneer put on hold until internal financial crisis is sorted out – Sergio

  • avatar
    BigOldChryslers

    +1
    Ditch the GW plan and make a RAM1500-based Suburban fighter! If they call it the Ramcharger, I won’t even complain that it has 4 doors instead of 2!

  • avatar
    Tstag

    Developing a Range Rover rival will cost mega bucks. The third gen Range Rover cost 1 billion pounds to develop. That was years ago. That’s the kind of investment FCA will need to make.

  • avatar
    Trucky McTruckface

    I never really understood the business plan for a six figure Jeep in the first place. The current Grand Cherokee already rivals the Range Rover in looks, luxury, on/off road performance and laughable unreliability for a fraction of the price. Unless charging higher prices means a Jeep that is less likely to suddenly die on you while driving down the interstate, what’s the point?

    Just call the next Durango a Grand Wagoneer and be done with it already.

    • 0 avatar
      hreardon

      While I agree that the Grand Cherokee is America’s “Range Rover”, even the top spec Summit model pales in comparison with the RR when it comes to fit/finish/bling.

      I still don’t think they’ll price the Wagoneer in the $140k range (I just don’t think they can command that price point…yet), but there’s big bucks to be made in the $70-$110k range.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      The business plan is that 8 years of zero interest pumping later the .1%, at least those who aren’t oilmen, are richer than they’ve ever been before and all it takes to sell them a six figure car is a six figure car.

  • avatar
    Loser

    But they have money for NASCAR?

  • avatar
    mikeg216

    The right thing to do would be to build it as a rugged suburban/Yukon/sclade fighter that has off road chops… Put it on the ram chassis with the hemi a diesel and the 6.2 and sell it for between 50-75k and you won’t be able to keep up with demand

  • avatar
    RobbieAZ

    I just don’t see it. At who is this thing targeted? Who’s going to fork out 6 figures for a vehicle with Jeep badges on it?

  • avatar
    Corey Lewis

    “But what about the 10,000 sales a month of $140,000 Grand Wagoneers, Sergio?

    I am haz a sad.”

    -Accountant

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