New Three-row Jeep Probably Won't Carry the Grand Cherokee Name
In its big February plant and product announcement, Fiat Chrysler said its Mack Avenue engine facility will give way to SUV production, describing the first vehicle to emerge from the repurposed plant as a “three-row, full-size Jeep SUV.” Given that the next-generation Grand Cherokee will also call the plant home, and that the two models will almost certainly share underpinnings, one would assume the three-row Jeep would carry a modified GC nameplate. Think Hyundai Santa Fe XL.
That’s been the assumption, anyway. However, the automaker’s CEO suggests a wholly new nameplate is in the works.
Speaking to Britain’s Auto Express, Mike Manley said the upcoming three-row Jeep is referred to in vague terms for a reason. He also admits the Grand Cherokee, in its current form, has limitations.
The new model “will technically play in the same segment as Grand Cherokee,” Manley said, adding that, “Roughly 60% of that segment is three row, so Grand Cherokee has really only played in 40%. That will open up that part of the segment for us.”
Why not just add a size-related suffix to the Grand Cherokee name? It could still happen, Manley suggests, though he’ll be pushing for an alternative.
“We’ll have the choice of Grand Cherokee or a different model,” he said. “For me, the Grand Cherokee is such an icon, so that’s why I talk about
It remains to be seen just how much the new model differs, style-wise, from the Grand Cherokee. By the sounds of it, the new model will not simply be a carbon copy of the Grand Cherokee from the C-pillar forward, though the two models are expected to share the same architecture. It’s believed that an updated and beefed-up version of the Giorgio platform, found beneath the Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio, will serve as the models’ starting point.
Whatever name FCA decides to bestow on the new model, customers will see the first units roll out of Mack Avenue in late 2020, with the next-gen Grand Cherokee coming along in the first half of 2021. (FCA’s Jefferson North facility will also build the GC.) In creating the new model, FCA will fill a lucrative white space between the two-row GC and the upcoming, big-bucks Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer. Those brutes go into production at Warren Truck in early 2021.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
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