Wednesday 26 October 2016
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Jeep Renegade Delay; Wrangler All-Aluminum Body Nixed

Jeep Renegade Delay; Wrangler All-Aluminum Body Nixed

If you were waiting for an all-aluminum Jeep Wrangler, you’ll have to wait awhile longer. Chrysler is reportedly scaling back on plans to build an all-aluminum body for its next generation model.

At the same time, the current 2015 Jeep Renegade is causing nightmares for CEO Sergio Marchionne. The automaker’s working on a software glitch that is holding up dealer deliveries. Hundreds of Jeep Renegades are siting around a two-mile long test track outside Toledo, Ohio, as engineers try to work things out.

Jeep Renegade Software Glitch

Automotive News reports that Marchionne compared the Renegade’s issues to those that plagued the delayed 2013 debut of the Jeep Cherokee. Both problems involve software that controls its nine-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel-drive system. The Renegade has an identical nine-speed automatic, but a different all-wheel-drive system than the Cherokee.

Marchionne spoke late Tuesday after receiving an award from the SAE Foundation.

“I’m having a very bad engineering day,” Marchionne said. “It’s a combination of attributes of that vehicle that is making my life horrible.”

The Renegade went on sale in mid-March. He predicts that any Renegades being held up by software issues will likely be released by mid-June at the latest.

Next Generation Wrangler

Meanwhile, FCA is squashing plans to build the next Jeep Wrangler with an all-aluminum body. It had talked about doing so to help lighten it up and make it more fuel efficient. However, now it looks like the automaker’s decided to use aluminum only for secondary components such as the hood, tailgate and doors. The body itself would remain all steel.

“We’ve run the numbers and we’ve simulated mileage and the impact,” he said at an SAW Foundation award ceremony, as quoted by Automotive News. “Because of the difference in cost — not just of the material, but the actual assembly process, I think we can do almost as well without doing it all-aluminum. I think we can get very close.”

Marchionne originally sparked controversy when he brought up the idea of making the next-generation off-roader could all-aluminum. It meant potentially moving production out of the current Toledo plant.

Previous reports suggest the company is also thinking about building a hybrid version of the Wrangler.

If news about the Wrangler and Renegade wasn’t enough, there’s more.  Marchionne also says the next-generation Grand Cherokee may be delayed to be jointly developed with a higher-end Grand Wagoneer. The two vehicles would share a platform. The Cherokee was due out in 2017.
Photo Credit: FCA