Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has confirmed that the next-generation Jeep Wrangler could adopt an aluminum-unibody structure.
Speaking at the Paris Auto Show, the executive suggested the change may be necessary to reduce weight and increase fuel efficiency, along with the help of smaller engines.
“We firmly believe that we have to downsize the engines that are going into the Wrangler, just in terms of displacements, and then increase the capabilities by putting turbos in and doing other things to that engine,” he told Automotive News. “This requires a complete rethink of the architecture.”
FCA’s leadership is also rethinking the manufacturing location, dismissing the Toledo facility, which builds the current Wrangler, as prohibitively expensive for such a large-scale retooling.
Jeep purists will certainly balk if the Wrangler takes a path similar to the Cherokee revival, which sits upon a front-wheel-drive platform that achieves up to 31 mpg on the highway — with a significantly different body style than the iconic XJ of the ’80s and ’90s.
Chrysler so far has promised to maintain a focus on off-road capabilities with its next Wrangler, which is due to arrive in 2017.