It was just a month ago that we reported that Fiat Chrysler was not going to built the Jeep Wagoneer. Well, the plan changed again.
Coming behind Ford’s announcement at the Detroit Auto Show that it’s bringing back the Bronco, Jeep has once again announced plans to introduce a new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, both large SUVs.
Unlike the current Jeep Grand Cherokee, which is a crossover that is based on a car chassis, the two Wagoneers will be body-on-frame trucks and built in the Michigan assembly plant that currently produces Ram 1500 pickups.
Jeep brand manager Mike Manley says they looked at the large SUV market in the United States and saw most of its competitors using truck-based platforms, which better fit the bill for buyers shopping for this type of vehicle. SUVs based on truck chassis’ significantly increase towing capacity.
The iconic Wagoneer, pictured above, was sold from 1963 to 1991. Jeep hasn’t produced a full-sized, three row SUV in its lineup since the Grand Cherokee-based Commander was dropped from the lineup in 2010 due to slow sales, in part because many consumers thought it was low quality and too small.
“We know, using body-on-frame with Jeep, because that’s what Wrangler is, that we can get fantastic luxury and performance and capability, and that’s what we need,” Manley says.
Manley said the two SUVs will be more distinctive than just short and long wheelbase versions of the same vehicle, and should be priced from around $60,000 to $100,000, which suggests they’ll be premium models aimed at trucks like the GMC Yukon Denali, Cadillac Escalade, and Lexus and Land Rovers SUV models.
Jeep hasn’t yet said when the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will go on sale, but the updates to the factory where they will be made won’t be completed until 2020, so it will be at least a year after that. Some of the older Wagoneer models came with wood grain on the sides, no word if that will be an option on the new models.
Photo Credit: FCA/Jeep