Jeep adds big, small vehicles
Expanded lineup gets new powertrains, Fiat platforms
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DETROIT -- The Jeep brand will add a small and large vehicle in the next three years and start using Fiat platforms.
The brand's lineup will use new powertrains to improve fuel economy. Executives insist the brand will retain its off-road heritage, but many enthusiasts fret that the Fiat platforms will be less capable off-road than the models they replace.
Grand Wagoneer: The seven-seat Grand Wagoneer is scheduled to replace the Dodge Durango in 2013 for the 2014 model year. It will be built in the Detroit plant that also produces the Grand Cherokee. Jeep wants the Grand Wagoneer to compete with the Chevrolet Suburban as a full-sized upscale SUV.
Grand Cherokee: Jeep will shorten the 2013 model year for its top-of-the-line SUV to alter the powertrain. For the 2014 model year, Chrysler plans to offer a 3.0-liter diesel engine, eight-speed transmission and 8.4-inch infotainment screen. The re-engineered Grand Cherokee should be in showrooms next spring.
Wrangler: The Wrangler isn't scheduled for a redesign until 2017, though it is scheduled to get a heavy-duty eight-speed transmission, likely in 2014.
Liberty: Jeep will reveal its redesigned Liberty, which may receive the Cherokee name again, in January as a 2014 model, with a new 3.2-liter V-6 engine and a nine-speed front-wheel-drive transmission. The compact SUV will be the first Jeep to be built on a Fiat-derived platform, which it will share with the 2013 Dodge Dart.
Compass: The Compass' much-derided continuously variable transmission will be replaced with a standard six-speed automatic in the summer of 2013.
Patriot: The Patriot was scheduled to be discontinued in 2013 but will live on at least through 2014 with a new six-speed automatic transmission.
Subcompact: Jeep plans to sell an entry-level subcompact in North America and globally. The smallest Jeep will be assembled in Turin, Italy, alongside a new Fiat crossover, the 500X.
The small Jeep will be built on Fiat's new SUSW platform. Production starts in the second quarter of 2014. It will have at least one trail-rated version for off-roading.
You can reach Larry P. Vellequette at email@example.com.