DETROIT -- Jeep is stretching out consumer interest in the outgoing JK Wrangler by offering a number of special limited-edition packages over the next year while consumers await the arrival of the redesigned JL Wrangler in the second half of 2017.
The first two limited runs -- the 2017 Wrangler Sport Freedom edition and 2017 Wrangler Sahara Winter edition -- were detailed to dealers in their November ordering books.
Both go on sale in December, with the Freedom edition running only until February, and the Winter edition scheduled to run until May, according to dealer ordering information seen by Automotive News. A Jeep spokesman declined to comment.
The moves follow Jeep's tradition of using limited-edition models to keep demand for the Wrangler strong. Wrangler sales in the U.S. are on the decline for the first time since the Great Recession this year as consumers await what promises to be a more fuel-efficient but still-capable replacement for the off-roader.
The Wrangler Sport Freedom edition will come with Freedom star hood and rear fender decals, an American flag driver side front fender decal and other interior and exterior badging. It will also feature 18-inch Sahara mid-gloss granite crystal wheels, a new rear heavy-duty cast differential cover, black fuel filter cover and taillamp guards. The sticker price will be $30,690 for the two-door Sport Freedom edition, and $34,590 for the four-door Wrangler Unlimited Sport Freedom edition, both including shipping.
The Wrangler Sahara Winter edition features new LED headlamps and fog lamps, standard remote start (with the automatic transmission), premium off-road rock rails and a standard hard top, with optional body coloring. It comes adorned with hood, driver side fender and rear fender decals, along with other special badging and accents. The sticker price will be $37,440 for the two-door Wrangler Sahara Winter edition, and $41,240 for the four-door Wrangler Unlimited Sahara Winter edition, including shipping.
Later in 2017, Jeep plans to offer other limited-run editions. However, their detailed specifications have yet to be announced. According to internal sources, they include:
- A Sport Big Bear edition, available from February until July
- A Sahara Chief edition, available from March until June
- A Sahara Smoky Mountain edition, available from March until July
- A Rubicon Recon edition, which will replace the Rubicon Hard Rock when it ends production in February. It is scheduled to be available until JK production ends in September 2017.
The JK Wrangler has been in production since 2006 and has undergone several upgrades over the years to improve its interior and powertrain. Despite its age, the Wrangler has remained one of the brand's best-selling vehicles, with U.S. sales more than doubling since 2010 to more than 202,000 last year with little or no incentives. Through October of this year, however, Wrangler sales have slipped 5.7 percent.
Production of the JL Wrangler -- which will have an available eight-speed automatic transmission, an available turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a more aerodynamic shape to greatly increase fuel economy -- is scheduled to begin in mid-2017.
The JL Wrangler will be built at Fiat Chrysler's Toledo Assembly Complex after the portion of the plant that currently builds the unibody Jeep Cherokee is retooled, beginning in March, for body-on-frame construction.
FCA will begin a limited retooling of its Belvidere Assembly plant in Illinois next month to continue producing the Jeep Cherokee.