Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Mike Manley's wish for a three-row Jeep is taking shape. Spy photographers captured engineers testing a three-row Jeep prototype in Auburn Hills, Mich.
Manley told Britain's Auto Express last year the new three-row model will slot in the same midsize SUV/crossover segment as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but compete more directly with the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander and Chevrolet Traverse.
"Roughly 60 percent of that segment is three-row, so Grand Cherokee has really only played in 40 percent," Manley told the magazine.
Jeep has not offered a three-row SUV since the Commander was dropped in 2010. The new three-row SUV will be positioned alongside a redesigned Grand Cherokee, but it is expected to carry a new nameplate.
The prototype is based on a Grand Cherokee, but the exhaust was rerouted to make room for an external spare tire, seen mounted in the middle of the three-row model's undercarriage. The spare-tire move freed up space for the third row of seats.
Both models will be built at FCA's new assembly plant in Detroit, with production possibly beginning this year, AutoPacific says.