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The 2017 Jeep Wrangler Will Be Hard as Steel

Victor Muller, CEO and Founder, Spyker Cars

Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles will not follow the Ford F-150 and make the 2017 Jeep Wrangler an all-aluminum body, stated FCA chief Sergio Marchionne. It will stay with mostly steel. However the doors, hoods and fenders will be made of aluminium in an effort to keep the weight down.

Jeep’s rugged, go-anywhere Wrangler will also keep its body-on-frame make up instead of going to the next generation unibody design as rumors have been suggesting. This is good news for Wrangler fans that feared that a radically different design would affect Wrangler’s off-road performance.

This is also good news for Jeep’s Toledo Assembly Plant, where open-top Jeeps have been made since 1941. There was a serious risk of losing the Wrangler if FCA switched to all-aluminum because the plant wouldn’t be equipped to handle the advanced manufacturing techniques.

The Wrangler is about as traditional as a new vehicle can get. While it is a great ride off-road, the heavy body construction and solid axles make driving on pavement a rougher ride. Its iconic removable doors and lack of side impact protection gave it a “poor” side impact rating from the IIHS. The 3.6 liter V6 only gives a combined 18 mpg, which is worse than the V8 powered Chrysler 300 sedan.

The question is how long can the Wrangler survive in its current mode with increasing federal safety and emission standards. Are we looking at a vehicle that could be going obsolete?

Even with the impressive front and rear collision ratings, Jeep has to find a way to improve fuel economy and an all-aluminum body might be the inevitable answer.

Wrangler, like the Chevy Camaro and Ford Mustang, has been one of America’s most iconic vehicles and with every update there is a risk of losing the core customers.

Although no final decision has been made about keeping the Wrangler in Toledo, the city has made FCA a very lucrative cash deal and incentives to keep the production of the Wrangler in Toledo. The offer is such that FCA might find hard to resist.

It looks like Toledo will have the resources to produce the next generation of the Wrangler. If the Wrangler has to leave for any reason, the plant will still produce the Jeep Cherokee.

But for now it seem like the stronger, safer, more fuel efficient Wrangler still is the rugged go-anywhere truck will stay put in Toledo; keeping millions of Jeep fans and employees happy for now. Check out Chapman Jeep for more information on the rugged Jeep line up.

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