Jeep has come a long way from its WWII origins serving the infantry in Europe, but as the brand enters its 75th year, big changes are on the horizon. Before you worry, there’s no reason to expect that the brand will remain anything but rugged. After all, Jeep has postedof global sales records, in part boosted by expansion into international markets.
At the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the company made five major announcements — though not all were intentional. Chief among the news for Jeep diehards is a vehicle that has been anticipated for years: a Jeep pickup. Here’s a breakdown of what’s to come for Jeep.
New, Unnamed Compact SUV
A newly designed compact SUV was announced to replace the aging Jeep Compass and Jeep Patriot. Both the Compass and the Patriot have kept up steady sales numbers, but they haven’t had a redesign in years. Not everything about the compact SUV will be new though. It will carry the name of one of the two outgoing models. Exactly which one hasn’t been announced yet — the Compass has more recognition in international markets while the Patriot sees more popularity in the U.S. The new SUV, as well as which name it will adopt, will debut in March at the New York International Auto Show.
Special 75th Anniversary Editions
Jeep will be adding a few to all 2016 vehicles in celebration of its 75th year in business. The exteriors of the commemorative Jeeps feature bronze rims and a decal that says “1941” and “Seventy Five Years” alongside an outline of the Jeep that started it all. The interiors will receive similar treatments with the same decals embossed into the leather seats.
(75th Anniversary editions of the 2016 Jeep lineup.)
Long-Awaited Factory Pickup
Custom pickups aren’t unheard of, but factory-built Jeep pickups haven’t been an option since the J-10 was discontinued in 1988. A return has been years in the making with that a pickup may happen in 2015 or 2016 — way back in 2011.
Though we’re still waiting, a Jeep pickup based off of the Jeep Wrangler will hit the market late 2017 or early 2018 (get more details here). Jeep global chief Mike Manley and Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne have both made comments on the new Wrangler-based pickup. “Sergio and I work very, very closely on the Jeep product portfolio, and both of us have been a fan of a potential Wrangler pickup,” . “For me, there is a historical place in our lineup for it.”
This isn’t the first time Jeep has toyed with the idea of a pickup either. There was thein the 2005 Detroit auto show that was based off of the Wrangler, as well as the more traditionally designed created in 2012 for the Moab Easter Jeep Safari.
707-Horsepower Grand Cherokee
Despite the excitement this beast of an SUV is garnering, Jeep didn’t make it an official launch at the auto show, Rather, Manley admitted the high-powered truck would be coming in 2017 after a reporter asked if Jeep would ever put Dodge’s Hellcat motor in a Grand Cherokee. The supercharged V-8 is the same engine powering the Dodge Challenger SRT — a car that goes zero to 60 in 3.6 seconds and clocks a top speed around 200 MPH.
Change In Leadership
New models aren’t the only major changes occurring at the company. Marchionne will be stepping down from his role as CEO at the end of the company’s current five-year plan in 2018. A successor hasn’t been named yet, and the heads of the company aren’t commenting on possible choices. Manley has stated that his attention is on the short-term rollout rather than a possible move from global chief to CEO. “My entire focus is to meet the commitments that I’ve made in terms of the organization, in terms of the performance of Jeep, and, now, Ram through 2018,” Manley said. “What happens beyond 2018, we’re going to see.”
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