Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Jeep to Revive Grand Wagoneer Nameplate with New 7-Seat SUV, Marchionne Says Commander was "Unfit for Human Consumption"


In talking with reporters on Monday at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Chrysler and Fiat Group CEO Sergio Marchionne revealed plans to bring the Jeep Grand Wagoneer nameplate back to life with an all-new seven seat SUV model, based on the underpinnings of the recently launched Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango.

“It's time we gave the market an upper-scale Grand Wagoneer,” said Marchionne. “You'll see it in January 2013.”

As expected, reporters asked Marchionne how the Grand Wagoneer would differ from the seven-seat Jeep Commander, which Chrysler killed last year. The CEO's answer was piercingly honest: “That car was unfit for human consumption. We sold some. But I don't know why people bought them.”

Marchionne also said that the group plans to kill one of the group's two traditional minivans (either the Dodge Grand Caravan or Chrysler Town & Country) for the next generation. It is believed that the Dodge model has more chances to remain in production. The firm's CEO added the brand that loses the minivan will most likely get some kind of "people mover", possibly without sliding rear doors.

The Chrysler Group is also close to making a decision on a successor for the Dodge Nitro and Jeep Liberty SUVs. “It's the most significant hole in our product portfolio,” said Marchionne, adding that the Nitro needs to be replaced but not necessarily by a Dodge-branded model as Chrysler could also be up to the task. “Give us about 40 days” to make a decision, he said.

Last but not least for the Chrysler brand's fans, Marchionne re-confirmed the group's commitment to the V8 engine. “We need to continue to invest in the Hemi," he said.

Source: Autonews [Sub. Req.]



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