FCA scales back aluminum plans for next Jeep Wrangler

The off-roader will use aluminum for its doors, hood and tailgate, but won\'t get an all-aluminum body.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has scaled back its aluminum ambitions for the next-generation Jeep Wrangler.

The company had been considering an all-aluminum body, helping reduce fuel consumption thanks to a lighter curb weight and presumable switch to a downsized engine for base packages.

Chief executive Sergio Marchionne now claims the company is considering using aluminum for secondary components such as the hood, tailgate and doors, all mounted on a traditional steel body.

"We've run the numbers and we've simulated mileage and the impact," he said at an SAW Foundation award ceremony, as quoted by Automotive News. "Because of the difference in cost -- not just of the material but the actual assembly process -- I think we can do almost as well without doing it all-aluminum. I think we can get very close."

Marchionne sparked controversy when he previously mentioned that the next-generation off-roader could switch to an aluminum unibody, threatening to move production out of the current Toledo plant. Keeping the steel body-on-frame construction presumably diffuses the potential dispute over the relocation.

Previous reports suggest the company is also considering a hybrid powertrain to help reduce fuel consumption, though the Wrangler's iconic styling and solid axles are promised to remain.

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