Jeep puts plans for Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer on hold
Jeep is pumping the brakes on its luxury SUV ambitions.
Jeep's ambitious plan to revive its Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer nameplates as full-size luxury SUVs on par with the Land Rover Range Rover have reportedly stalled out.
For the last few months Fiat Chrysler's Jeep division has promised us that both Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer models are coming. However, doubt started to creep in after the company pushed back the launch of the luxury SUVs from 2018 to 2019. Now it looks like the project has been suspended indefinitely.
Two suppliers confirmed to Automotive News that the Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer project has been put on hold. No reason was given, nor was a timeframe for when Jeep might resume the project.
Although speculation at this point, issues with funding and questions surrounding what platform to use for the Jeep models is likely the root cause for the delay.
FCA is currently the only major automaker with more debt than cash. Add in the fact that the company is currently in the midst of launching its Alfa Romeo brand in the United States and simultaneously designing all-new version of its Ram pickup and Jeep Wrangler and cash is likely at a premium at FCA's headquarters. The Grand Wagoneer would help FCA's bottom line with a price tag stretching to $140,000, but it wouldn't sell in large enough quantities to justify a huge initial investment.
Complicating things further, we've heard rumbling that FCA can't settle on which platform to use for the Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer. The architecture underpinning the Jeep Grand Cherokee was a natural jumping point, but engineers are reportedly struggling to stretch the platform to meet the needs of the larger Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer. The updated body-on-frame chassis that will underpin the next-generation Ram 1500 is being strongly considered, but there are doubts if it will be suitable for an ultra-luxury vehicle.
One possible scenario could see the Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer using the Ram's chassis but setting its sights a little lower — instead of targeting the Range Rover, the Jeep twins would take aim at the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, both of which use a truck frame. Such a decision could also cut the development costs for the program.
FCA is keeping quiet on the subject, but the future of the Jeep Wagoneer/Grand Wagoneer looks murky at best.