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by Tim Beissmann

Jeep is currently developing the most luxurious model in its history to compete with premium SUV benchmark Range Rover.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne made the confession to Bloomberg this week, admitting that the iconic American SUV specialist was missing a big opportunity by not having a flagship luxury model to headline its range.

“When I see a Range Rover on the street my blood boils because we should be able to do a thing like that – and we will,” Marchionne said.

It’s the first official confirmation that a Range Rover rival is in the works for Jeep, with Marchionne clarifying that it was not mentioned in the company’s five-year plan announced in May 2014.

“Would I tell you that?” he said when asked if it was spoken of last year. “No, but we’re working on it now.”

That means the luxury model will sit above the forthcoming Jeep Grand Wagoneer, which will be a premium seven-seater positioned above the brand’s current flagship, the Grand Cherokee.

The Grand Wagoneer is scheduled to be released around the middle of 2018, and could become the first Jeep to command a price in excess of $100,000 when it reaches Australia, likely in 2019.

Jeep’s Range Rover rival isn’t expected to arrive before that, suggesting we may not see it until the end of the decade at the earliest.

Range-Rover

The Range Rover line-up occupies a very different space to the one Jeep currently plays in. In Australia, the entry-grade TDV6 HSE costs $165,900 plus on-road costs, while the flagship Autobiography Black LWB tops out at $338,200.

The most expensive Jeep on our shores is the Grand Cherokee SRT, which costs from $82,000.

Jeep is the latest manufacturer to announce its intentions to launch a super-luxury SUV, following the likes of FCA Group sibling Maserati, Bentley and Rolls-Royce.




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