FCA is in the process of finalising its decision on a right-hand-drive version of its yet-to-be-released flagship Jeep Grand Wagoneer SUV, due to for release in 2019.
The huge Jeep Grand Wagoneer was confirmed as part of FCA’s five-year plan in 2014. It is expected to sport three rows of seats and offer a much higher level of interior fit and finish.
Speaking with media at the Los Angeles motor show, Mike Manley, head of Jeep, RAM and COO of the Asia Pacific region told a group of journalists that a decision on this vehicle for the Australian market was imminent.
“That is one [the Grand Wagoneer] that possibly won’t make right-hand drive. The project hasn’t been ruled out yet. We have requests from all of our right-hand-drive markets for it. We have time, because that’s scheduled for the end of 2019. So that one is right on the table today. In fact, Steve [Zanlunghi, FCA Australia boss] gets his input in the coming two to three months so that we can make the decision,” Manley said.
“For me, it’s going to become another halo for the brand and then sometimes the financial dynamics don’t matter so much as it being a halo. But at the moment that’s one where the decision is the question.”
Manley also hinted at the fact the brand is desperately lacking a large three row SUV, given that the Grand Cherokee only comes with five seats.
“The only thing that I would then next look at is a good three row mid-sized Jeep. Grand Wagoneer is too big. It’s going to be significantly longer and wider than Grand Cherokee. It’ll be three row,” Manley said.
“If you look at, for example, what Toyota has done with their three-row, Ford have just announced a three-row Edge for example (in China), Hyundai have a three-row, Kia have a three-row, I think given the fact families are migrating away from vans but still occasionally need three rows that’s usable, for us it has to be a market we look at.”
If the Australian business case plays correctly, we could have both a three-row Grand Cherokee product, along with a flagship Grand Wagoneer that competes in the large luxury SUV space alongside cars from Range Rover, Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
CarAdvice will keep you posted as more information comes to hand.