Australia's ever growing appetite for rugged American SUVs has secured a quarter of the world's Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 production when the vehicle goes on sale in June.
Global production of the 6.4-litre HEMI V8-powered Grand Cherokee is limited to just 4,000 units per year, a decision that guarantees to keep the ST8s exclusive and in high demand. Australia is considered one of the larger takers of Jeep vehicles outside of North America and has been a strong market for the new Grand Cherokee since the vehicle went on sale in 2011, with the diesel variant remaining the most popular.
Chrysler Australia expects an allocation of around 1,000 right-hand drive SRT8s to satisfy local demand. Nonetheless, more than 250 customers have already put down a deposit and many more have expressed solid interest, despite no word on price.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 was first unveiled at the 2011 New York motor show and has already gone on sale in numerous other markets.
With 347kW of power and 630Nm of torque, the SRT8 accelerates from 0-100km/h in just 4.8 seconds, making it one of the fastest SUVs in the world and certainly the fastest SUV for under $100,000 in Australia.
It's not just a case of putting a big V8 in an SUV, though. Chrysler's Street Racing Technology (SRT) team have made significant changes, such as lowering the vehicle by 30mm, adding a new spoiler, rear diffuser and dual sports exhausts. You also get active damping suspension (via the Selec-Terrain system) which allows drivers to choose between track, sport auto, snow and tow.
The success of the Grand Cherokee has led a new resurgence for the Jeep brand worldwide, with the company taking the lead role in international expansion for the Chrysler group (following a decision to withdraw Dodge from many international markets).
Jeep is expected to launch a new standard Cherokee next year with the Patriot and Compass to follow in late 2014. As we reported earlier, the American company is also hard at work building a sub-compact SUV.
Full Australian specifications and prices will be revealed closer to the vehicle’s local launch in June.
Read: Jeep Grand Cherokee Reviews.