Speaking to the Australian media at the Geneva motor show yesterday, Mike Manley, Jeep’s global boss, said the Wrangler is a hard vehicle to change (given its rich heritage and iconic shape) but the brand was seeking big improvements with the next-generation model.
“[The Jeep Wrangler] is difficult vehicle to work with, certainly from a styling perspective [the next-generation] will be a very strong tie to the Wrangler that we know and have known for years” Manley said.
“But the vehicle has to improve its fuel economy, not just fuel for next-generation but also going into the future.”
The current-generation JK Jeep Wrangler has been around since 2007 and although no official timing for the arrival of the new model has been set, Manley believes it will be around 2017 or early 2018, which will mean the longest period of time between Wrangler generation changes (previously it has been nine years at the longest).
Even so, with the new Wrangler model Jeep is undertaking a great deal of work and challenges to modernise the off-road king for an emission and fuel-economy obsessed world.
“We have a lot of work todo in terms of getting weight out of that vehicle, even though it’s hard too we have to work on the aerodynamics [as well]. We have to continue to work on transmission and powertrains without damaging its [off-roading] capabilities, thats the balance thats what we are working on right now.”
Manley says that getting weight out of the vehicle is not as easy as it seems, given its off-roading requirements.
“We can do aluminium body panels, we do with hoods [already], but it’s very hard on Wrangler to make all body aluminium because of the off-road duty cycle that some of the guys take it through.”
Despite the challenges, he admitted that “we have to take weight out of it. It’s a very heavy vehicle.”
The next-generation Jeep Wrangler will remain true to its core, taking on a body on frame architecture to maintain its off-roading ability.