In comments to Automotive News, Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat Chrysler, said: "A large portion of that vehicle [the new Wrangler] will be aluminium. It will not be all aluminium."
According to Marchionne, the company did simulations and ran the figures, and concluded that it would be better off using aluminium components for some elements, such as the doors, bonnet and tailgate, rather than going all-in and endowing the next-generation off-roader with an all-aluminium body.
Marchionne said that company looked at not just cost of aluminium, but also the changes required for production. It's believed that if Fiat Chrysler opted for an aluminium-bodied Wrangler, it would need to invest significantly in its Toledo, Ohio factory to handle the different base material.
By attaching aluminium parts to a steel body, the company, it's speculated, would avoid such a heavy investment.
The Canadian-Italian CEO concluded that in terms of fuel economy, the more cost effective solution would be nearly as efficient as the more expensive, headline-grabbing alternative. "I think we can do almost as well without doing it all-aluminium," he said. "I think we can get very close."
It's expected that the next-generation Jeep Wrangler will debut around 2017. At the 2014 Paris motor show, the Fiat Chrysler CEO indicated that the new SUV would also feature downsized turbocharged engines, as well as lightweight measures, to improve the car's fuel economy.
Note: Current-generation Jeep Wrangler pictured above.