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Australia has long been a vital market for the Jeep brand, and the imminent arrival of the heavy-hitting Grand Cherokee Trackhawk performance SUV is an indication of just how seriously Jeep takes its fans down under.

FCA Australia boss, Steve Zanlunghi, was adamant from the outset that Australia needed to get the Trackhawk. The difference this time, though, is that rather than the off-road prowess as we’re used to with the Grand Cherokee, the Trackhawk is a horsepower monster with one aim – going as quickly as possible.

“It’s the dawn of a new era for Jeep in Australia,” Lucy McLellan, Director Corporate Communications for FCA told CarAdvice in Portland at the international launch of the Trackhawk.

“Last year you drove our most capable luxury SUV, the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, and now you are driving our most capable performance version of the Grand Cherokee.”

FCA’s desire to get the Trackhawk into Australia – we’ll be the second biggest market for the SUV outside of the United States – is in line with the new direction Jeep is taking in regard to warranty, service and customer interaction.

“2017 marked the beginning of a new chapter for the Jeep customer experience in Australia, through backing its customers and their vehicles,” McLellan said. “That includes the new warranty plan, and the holistic ownership experience including offerings such as a five-year warranty, lifetime roadside assist and capped-price servicing as well.”

Keep in mind, too, that Australia is the only global Jeep market with a five-year warranty, also reflecting the reverence with which head office holds the Australian 4WD market. The Trackhawk is a concrete example of Jeep’s commitment to performance as much as off-road prowess and the five-year warranty is a solid commitment to rebuilding the brand’s relationship with loyal customers.

“It’s a commitment to a performance flagship and it’s really exciting to be able to pay homage to our American muscle background,” McLellan said. “When the rest of the industry is turning to smaller engines, and eco-specific options, the Trackhawk shows there is still room for a performance SUV with a supercharged V8 engine.”

Trackhawk will land in Australia in two variants – a Launch Edition followed by the regular Trackhawk.

“The Launch Edition is limited to 62 units, recognising the 6.2-litre engine,” McLellan told CarAdvice. The regular Trackhawk will follow the Launch Edition onto the market and also be heavily specified with standard kit.

We pressed McLellan on the type of buyer who would be attracted to an SUV that’s as hardcore as the Trackhawk.

“That’s an interesting one,” McLellan said. “It could be buyers into performance cars, current Jeep fans, current Grand Cherokee SRT owners who are keen to upgrade, but it could also appeal to a certain segment of buyers who appreciate performance SUVs who might want the performance, value package and the engine note without the higher price point of our European competitors.”

The 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk will start arriving into Australia in December this year.

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