Sergio Marchionne, Fiat-Chrysler CEO, says that the next generation Wrangler has to be lighter and have additional powertrain options in order to improve fuel economy. Currently the Wrangler is available with the 3.6 liter V6 Pentastar engine with either a 6 speed manual or automatic transmission. Jeep has been hinting at a more efficient options such as a Diesel Power plant and different transmission options.
Wrangler lovers everywhere are concerned about the news of Jeep possibly getting rid of the iconic solid axle design for something more weight, and therefore fuel efficient, an IFS. However Chrysler claims that the rumored change to an independent design is driven by demand, not weight. With production of the Wrangler jumping 10% in 2010, up to 155,502, Chrysler can’t produce enough solid axles to keep up with requirements. There is talk of increasing production capacity of the Wrangler, however Marchionne reiterated that production will continue to take place only in Toledo, Ohio.
Along with the Wrangler Marchionne spoke about other Jeep models, the Compass and Patriot. He indicated that those two “weakest links” in the North American selection would soon be addressed by the addition of a new subcompact SUV this year. While the new Jeep hasn’t yet been named, it will NOT be called the Jeepster.