“We’ve run the numbers and we’ve simulated mileage and the impact,” said Marchionne. “Because of the difference in cost not just of the material but the actual assembly process, I think we can do almost as well without doing it all aluminum.”
Instead of utilizing an all-aluminum body like the new Ford F-150, Jeep will spur its weight-saving by ‘hanging’ lightweight aluminum panels on the Wrangler’s steel body, such as aluminum doors and fenders – keeping overall steel usage to a bare minimum.
In a way, the less-radical the new Wrangler… the better. The Wrangler sold to the tune of 175,328 units last year, a year over year jump of 13 percent, and sales continue to grow month by month through April of this year.
A departure from the tried and true Wrangler norms could upset Jeep’s faithful, something Jeep boss Mike Manley has no intention of doing. In a previous report he rather humorously noted, “If we styled a Wrangler that didn’t look like a Wrangler, I would have to have eight security guards.”
One thing that will change in Jeep’s lineup however is the addition of an upcoming full-size SUV, expectedly monikered ‘Grand Wagoneer’. The three-row, unibody SUV is expected to arrive in 2018, and according to Marchionne, it will share a platform with the smaller Grand Cherokee.