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First Drive: 2018 Jeep Wrangler

New design means better performance on-road and off.

by on Dec.13, 2017

The Wrangler is back — again! The 2018 Wrangler Sahara is part of a portfolio considered the most capable Jeeps ever.

Few vehicles can match the storied history of the Jeep Wrangler, born nearly 80 years during a competition to build a light-weight military vehicle.

The Willys Corp., one of the many, many ancestors of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, won the design competition and the rest, as the saying goes, is history. The forerunner of the Jeep Wrangler has carried scouts, wounded soldiers and weapons during combat around the world and during the years has also evolved into a favorite of outdoorsman, hunters and fisherman who prized its ability to traverse all sorts of terrain.

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The 2018 Jeep Wrangler continues the long tradition of being able to travel over all sorts of ground. But it adds a measure of civility and safety that is sure to capture the attention of less adventurous buyers with its ride and handling and new technology. (more…)

All New Yet Surprisingly Familiar: Jeep Formally Unveils 2018 Wrangler

The archetypal SUV is now lighter, more fuel-efficient, more capable.

by on Nov.29, 2017

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler family shown alongside some classic Wrangler of the past.

It takes a second to realize that the Jeep Wrangler sitting on the stand at the Los Angeles Convention Center is new from the ground up. And that’s not by accident. When you’re redesigning an icon, Jeep officials explained, you have to respect tradition.

But don’t let looks fool you. A closer inspection reveals that the 2018 Jeep Wrangler isn’t just a light update. It really is a complete remake of the ultimate off-roader, a vehicle that traces its heritage back to the revolutionary off-roader that crisscrossed battle-scarred Europe and Asia during the dark days of World War II.

Auto Show News!

“Wrangler is instantaneously recognizable anywhere around the world,” said Michael Manley, the head of the Jeep brand, during a preview of the new ute ahead of its official debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The challenge, he said, was to make it even better, addressing the issues that even the most dedicated Wrangler loyalists hoped to improve.

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First Look: All-New 2018 Jeep Wrangler

All-new yet completely familiar.

by on Nov.01, 2017

The first Wrangler debuted in 1986 but its roots date back to the original Jeep of World War II.

Few new models have been the subject of more speculation, especially after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles put up a new version of the Jeep Wrangler outside its plant in Toledo, Ohio, albeit carefully covered up.

The waiting is finally over and, barely a month before the iconic sport-utility vehicle makes its public debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show, FCA is giving us a first look at the 2018 Jeep Wrangler. Unfortunately, it isn’t saying much then than confirming what our eyes already reveal: that the new Wrangler will retain plenty of cues from the outgoing model, including its keystone, seven-slat grille, round headlamps and square taillights. And, of course, the classic, fold-down windshield.

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That said, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler also features big improvements in aerodynamics which should mean major improvements in both wind noise and fuel economy. Jeep engineers also were promising to shave off plenty of mass and make other improvements to Wrangler powertrain line-up to further improve its efficiency.

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FCA Begins Exporting Jeeps from India

Plant sending new Compass utes to Australia, Japan.

by on Nov.01, 2017

Fiat Chrysler is now exporting Jeep Compass sport-utes to Australia and Japan from India.

Fiat Chrysler Automobile N.V.’s venture in India is now exporting Jeep Compass utes to Japan and Australia where car making ended for good last month.

Sergio Marchionne said recently that the transformation of Jeep to a truly global brand is continuing to pick up momentum. Jeep sales in South America, where FCA opened a plant last year, and in Europe where Jeeps are now built on the continent for the first time, have continued to expand, Marchionne noted during a conference call last month.

Global Auto News!

Jeep sales in China are also growing. Marchionne also said the Jeep plant in India is also off to a promising start.  (more…)

Secrets Are Out! 2018 Jeep Wrangler User Guide Leaked

Guide shed light on what to expect with new model.

by on Oct.16, 2017

The user's guide for the next-gen Jeep Wrangler was leaked by fan forum, revealing many details about the new model.

In today’s ever-shrinking, internet-based world, no secret goes unshared, especially when it’s the user’s guide for the next-generation Jeep Wrangler, which has been leaked, and reveals the new 4x4’s equipment including push-button start and a power sliding top among others.

The new Wrangler, who’s goodies were revealed by a fan site called JL Wrangler Forum, is set to roll down Fiat Chrysler’s revamped assembly line in Toledo, Ohio, beginning next month. Perhaps the most identifiable Jeep on the planet, the Wrangler boasts off-roading fans as well as open-air mavens around the world.

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The go-anywhere ute used to be a bare-boned beast, but over the years, more and more convenience features crept into the truck. The push-button start and power top are new for this iteration, but other niceties will include keyless entry, blind-spot monitoring, parking sensors and a backup camera, according to the newly — albeit unceremoniously — debuted user’s guide. (more…)

FCA Recalling 700K Utes for Brake Problem

FCA making second attempt to resolve problem.

by on Oct.03, 2017

The 2011 Dodge Durango is part of the recall of FCA SUVs due to a brake problem.

Fiat Chrysler announced it is recalling more than 700,000 Jeep and Dodge sport-utility vehicles to resolve a potential problem with the vehicles’ brakes that can make it difficult to stop.

The action affects Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos from model years 2011–14 with about 646,000 of those vehicles in the U.S. The remainder are in Canada and Mexico.

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The company said a mistake installing the brake-booster shields may allow water intrusion, which can cause corrosion and freezing, impacting the functionality of the brakes. Signs of a problem include excessive brake-pedal firmness, activations of the anti-lock brakes and illumination of a warning light. (more…)

Great Wall May Not Seek Jeep Takeover After All

“Big uncertainties,” says Chinese carmaker.

by on Aug.22, 2017

Great Wall Motors has been hoping to sell vehicles, such as the Hover H7, in the U.S.

Just a day after reports surfaced that China’s leading SUV maker, Great Wall Motor Co., was considering the acquisition of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep brand, it is signaling it may not be ready to make a bid, after all.

On Monday, news reports quoted several Great Wall officials indicating their interest in Jeep, an icon of the sport-utility market. But a day later, the Chinese manufacturer is signaling there are “big uncertainties” as to whether it will move forward, the Bloomberg news service reported Tuesday. For its part, FCA officials have said they have not been approached by the Chinese company.

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Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has long been expressing an interest in finding a partner, though he has been rejected by a number of Western competitors, including General Motors and Volkswagen. A month ago, Marchionne raised speculation further when he responded, “Yes,” when an automotive analyst asked if FCA might be willing to just sell off its Jeep or Ram brands.

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What’s Gone Wrong With Jeep?

Iconic brand’s sales tumble – but is it just a temporary glitch or long-term setback?

by on Jul.27, 2017

A Jeep Cherokee body rolls down the newly renovated line at the Belvidere plant.

It is one of the most iconic automotive brands on the market and, until recently, Jeep could be counted on to deliver sales growth and a steady stream of profits to parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

So, what has gone wrong this year? Jeep volume was down 13% for the first half of the year, with the numbers off 11% in June, and another year-over-year slide expected to be revealed when July numbers are tallied up next week. While FCA reported strong second-quarter profits on Thursday, it took a solid performance by the maker’s other brands, including Maserati, to offset Jeep’s weak numbers.

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Beyond the Headlines!

The question is whether Jeep’s setback is a temporary one or something that could hurt it longer-term. The real test will come in the months ahead, especially once renovation work on the Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio is completed and production of the brand’s next-generation flagship Wrangler model begins.

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Settle or Sue: U.S. Ready to Take on FCA Over Diesel Rigging Allegations

Automaker accused of using “defeat device” to meet emissions mandates.

by on May.18, 2017

The Ram 1500 turbodiesel has won a number of awards - but the EPA claims it was rigged to pass emissions tests.

The U.S. Justice Department has reportedly given Fiat Chrysler Automobiles an ultimatum: either settle allegations it rigged its diesel models to illegally pass U.S. emissions tests or be hit with a lawsuit.

With the Euro-American automaker so far fiercely challenging those claims by the government, a civil suit could be filed as early as this week, according to a report by the Reuters news service.

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Breaking News!

The automaker says it sees the threat of litigation as “counterproductive,” adding that it “will defend itself vigorously” in court, if necessary. But whether it will now back down is uncertain considering FCA management will need to weigh the potential damages – both in terms of legal costs and possible fines and penalties, as well as the hit to its image the automaker could face.

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Unwrapping the 2018 Jeep Wrangler

Back to basics...but some modern touches.

by on May.12, 2017

A thinly camo'd 2018 Jeep Wrangler.

The new Jeep Wrangler is one of the most eagerly awaited models due to debut for the 2018 model-year, but the automaker isn’t saying much about the first complete makeover of the iconic SUV in more than a decade.

It’s not quite a red cape, but Jeep has been teasing Wrangler fans by placing what appears to be the next-generation SUV out front of its Toledo, Ohio assembly plant. The problem? It’s covered in a big white sheet. So, we asked our spy photographer Jim Dunne to try to capture images of what’s underneath.

The Last Word!

While these three shots of what is internally codenamed JL still leave some details covered up by camouflage, they offer the best look we’ve had, to date, of the 2018 Jeep Wrangler, and while the basic shape carries over some of the boxy cues that fans have long loved, there are some key updates that appear to bring the next Wrangler into the modern era.

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