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Jeep Electrified – SUV Maker Adding EVs, Plug-Ins

Battery-based Jeeps “under active development.”

by on Jun.24, 2016

The Jeep Renegade could be one of the first models electrified, a plug in the Chinese market.

Today’s battery-based vehicles tend to be small sedans, coupes and hatchbacks. But that’s beginning to change with high-end products like the Tesla Model S and, more recently, the Model X.

Tesla will soon have some challengers in the battery-electric SUV market including Audi, set to debut an all-electric ute in 2018. And Jeep is getting ready to weigh in, as well, according to brand boss Michael Manley.

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While Fiat Chrysler’s SUV division isn’t ready to release specific plans, Manley told TheDetroitBureau.com that new battery-based products are “under active development,” and other company sources indicate they aren’t very far from launch.

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Jeep Climbing Up to Another Record Sales Year

Top exec suggests new SUV smaller than Renegade may be coming.

by on Jun.24, 2016

Jeep CEO Mike Manley believes there is room at both ends of the Jeep portfolio for new products.

The Jeep brand is rocketing towards another sales record this year and it also looking for new worlds to conquer.

Mike Manley, president of chief executive officer in charge of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles N.V.’s Jeep brand, said during a session with reporters at the FCA’s Chelsea Proving Ground that he believes there is ample room in the market for a B-Class-size Jeep smaller than the Renegade, which is now the smallest vehicle in the Jeep model line.

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“I have a strong feeling a small Jeep below Renegade would do well outside of (North America),” said Manley, who has been responsible for pushing the Jeep brand into new market in Europe, Asia and now South America. (more…)

Fiat Chrysler Sending Out Fix for Faulty eShifters on Recalled Jeep, Sedan

Jeep investigating possible link to death of Star Trek actor Yelchin.

by on Jun.23, 2016

Jeep had been hoping to gain momentum with the Grand Cherokee's appearance in the new film, Independence Day Resurgence.

A top official at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles said the carmaker wants to investigate the weekend accident that took the life of actor Anton Yelchin, best known for his role in the Star Trek movie series. He was killed when his Jeep Grand Cherokee unexpectedly pinned him against a gate at his home, apparently leading to asphyxia.

The 2015 sport-utility vehicle was one of 1.1 million FCA vehicles recalled earlier this year to fix an electronic shifter system that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration System called “unintuitive,” citing numerous complaints from owners who said they could not figure out what gear they were in. The automaker had issued a warning to owners but had not begun repairs at the time Yelchin was killed.

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“We’re waiting to be able to start our own investigation,” said Michael Manley, the president and chief executive of the Jeep brand, during a media roundtable at FCA’s proving grounds an hour outside Detroit on Thursday. “Obviously, we would like our own people to go over the vehicle.”

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FCA to Stop Using Recall-Targeted Takata Airbags

Jeep Wranglers will switch to newer airbags “by next week.”

by on Jun.21, 2016

New Jeep Wranglers will now use an updated version of the Takata airbags, at least for North America.

(This story has been updated.)

The last Jeep Wrangler to use potentially defective Takata airbags will roll down the assembly line next week – for the North American market, anyway.

Jeep parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles was recently identified as one of four manufacturers still using airbags produced by Japanese supplier Takata in new vehicles due to a shortage of safer replacement parts. The other manufacturers identified by the Senate Commerce Committee include Mitsubishi, Toyota and Volkswagen.

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FCA said it will switch to a new airbag design, “by next week,” for vehicles sold in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. It will, however, continue to use the older Takata airbags in Jeep Wranglers shipped to other markets.

The suspect airbags currently are not on the list of active recalls ordered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – but they will be over the next several years.

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Death of Star Trek Actor Highlights Concerns About Faulty Electronic Shifters

Anton Yelchin reportedly driving recalled Jeep Grand Cherokee.

by on Jun.20, 2016

Actor Anton Yelchin was best known for his role as a young Pavel Chekov in the Star Trek reboot.

It could take months to complete the investigation into the accidental death of Anton Yelchin, the 27-year-old actor best known for his role in several recent Star Trek movies – but it appears that the vehicle involved in his death was a 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee, an SUV recently recalled because of problems with its electronic shifter.

A Los Angeles coroner’s spokesman said the cause of death was “blunt force asphyxia” in which the actor was pinned against a gate at his home. The vehicle appears to have been one of the models involved in a large recall initiated by Jeep parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in April.

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FCA recalled three different models — covering a total of 1.1 million vehicles — following an investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The agency found the shifter could confuse motorists by not giving clear feedback as to what gear the automatic transmission was in.

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FCA Set to Wind Down Passenger Car Production

Trucks Moving in at two current sedan plants.

by on May.09, 2016

The Jeep Crew Chief concept reveals some "hints" of a production Jeep pickup to come.

With pickups, utility vehicles and vans now capturing about 60% of the U.S. market, automakers are struggling to shift production to match consumer demand, in some cases dropping once-popular passenger car models and refitting plants to produce light truck lines.

Nowhere is that shift becoming more apparent than at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. At least two of the maker’s sedans will soon head off to the junkyard, making room for expanded production of updated and possibly all-new pickups and SUVs.

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At least two plants will be impacted by the shift at the trans-Atlantic automaker, including one in Belvidere, Illinois and another in the Detroit suburb of Sterling Heights where 3,000 workers have been on temporary layoff due to slow sales of the Chrysler 200 since early this year. Nearly half will be put on indefinite layoff in July, likely for as much as two years.

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Jeep Launches Second Plant in China

Move critical to Jeep's global growth plans.

by on Apr.19, 2016

A new Jeep Renegade makes its debut in China.

The first locally made Jeep Renegade SUV began rolling down the assembly line in Guangzhou, China, this week, marking a critical step in parent Fiat Chrysler Automobile’s bid to get a foothold in the world’s largest automotive market.

A weak presence in China is one of the reasons why FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said the automaker needs to find a partner. The irony is that Jeep – then owned by American Motors – was the first foreign automaker to set up a Chinese manufacturing venture. But it lost that operation following the break-up of the ill-fated DaimlerChrysler AG nearly a decade ago.

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FCA spent a number of years trying to negotiate Jeep’s return to production in China, just launching its first new plant there last October. The Changsha facility currently produces the bigger Jeep Cherokee model.

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Jeep Expands Grand Cherokee Offerings

New 2017 additions debut at NY Auto Show.

by on Mar.23, 2016

The 2017 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk may be the most capable Grand Cherokee ever built.

Jeep continues to mine the Grand Cherokee line-up for more gold with two new editions for 2017: the Trailhawk and the Summit.

Called the “most capable” Grand Cherokee ever produced, the new model is counterbalanced by the Summit, which may be the most comfortable and plush model ever manufactured by the brand that is thought of as more rough and tumble than warm and fuzzy.

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“With our new Trailhawk and Summit models, Jeep Grand Cherokee becomes even more capable and more luxurious,” said Mike Manley, head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. Adding more options to the Grand Cherokee portfolio makes sense as sales of the model rose 7% in 2015. (more…)

Jeep Building Patriot/Compass Replacement in Brazil

New crossover making debut in Brazil instead of New York Auto Show.

by on Mar.11, 2016

The replacement for the Jeep Compass and Liberty will bow in Brazil instead of New York as originally planned.

The replacement for the Jeep Patriot/Compass was scheduled to make its debut at the New York Auto Show later this month, but instead will debut in Brazil, where it will be produced, according to officials.

Mike Manley, Jeep’s global chief, said the yet-to-be-named small crossover will be built at its $1.8 billion assembly plant in Pernambuco, Brazil. Production is set to begin in the fourth quarter of this year.

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The plant, which is one of Jeep’s most modern facilities, currently produces the Jeep Renegade, the Fiat Punto and Fiat Toro in January. It has the capacity to produce 250,000 vehicles annually. (more…)

Jeep Ready to Rock at Safari with Seven Concepts

Annual collection of fans in Moab getting an assortment of options.

by on Mar.11, 2016

What happens when you squeeze a 707-horsepower Hellcat engine into a Jeep Wrangler? You get the Trailcat and just in time for the annual Easter Safari.

Jeep plans to continue building its reputation for building uniquely, capable vehicles by offering, with a big assist from Mopar, seven new concept vehicles for the annual Easter Safari in Moab, Utah.

“Every year, the Jeep team looks forward to pushing the limits with new, exciting and capable concept vehicles for our most loyal enthusiasts at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, where we receive a tremendous amount of valuable feedback,” said Mike Manley, head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global.

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The portfolio of concept vehicles for the Moab show Fiat Chrysler plans to develop a pickup truck for the Jeep brand. While it hasn’t been announced officially no one around FCA’s U.S. headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan, denies its coming. (more…)