This just doesn't seem to add up. Autoline Daily is reporting that plans for a new top Jeep, a reimagined Grand Wagoneer to sit above the Grand Cherokee, have been scrapped. The info comes from Auto Forecast Solutions, an industry analyst company.
The Grand Wagoneer was expected to use a stretched version of the next Grand Cherokee's platform, but it reportedly won't accept the larger vehicle. The report implies that the next Grand Cherokee will use a version of the current Grand Cherokee's unibody platform, which is about what we expected. The thing is, the current Grand Cherokee shares its platform with the (longer) Dodge Durango, as well as Mercedes-Benz's GLE and GLS SUVs (remember the DaimlerChrysler days?). It's possible the Wagoneer was supposed to be wider as well as longer, and that the Durango's stretch just wasn't enough, but it seems odd that this is just now coming to light.
We have already seen sketches of the new Grand Wagoneer, purported to have leaked out of an FCA dealer meeting. Jeep's CEO has discussed the (high) price the new utility would command. It just seems like a lot of thought went into the vehicle already, thought that wouldn't be put forward if someone hadn't looked into the feasibility of actually building it.
The report (the one that says the thing has been cancelled) also says FCA might regroup and build the GW as a body-on-frame SUV on the Ram 1500 platform. That also seems unlikely, since this is supposed to be a luxurious, refined vehicle that's nicer than the Grand Cherokee. It would be tough to accomplish all of that with a ladder frame underneath, and it's just not the way the industry is going, let alone the Jeep brand. We'll keep an eye on this one.
The original Wagoneer was sold in various forms from 1963 to 1991. Jeep hasn't had a full-size, three row SUV in its lineup since the Grand Cherokee-based Commander was discontinued in 2010 due to low sales, in part because many consumers thought it was low quality and too small.
“We know, using body-on-frame with Jeep, because that’s what Wrangler is, that we can get fantastic luxury and performance and capability, and that’s what we need,” Manley says.
He adds that the two trucks will be more distinctive than just short and long wheelbase versions of the same vehicle, and should cover a price range from around $60,000 to $100,000, which suggests they’ll be premium models aimed at trucks like the GMC Yukon Denali and Toyota Land Cruiser.
No official images of the new pair have been revealed, but based on a leaked photo of an early design study, they won’t stray too far from the Jeep brand’s current look.
Jeep hasn’t yet said when the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will go on sale, but the updates to the factory where they will be produced won’t be completed until 2020, so figure 2021 at the earliest.
Unfortunately for fans of the originals, it doesn’t sound like a wood panel option is in the works, but Jeep does offer many graphic decal packages for many of its vehicles, so there’s always hope.