Concepts

Jeep Hints At New Design Operations Division To Handle Bespoke Creations

Jeep kicks off Easter Jeep Safari Hype with two concept sketches of modified JL Wrangler and Jeepster.

In possibly the shortest press release ever, Jeep got the ball rolling on its Easter Jeep Safari hype machine. The announcement, accompanied by two sketches, was as follows: “The Jeep and Mopar brands have once again joined forces to create a selection of Jeep concept vehicles for the annual Easter Jeep Safari. These images hint at two of the new concept vehicles that will head to Moab, March 24 – April 1. Look for more information and images next week.”

Now, normally I try not to get too excited about teaser sketches, but EASTER JEEP SAFARI people!!! Jeep and Mopar have always gone all out for the Safari, dropping multiple concepts that could be an entire year’s worth of auto show content and are a mix of custom builds for specific off-roading disciplines, Mopar catalogue parts sprayed at a certain model, fantasy creations that dip into Jeep nostalgia, or just pure insanity. Really, anything goes, and it is usually all epic. What do Jeep and Mopar have in store for this year? You can bet the new Wrangler JL and various Mopar parts will both feature heavily.

The first teaser sketch clearly shows a new Wrangler grille with a jacked up suspension, winch bar and fog lights and cool-as-heck logo for what we can only assume is a new design/customization division that will be called Design Operations Division. With Jeep boss Mike Manley’s recent comments about how premium the Jeep brand can get, it only makes sense for them to have a customization division more exclusive than Mopar, just as Jaguar Land Rover recently launched with the Special Vehicle Operations (SVO) and McLaren (McLaren Special Operations or MSO), following in the tradition of Mercedes (Designo) and BMW (Individual).

The other sketch is also clearly Wrangler JL based judging from the taillights, fenders, gas cap, etc., but the usual top has been replaced with an old-school white hardtop recalling the Jeepster Commando wagon of the early ‘70s. Plus, there’s a Jeepster badge on the front fender, so that’s pretty much a dead giveaway. This clearly hits the nostalgia chord, but we’re guessing there will be something more. Will it be like the period-correct Grand Cherokee from last year or something wild like the Mighty FC Concept? God, that thing was cool!

What else might they have in store? With a new 2019 Cherokee just introduced at Detroit, there should be a couple of maximum Mopar builds, and my money is on something that takes the Trailhawk to entirely other levels of off-roading capability.

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