Jeep Is Going Global

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As it turns out, Americans aren't the only ones who have a fondness for Jeeps. As Chrysler continues to expand under new owner Fiat, their Jeep brand seems to be growing in popularity with overseas buyers. First off, the newly redesigned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee has just made its UK debut. It will be available in two trims, Limited and Overland. Each are powered by a 237hp 3.0-liter CRD (common-rail turbo diesel) that offers up to US 34 mpg (39 mpg UK) and has a maximum range of 700 miles.

Interestingly, Jeep is considered to be a key component for Fiat as it aims to expand into international markets. In particular, the Wrangler continues to grow in Europe partly because of the original Jeep's contribution in liberating the continent from Nazi Germany. When Fiat took over Chrysler two years ago, one of the first things they went about doing was to refranchise their European dealers. That process is now about complete as Wrangler sales are showing. There's only one problem: the Toledo, Ohio Jeep plant is reportedly having trouble keeping up with this growing demand.

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Combined with increased US sales, the famed Jeep factory is quickly approaching its 150,000 vehicle capacity. To put this into clearer perspective, 71,000 two and four door Wranglers were built in the first five months of this year alone. Wrangler popularity will also likely grow further for a couple more reasons: the ancient 3.8-liter V6 and four-speed auto will be replaced next year with the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 and a five-speed auto. And in a couple more years there's a good chance both US and European buyers will have a diesel engine option due to new emissions regulations.

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