Will the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer range ever make it to market?
We've been holding out hope that Jeep's ambitious plans to revive the Range Rover-rivaling Grand Wagoneer last seen in the early 1990s would come into fruition, despite rumors it had been cancelled. Unfortunately, the chances of this happening are looking increasingly unlikely, as Automotive News has been told by two suppliers that the project has been put on hold indefinitely. Sadly, the news shouldn't come as a surprise.
The Grand Wagoneer was originally supposed to launch two years ago, before being pushed back to 2018. Then it was delayed again until 2019. And Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has been suspiciously tight-lipped about the project ever since. Delaying a luxury SUV that would reap profits in a market where SUVS are always in high demand made no sense. Worryingly, the company hasn't cited any specific reason for the project being postponed, nor has it given any indication when it might be resumed. Problems with funding are likely to blame. After all, FCA is a unique carmaker in that it has more debt than cash right now.
Factor in the fact that the company is resurrecting Alfa Romeo in the US as well as designing new versions of its Ram pickup and Jeep Wrangler, plus a a Wrangler-based pickup, and you can see why it is struggling to cover the hefty costs required to develop the Grand Wagoneer. Apparently, the firm has also been struggling to decide which platform to base the Grand Wagoneer on. Originally, the architecture from the Jeep Grand Cherokee was being considered, but engineers have apparently struggled to stretch the platform to meet the needs of the Grand Wagoneer.
The updated chassis planned for the next-generation Ram 1500 is also being considered, but there are again doubts if this will be suitable for a luxury SUV. Perhaps Jeep should set its sights lower and target SUVs developed by Chevrolet and GMC rather than the high-end Range Rover. Whatever happens, the future of the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer looks uncertain. If you're looking for an alternative to the Range Rover in the luxury SUV market, you might want to consider the recently launched Maserati Levante instead.