SUV

LEAKED: The Jeep Wrangler Is About To Go Aluminum

Don’t ding it when off-roading because repairs will cost a pretty penny.

Cult cars have a certain way of defying time because no matter how old their design gets, purists insist that things stay the same. As strange as this sounds, there’s no other segment where this is more clear than in the off-road SUV class. Take the Mercedes G-Wagon and Land Rover Defender as examples. Both kept original designs that have required only slight adaptations to stay fresh. Thanks to JL Wrangler Forums, we now know that it’s the Jeep Wrangler’s turn to be touched by the hand of change.

Instead of altering its overall appearance in a sacrilegious manner, it’s the vehicles composition that’s getting a retouch by FCA. According to what an employee from parts supplier Alcoa leaked, the next Wrangler will go the route of the Ford F-150 and get some weight-saving aluminum body panels. As the leak confirms,so far the only two areas of the car to get the treatment will be the hood and doors. This raises some concerns because as Chevrolet has so candidly pointed out, aluminum ruptures more easily than steel, which could be a turn off for off-roaders hoping to mistreat the Jeep. According to the source, Alcoa has been named the supplier for these two areas because it’s the only company that can deliver high form aluminum.

This is in line with comments made by FCA boss Sergio Marchionne in 2015 to Automotive News where he said, "There will be a large portion of that vehicle (the Wrangler) that will be aluminum. It will not be all aluminum." What this means is that we’ll likely see more of the metal appear on other parts of the SUV from either Alcoa or another supplier, but don't expect to see every body panel get exchanged with the lightweight metal. Ford has already migrated to using the lightweight material on its F-150 and will soon debut it on the 2018 Expedition. Following this trend, we can expect to see more SUVs adopt the weight loss strategy to continue the SUV feeding frenzy into out low-carbon future.

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