A roundtable session was held at the 2017 Detroit Motor Show where Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Sergio Marchionne provided details on the upcoming 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The luxury SUV will share bones with the Alfa Romeo Stelvio and Alfa Romeo Giulia, which both have the same rear-wheel-drive platform developed by the auto brand.
The present Jeep Grand Cherokee uses an aging platform from Mercedes-Benz. The next-gen model will be borrowing the Stelvio and Giulia's architecture. The shared platform will enable the Grand Cherokee to integrate an off-road capable 4WD system.
This change promises a different driving experience for Jeep Grand Cherokee owners. The Alfa Romeo Stelvio is an attractive premium SUV and will share similar driving feel with the future Grand Cherokee.
Fiat Chrysler is working doubly hard to wipe out its massive debt. Its recent decisions focus on a massive product shift. While the company aims to introduce more vehicles, saving money on development costs is part of that strategy.
Meanwhile, FCA is planning to revive its Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer in response to the continued demand for larger utility vehicles. The automaker is investing one billion dollars to resurrect the classic SUV. The vehicles will be manufactured at its plants in Michigan and Ohio.
The revival of the Wagoneers and the company's investment strategy in the U.S. were not due to U.S. president-elect Donald Trump's pressure on automakers, said Marchionne.This development has been on the table since 2015, with the involvement of labor union UAW, he added.
Marchionne talked about FCA's realignment of its footprint in the U.S. The announcements to revive the Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer and to update the Grand Cherokee are part of the company's retooling of its manufacturing plants in the U.S.