Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has big plans for its Jeep brand. (Still.) But after announcements about new factories and models, there seems to be some confusion about the Wagoneer, and whether or not it’s “Grand.” The answer is, yes, there is a plan for a new Jeep Grand Wagoneer. And a Wagoneer.
When Jeep announced its “$1 billion investment” to modernize the Warren Truck Assembly Plant and Toldeo Assembly Complex in yesterday’s press release, the company specifically identified the Jeep pickup truck, Jeep Wagoneer and Jeep Grand Wagoneer as three separate models that would be built at those facilities.
Specifically, the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer are slated to come from Warren, and the pickup will come from Toldeo where Wranglers are made. FCA also stated that heavy duty Ram truck production will be moved from Mexico to Warren after planned upgrades are complete, apparently by 2020.
Both the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer nameplates are revived from Jeep’s past. The Wagoneer goes back as far as the 1960s and the Grand Wagoneer was one of the original American luxury SUVs from the 1980s. Actually, the Grand Wagoneer made it all the way to 1991, at which point I think it was the last new car you could buy in the U.S. with a carburetor.
These days Grand Wagoneers are hugely popular as collector vehicles. I have to imagine that has something to do with Jeep’s decision to bring these models back, though of course the new vehicles will share very little with their now-archaic namesakes.
That said, resident Jalopnik Jeep nerd and former FCA engineer David Tracy tells me that if the Wagoneers are being built in Warren, it’s likely they’ll sit on body-on-frame platforms because that’s the type of vehicle the assembly line there is dialed for.
The relationship between the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer is not entirely clear either. It’s well known that FCA boss Sergio Marchionne wants a Jeep-branded Range Rover rival to exist, possibly at a price tag of $100,000 or more, and the Grand Wagoneer seems to be that vehicle. Perhaps its “Wagoneer” will be something like a Range Rover Sport equivalent.
We don’t know exactly when the Grand and regular Wagoneer will commence production or hit showrooms, but FCA’s timeframe for finishing its new facilities is 2020. Until then, we’ll keep our fingers crossed for the revival of wood exterior paneling.