Updated 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee spotted wearing new grille

July 12, 2012 at 12:46 am

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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee prototype - white - front three-quarter view with nose camouflage

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is facing mild updates and a short 2013 model year because Jeep wants to get the thoroughly breathed-on 2014 model into buyers’ driveways. Our spy photographers caught a parade of the 2014 models with swirly wrapping covering a tweaked front end sporting narrower upper and lower grilles, a new fog light treatment and perhaps a bit more curvature overall. The interior was masked off, but a larger touchscreen is expected to grace the center console.

Among the expected new options are a 241-horsepower, 406-pound-foot, 3.0-liter diesel V6 that European Grand Cherokee buyers have been enjoying for some time now, as well as a ZF eight-speed automatic that’s likely meant to partner with the Pentastar V6. Although the changes we know of so far might not seem to be worth all the hubbub, they should provide measurable added refinement to an already-polished vehicle that is still selling very well.

We expect to see it at this January’s Detroit Auto Show, and production is predicted to begin in May 2013.

Updated 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee spotted wearing new grille originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 Jul 2012 18:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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House Dems call on Chrysler to deal with Wrangler “Death Wobble” [w/video]

July 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm

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If the adjective “death” was applied to any item, incident or location that had been involved in a single fatality, then we’d all be imbibing death drinks while driving death cars on death roads from our death jobs to our death homes to be with our death spouses, death kids and death pets. Yet when it comes to the wobble that’s been reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration by hundreds Jeep Wrangler owners, the report of one “fatality related to the suspected condition” has earned it the moniker “Death Wobble” on the television news.

In response to the newscast in question, Congressional representatives Anna G Eshoo and Henry A. Waxman sent a lengthy list of questions to NHTSA in order to find out more about the issue and requested an investigation. NHTSA declined to investigate, saying that the issue “does not result in a loss of control.”

So now, according to a report in The Detroit News, Eshoo and Waxman have gone directly to Chrysler seeking “an outreach campaign to its customers, such as a Customer Satisfaction Campaign, to notify Jeep owners of the risk of the ‘wobble’ condition … and the possible methods for repairing and preventing the problem.” Chrysler has said that the Wrangler has an excellent safety record and reiterated its position that “most reported incidents – in all manufacturer vehicles equipped with or without a solid axle – are often linked to poorly installed or maintained after-market equipment, such as lifters, oversized tires, etc.”

No one denies that a wobbling event has occurred for some Wrangler drivers when they hit something like a pothole at speeds beyond 45 mph, and the situation could probably be addressed by something better than a corporate statement that owner modifications or carelessness have caused it. While Chrysler also states that any vehicle with a solid front axle is prone to such wobbling, Automotive News’ Larry Vellequette wrote a well reasoned piece that goes into detail about how the Wrangler has been caught in a bit of a bind: the same steering and front axle setup that make the Wrangler great for off-roading can lead to such wobbling on-road at speed, and the Wrangler’s increasing popularity with the average driver unfamiliar with those kinds of compromises has led to everyone getting the short end of the stick.

It’s unclear what will happen to resolve it, but it’s clear that something will have to happen. Scroll down for the original newscast as well as videos showing some owners experiencing the wobble in question.

Continue reading House Dems call on Chrysler to deal with Wrangler “Death Wobble” [w/video]

House Dems call on Chrysler to deal with Wrangler “Death Wobble” [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 09 Jul 2012 09:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Watch a Jeep Grand Cherokee fail Sweden’s Moose Test *UPDATE

July 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm

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Jeep Grand Cherokee threatens to roll over during moose test

The Jeep Grand Cherokee has proven to be a rock-solid off-road-capable SUV with a dose of civility on public roads. But while the top Jeep has a terrific reputation and a long list of accolades, at least one model apparently didn’t have the chops for the Teknikens Moose (or Elk) test over in Sweden.

The moose test is a lighting-fast emergency lane change maneuver that takes place at a relatively staid 40 miles per hour. While most vehicles clear the obstacle with little fuss, the below video shows that a Grand Cherokee Overland got up on two wheels and very nearly rolled. Teknikens V

Chrysler going with EcoDiesel brand name?

July 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm

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Chrysler EcoDiesel badge

Chrysler
appears to have chosen “EcoDiesel” as its branded name for a new line of diesel models set to arrive in the States. The artwork above was registered with the U.S. Patents and Trademark office just last month, with the “3.0L” nomenclature denoting the displacement of its first offering.

As we reported at the beginning of this year, Chrysler’s first diesel engine will be a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6. The powerplant, jointly developed with Fiat, will reportedly make 241 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Currently mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox under the hood of the Jeep Grand Cherokee in other markets, the new oil-burner would deliver an EPA fuel economy equivalent of about 23 city and 33 miles per gallon highway (the Cherokee’s current gasoline-fed 3.6-liter V6, also mated to a five-speed, delivers 17 city and 23 highway).

While the bad news is that the automaker is likely going to delay the launch of its diesel models until the 2014 model year to finish development on a new ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic (a gearbox that promises to deliver improved acceleration and even better fuel economy), the good news is that the automaker will shorten the 2013 model year to allow the 2014 models to arrive as early as January of next year.

Chrysler going with EcoDiesel brand name? originally appeared on Autoblog on Sun, 08 Jul 2012 10:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jeep Wrangler Freedom Edition arrives in time for 4th of July

July 4, 2012 at 3:10 am

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2013 Jeep Wrangler Freedom - front three-quarter view - blue

The iconic Jeep Wrangler’s earliest ancestors were military vehicles that proved their offroad capabilities by shuttling our armed forces through some of the world’s most difficult terrain.

Now, 70 years later, that bare-bones, utilitarian vehicle is all grown up and (somewhat) civilized, but no less American. To show off its patriotism, Jeep has just announced a new Freedom package on its 2012 Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited models.

Spotting the new trim packages on the street should be super easy. First, they’re only available in three colors: Deep Cherry Red, Bright White and, exclusive to Freedom models, True Blue.

Each Freedom Edition Wrangler receives a military-style star on the hood and rear quarter panels as well as “Oscar Mike” fender badges and “Oscar Mike” stitched in silver on the seats’ black, tectonic fabric. “Oscar Mike” is military slang for “On the Move.” Silver stitching accents the leather steering wheel, door fabric, seats, grab handle, door pulls and dash vent rings.

Outside are 17-inch Mineral Gray alloys with grille and bumper inserts in matching gray.

Part of the Wrangler Freedom Edition’s $28,165 purchase price and the Wrangler Unlimited Freedom’s $30,670 goes to charities to benefit America’s veterans.

“It is with both pride in our history and gratitude to all those who have served that we have chosen to donate $250 from each Jeep Wrangler Freedom Edition to be divided between these important charitable organizations that benefit current and returning military members,” says Mike Manley, President and CEO of the Jeep brand.

The first Jeep Wrangler Freedom Edition models are rolling into dealers as you read this. Check out the official press release with more info by scrolling down.

Continue reading Jeep Wrangler Freedom Edition arrives in time for 4th of July

Jeep Wrangler Freedom Edition arrives in time for 4th of July originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 03 Jul 2012 14:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Chrysler adding jobs at Toledo Jeep plant to boost Wrangler production

June 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm

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wrangler unlimited altitude

New car sales have been on the upswing, and few vehicles have experienced more success than the Jeep Wrangler. The iconic off-roader set an all-time May sales record with 14,454 units sold, and its total sales are up 34 percent on the year.

That’s good news for Chrysler, and it could lead to more high-wage manufacturing jobs in northern Ohio. Automotive News reports that Team Pentastar plans to add an unspecified number of jobs to its Toledo Jeep plant in the fourth quarter of 2012. The move should help Chrysler satiate demand for the perpetually hot Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited, and it could help international sales, as well. CEO Sergio Marchionne is on record saying that he’d like the Wrangler to spur Jeep sales across the pond.

That said, there is a chance that this decision won’t lead to many new hires in the near term. The Toledo, Ohio complex also builds the Jeep Liberty until August, when the plant will receive a makeover that will result in an additional 300,000 square feet of production space. It seems likely that the Wrangler jobs could come from the neighboring plant (the whole complex uses two facilities), but when production picks up at the renovated building, new jobs would have to be added. Chrysler has previously announced that up to 1,100 new positions will be available at the complex by the end of 2013.

Chrysler adding jobs at Toledo Jeep plant to boost Wrangler production originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 29 Jun 2012 13:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NHTSA now probing over 5M Jeep models over fuel tanks

June 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm

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Jeep Emblem

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded an investigation into certain Jeep models to an engineering analysis, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. NHTSA began investigating certain Jeep Grand Cherokee, Cherokee and Liberty models with fuel tanks positioned behind the rear axle in late 2010. Regulators say fires tied to rear-impact crashes may be responsible for 15 deaths and 46 injuries. The results of the engineering analysis will determine whether or not Chrysler is required to issue a recall for the defect. If that happens, the automaker could be looking at recalling 5.1 million vehicles, making the campaign one of the largest in U.S. automotive history.

Chrysler says it’s uncertain how many of those models are still on the road today, though it is certain NHTSA will find the SUVs neither defective nor unsafe. Even so, that hasn’t stopped some consumer advocacy groups from lambasting the vehicles. The Center for Auto Safety proclaims that the vehicles are a “modern day Pinto for soccer moms.” Chrysler has analyzed crash data in Grand Cherokee models and says it has found no greater incident of post-accident fire than in vehicles produced by other manufacturers.

The investigation covers 1993-2004 Grand Cherokee, 1993-2001 Cherokee and 2002-2007 Liberty models.

NHTSA now probing over 5M Jeep models over fuel tanks originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Jun 2012 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NHTSA now probing over 5M Jeep models over fuel tanks

June 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm

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Jeep Emblem

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has upgraded an investigation into certain Jeep models to an engineering analysis, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. NHTSA began investigating certain Jeep Grand Cherokee, Cherokee and Liberty models with fuel tanks positioned behind the rear axle in late 2010. Regulators say fires tied to rear-impact crashes may be responsible for 15 deaths and 46 injuries. The results of the engineering analysis will determine whether or not Chrysler is required to issue a recall for the defect. If that happens, the automaker could be looking at recalling 5.1 million vehicles, making the campaign one of the largest in U.S. automotive history.

Chrysler says it’s uncertain how many of those models are still on the road today, though it is certain NHTSA will find the SUVs neither defective nor unsafe. Even so, that hasn’t stopped some consumer advocacy groups from lambasting the vehicles. The Center for Auto Safety proclaims that the vehicles are a “modern day Pinto for soccer moms.” Chrysler has analyzed crash data in Grand Cherokee models and says it has found no greater incident of post-accident fire than in vehicles produced by other manufacturers.

The investigation covers 1993-2004 Grand Cherokee, 1993-2001 Cherokee and 2002-2007 Liberty models.

NHTSA now probing over 5M Jeep models over fuel tanks originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 14 Jun 2012 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Jeep adds 137,000 Liberty models to previous recall

June 13, 2012 at 1:01 pm

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2007 Jeep Liberty Sport

Chrysler has included an additional 137,000 vehicles in a previous Jeep Liberty recall, upping the total number of units covered to 356,900. The campaign initially included 2004 and 2005 Liberty models, but has been expanded to include units from model years 2006 and 2007 as well. The campaign is aimed at vehicles sold or registered in States with a high probability of rust, where the rear lower control arms may corrode at an accelerated rate and fracture. Such a failure could cause a loss of control, which could lead to an accident.

According to CNN Money, Jeep maintains there have been no reports of accidents or injuries, though the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration opened an investigation into the failures back in April after receiving nine reports of control arm fractures.

Chrysler will replace the control arms free of charge, and those owners who have already had the components replaced will be reimbursed.

Jeep adds 137,000 Liberty models to previous recall originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 12 Jun 2012 17:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dodge Durango, Avenger models will be discontinued, SRT model for Journey planned

June 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm

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2011 Dodge Durango - black, front three-quarter view

Chrysler has gotten on pretty well in the post-bankruptcy world, with a big assist from its newest master. But while Chrysler has seen dramatic improvement thanks to refreshes and a few new models, the next couple years could be very exciting.

Automobile Magazine recently got the chance to talk cars with CEO Sergio Marchionne, and the charismatic leader apparently had plenty to say. Among the top headlines are the reported upcoming death of the Dodge Avenger in 2014 and Dodge Durango in 2016. We’re thinking nobody will miss the Avenger, but the Durango sounds like a bit of a bummer.

That’s until we see that the Durango will be replaced by a Jeep Wagoneer; a rehash of an old name based on the same platform and engine choices of the Dodge three-row utility. The Durango platform will also spawn the Maserati Kubang (which will likely be named something else), a move that should go a long way toward helping Maserati hit 50,000 units per year.

The Wagoneer is just the tipping point for new Jeeps on the way. Among the other models expected are an all-new Liberty in 2013 followed by a new Patriot in 2014 and a Fiat 500-based subcompact crossover tentatively named Jeepster.

The Chrysler brand should also look a bit more interesting as the 200 gets re-imagined for 2013 and the Town & Country morphs into a crossover in 2015. The Chrysler brand will reportedly also get a Dodge Dart-based 100 compact, but not until 2016 or later, which seems like a long way off.

Among the other interesting vehicles expected to bow are as many as six Alfa Romeo models including the 4C Coupe, the next MiTo, the Giulietta and an unnamed crossover. And then there will be a smattering of new Fiat 500 models including the 500L and the XL, which will reportedly feature seating for up to seven.

The SRT lineup will also be getting a sheetmetal injection with the addition of the Dart SRT4 and the Journey SRT6. Now if Sergio Marchionne can make the Journey exciting, he’ll be up for auto executive of the decade.

Dodge Durango, Avenger models will be discontinued, SRT model for Journey planned originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 05 Jun 2012 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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