Jeep aims to make the 2017 Wrangler with an aluminum unibody

With their new five year plan Chrysler does not want to fall behind. With Ford, Land Rover and Jaguar launching their new models in a full aluminum body, Jeep plans to make their new Wrangler using the same production methods.

Aluminum bodies have shown a great advantage on off road vehicles by reducing the center of gravity. Furthermore, adding it to the portfolio may encourage new customers that, most of the times, do not know much about how much better it is the new spec, or change in body or in engine, but when they hear it is new and better they just want to jump on it.

There is another reality attached to this new aluminum body. As we heard during our trip to Detroit, the CAFE standards will require all car manufacturers to be able to perform about 54.5 mpg by the year 2025. Light aluminum bodies are one of the key factors in reducing car weights, and therefore increasing the average miles per gallon. With their history of big engines and low fuel efficiency, these standards have created panic at Jeep, where they will have to try everything possible to match the CAFE standards, stay in business, and doubling their sales by 2018 for which they also plan to add some new models.

11 comments to Jeep aims to make the 2017 Wrangler with an aluminum unibody

  • Zachary Durkin

    With what the Jeep is built for, I don’t see it ever reaching a high MPG rating. Wouldn’t it be easier for Jeep to keep their performance up on the Wrangler and just offer an electric car to offset the Wrangler’s poor fuel economy?

  • Kuangdi Zhao

    Perhaps adopting aluminum body will not help the Wrangler much in improving its fuel economy. Improving its aerodynamic design and using more fuel economic engine are perhaps more efficient in improving its fuel economy.

  • Peter Wittwer

    To Zach, if Jeep was to offset the Wrangler’s fuel economy with an electric car or hybrid, they’d still have to create a fuel efficient car that sells. Jeep has traditionally not built many fuel efficient automobiles so the engine technology may be fairly new to them. Cars like the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Liberty, and Jeep Wrangler are not very fuel efficient, in order to offset all these cars’ poor MPG rating, Jeep is going to have to come out with a fuel efficient car, such as a hybrid or electric vehicle, that can sell.

  • mayolj16

    To KuangDi, making a lighter body does improve the fuel efficiency since you need less energy to move a lighter body.

  • Jier Qiu

    I think it is great for Jeep to keep up its technology in the latest vehicle to improve fuel economy. However, I am worried about the increase in cost of producing these new Jeep, which at present, is generally affordable(a new 2014 Wrangler starts at $22,395). Fortunately the aluminum Wrangler won’t be coming out until 2017 which leaves the company plenty of time to reduce this cost.

  • Kade Kenlon

    To Zach and Peter, Chrysler may want to consider looking into purchasing a smaller vehicle with impressive gas mileage to offset the poor gas mileage that Jeeps offer. If Jeep attempted to create an electric car they may fail miserably considering they have no experience in producing those types of cars. However, improving the gas mileage on a Jeep may take away from the performance but they will need to improve it some. The aluminum body is a great start. As we heard at the Rouge, if an aluminum car ever comes through the assembly line, they draw a lot of attention. People are excited for an aluminum body as it represents the future of car body’s.

  • Peter Wittwer

    I think improving the combustion engine and taking steps to lighten the wrangler through aluminum bodies are definitely smart strategies for Jeep to eventually meet CAFE standards. But to dive right into the production of small cars, electric cars, or hybrids would not be intelligent since Jeep has never been a part of that market before or had a successful fuel efficient car in its portfolio.

  • theox

    Put a retractable, hard plastic spoiler under the front bumper for highway speeds…it flaps down when going over 30 miles…that alone would increase mpgs at highway speeds.

  • theox

    Another consideration is full plastic doors, hood, trunk door, windshield frame, etc. Everything but the tub, make in plastic…including bumpers and rims.

    • Indeed. And parts of that idea has been put into practice. Corvette has used fiberglass bodies, and Chevy at one time used SMC (sheet molded composite) plastic quarterpanels for their pickups. Cost/weight/formability/strength/assembly tradeoffs help govern which is used. Aluminum can’t readily be welded, and can’t be directly attached to steel. SMCs tend to outgas, which makes painting hard (pits form in the drying oven) but are dent-resistant. And so on.

  • Liam

    Jeep has been behind the times for decades. Many people would have bought Jeep Wrangler style vehicles but for the poor fuel economy and horrible rust problems these vehicles have.

    If they sold a diesel powered Jeep in the US, it would be a hit. Making it lighter is a smart idea. An aluminum body, or even a Monocoque frame and body like the new Corvette, would help too.

    Would people pay for this, even at very high prices? YES! Because such a vehicle would last indefinitely and be infinitely rebuildable.

    Where do people take Jeep Wranglers? Off road, in sand, mud, salt water, salted winter roads–at sort of abuse. If you could eliminate corrosion and couple that with a fuel efficient diesel, people would line up for months to buy one of these. Keep in mind fuel economy is more than the cost of fuel–it means range to go where there are no pumps.

    Give an option to toss out the rear seat and put in a huge fuel tanks–no danger there if it is diesel fuel.

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