Jeep has delayed its upcoming quartet of large SUVs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
These include the next Grand Cherokee, an unnamed large three-row SUV, and the even larger Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has confirmed the updated production timings of these models as part of a COVID-19 operational update released with its second quarter financial results.
First Jeep off the rank is a “three-row, full-size SUV”, for which production will begin in the first quarter of 2021.
This new line is expected to be based on the next-generation Grand Cherokee, and FCA has previously confirmed it won’t wear the Grand Cherokee name.
The as-yet unnamed seven-seat SUV will feature a longer body to better accommodate its third row, much as the current Dodge Durango uses the Grand Cherokee’s platform but features a 254mm longer body and unique styling. It’ll be larger than the Chinese-exclusive Grand Commander, currently Jeep’s only three-row SUV.
The late Sergio Marchionne confirmed in 2018 both the new Grand Cherokee and the three-row SUV would use a version of Alfa Romeo’s Giorgio platform, currently underpinning the Giulia and Stelvio.
The next Grand Cherokee will arrive after its three-row sibling, with production starting in the third quarter of next year. That will bring the ten-year tenure of the current WK2 series to an end.
Though FCA refers to both the Grand Cherokee and the new three-row SUV as E-segment offerings, it also calls the latter “full-size”. That’s an appellation typically reserved in the US for jumbo SUVs like the Nissan Armada (Patrol) and Ford Expedition – a Grand Cherokee there is considered mid-sized.
Jeep will soon have its own jumbo SUVs, the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, to sit atop the range. These F-segment models are set to commence production in the second quarter of 2021 and will reportedly share their body-on-frame underpinnings with the Ram 1500.
The two upper-large Jeeps will be produced alongside the Ram at the Warren Truck Assembly in Michigan. The plant is currently undergoing retooling to accommodate the new models, which was previously scheduled for the second quarter of this year.
Both resurrected nameplates have a rich heritage. The Wagoneer name was first introduced in 1963 as a SUV counterpart to the Gladiator pickup, and was last used on a posh version of the XJ Cherokee. It was discontinued in 1990.
The Grand Wagoneer was based on the larger SJ Cherokee. In its heyday in the 1980s it boasted a customer base with the highest median income of any American vehicle’s buyers. It was discontinued in 1991, though Jeep briefly used the name on a posh version of its first Grand Cherokee.
By resurrecting the Grand Wagoneer nameplate, Jeep may be looking to peel buyers away from upper-large SUVs like the Cadillac Escalade and Lincoln Navigator and potentially even models from European brands like the BMW X7.
Fiat Chrysler Australia has yet to confirm whether the Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer and Grand Cherokee-based three-row SUV will come to Australia, or when the Grand Cherokee will arrive here.