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LibertyPossible 'stretched-Wrangler' in 2004?
Posted by mike on 2002/10/10 0:00:00 (740) reads

The Toledo Blade is reporting that a stretched version of the Wrangler might be on the way in 2004

From The Toledo Blade:

Chrysler is studying whether to make a "stretch" version of the Jeep Wrangler in 2004 in Toledo and whether to increase production of the local plantís hot-selling Jeep Liberty, moves that might create hundreds of jobs and return to work those who have been laid off.

Nick Vuich, United Auto Workers Local 12 leader at the Toledo Jeep Assembly Plant, told The Blade yesterday that he has been in discussions with DaimlerChrysler AG about the possible production improvements.

The prospects come as Jeep workers tomorrow are to be briefed by union leaders about a new one-year contract with Chrysler. The pact includes pay and pension increases and other gains, but did not bring the plant a third vehicle and added jobs as the union had hoped. Still, company officials did talk about making different versions of the plantís existing sports utility vehicles, which could create jobs, Mr. Vuich said.

Voting on the tentative agreement is scheduled for Tuesday.

Chrysler officials declined yesterday to comment about prospective products beyond the 2003 model year or possible production increases at Toledo Jeep.Toledo Jeep engineers recently studied a prototype Wrangler with a wheelbase longer than the current 93.4 inches, reminiscent of the Jeep Scrambler made from the mid-1970s to mid-1980s, Mr. Vuich said. They took measurements to determine whether it could be made with equipment at the plant, he said. Wranglers are built and painted at the Jeep Parkway factory and then finished at the Stickney Avenue factory.

Chrysler wants different versions of the two Toledo-made Jeeps, and a Wrangler with a longer wheelbase has monopolized discussions for that SUV since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Mr. Vuich said. It could be sold to both the military and consumers, he said. The design has not been finalized, however.

"Theyíre just looking at different versions of that," Mr. Vuich said.

For the plant, he said, the extra-long Wrangler likely would recall some laid-off workers and might restore a second shift at Toledo Jeep, which lost the afternoon shift last year when production was scaled down for the Wrangler. The number of workers needed would depend on how many of the "stretch" vehicles the company wants to make, and that detail has not been finalized, he added.

The three-factory plant has about 3,800 workers on a given day. About 550 longtime workers are laid off but can rotate into job shifts every few weeks while more senior employees are voluntarily idled. Plus, another 600 workers are on layoff who were hired temporarily to help out while others were trained at the new Jeep factory on Chrysler Drive that makes the Liberty.

For Jeep customers, the possible new Jeep might have appeal.

Off-road enthusiast Joe Cashen of Eunice, La., who spent $40,000 for a custom-built Wrangler with a 112-inch wheelbase, said he approves of a factory-made stretch version. Mr. Cashen and his wife, Jackie, own a 1997 Wrangler and plan to tow their new extended rig - which has a freezer in back as well as rock guards, 33-inch tires, and other off-roading gear - with more camping supplies behind their motor home when theyíre not on a trail.

"My wife and I just canít believe what it looks like," the businessman told The Blade yesterday while waiting for the custom job to be finished at American Expedition Vehicles in Missoula, Mont. "My biggest worry is keeping the thing from my three sons."

American Expedition owner David Harriton said he canít keep up with demand for stretch Wranglers and customizes about 70 a year for up to $80,000 each, including the price of the Jeep. Chrysler, though, will have to determine whether a stretch Wrangler will add sales or take them from current Toledo-made models, he said.

"Itís definitely something an enthusiast really wants," Mr. Harriton said. "They would definitely sell them. Itís a great car. Itís fantastic."

Be sure to check out the entire article.

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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: JASON
here is my comment BOTH YOU GUYS MAKE VERY GOOD POINTS. BUT I REALLY DONT SEE THE NEED TO CHOOSE ONE STYLE OR THE OTHER. THE SHELL OF THE VEHICLE IS THE LEAST EXSPENSIVE PART OF THE PRODUCTION. THEY CAN MAKE MANY VARIATIONS AT A SMALL COST BY USING THE SAME FRAME AND INNER WORKINGS. BY THE WAY ,I DID LIKE SOMEONES COMMENT ABOUT A REAL TRUCK! NOW THATS WHAT THIS MARKET IS REALLY MISSING! I KEEP HOPING SOMEDAY THAT DC SITS DOWN AND READS THIS STUFF.ITS TIME TO BRING BACK A REAL PICKUP TRUCK , THE J-SERIES!!!!!!!!!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jon E.
wow scramblerken i never though of it like that. thats a really good idea though!! the reason AMC stopped making the scrambler is because it wasnt selling very well, but it really doesnt have to sell well if jeep gets the military contracts!! your right about the hummer, it isnt economical at all, and can carry the same amount of people of an MB(4) depending on what body they choose for it. man i really hope these cars go into production.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: rich
You make alot of good points and obviously
you know your stuff. I also don't think the Scrambler idea is viable. Most truck folks
are driving F-150's, Chevy's, etc. and want
the serious payload.
The new trend in suv/pickups, especially
smaller types, like that new rehashing of the
"Brat", don't look like long term models to
me.
But I disagree about the Dakar. I think its
a departure from the Liberty, especially if
they market it as well as Nissan did with the
XTerra. Though with the current glut of SUV's
it may get lost, or possibly be too similar to the Liberty, to some consumers.
The Wrangler is the flagship of the Jeep line.
It shouldn't have been so neglected. A more
practical,ie, cargo space, passenger room, etc.,
should have been produced long ago.
Almost every Jeep enthusiast has been looking
for this option for years. lots of buyers need
more room for camping, fishing cargo etc. More
room for rear passengers, while maintaining the
rugged off road, stripped down look of the Wrangler

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: XJGary
I just hope they actually make it, and that it is offered with the Rubicon option. I'd love to also see the Jeep turbo diesel offered. The streched TJ is way overdue, especially since they dumped the XJ Cherokee.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: rich
Hello?! Hello?! Chrysler, you in there!
It was called the CJ6 in the 70's It
would have been called the Dakar in the 90's!
Either produce the Dakar, or visit AEV in
Missoula, they've been cranking out vehicles
that Chrysler should have considered years
ago!
Maybe they can show tour designers what real Jeep
buyers want. These vehicles would kick The Hummers
and XTerras collective asses!!!
By the way,they can produce a Scrambler, but
everyone else and their cousin is doing a
ripoff of that, and consumers want more
passenger and cargo space!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: bud
I just hope they make it too, base with few options. I'd buy the diesel, if offered. Who needs speed off the line, make up for the MPG and give the low end power we want anyways.

Cheers,

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: MalcomXJ
"In addition, our military has found out that the Hummer is not always the perfect vehicle."

True. My brother was a Ranger at Ft. Benning (GA), and his experience with the Hummvee is an interesting one. In the field, the Hummvee can be a handful due to it's long wheelbase. For many situations, they actually preferred the Land Rovers made available to their units because it was less prone to center out and get stuck, and was considerably easier to get through brush. The Hummer is an awesome piece of equipment, but there's clearly a need for a short-wheelbase (relatively) go-anywhere vehicle. DC has an opportunity here, and I hope they take it.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: ScramblerKen
Rich, you are right there are plenty of small pickups out in the market, but as Stephan points out, the Scrambler fits a different need.

Back in the 70's, there was several of the 'personal truck' type of vehicles (Subaru Brat, VW rabbit pickup, Rampage, etc.). Most of these are long gone, but they gave consumers an alternate to the pickup variety of the time. They are handy for a typical suburbanite that needs to get several bags of dirt but does not want to mess up the trunk of his/her car.

These vehicles were not so big that they took up your driveway, and they made a nice second car for the family. When I go back and forth to work, itís just me in the car. On the weekends, I usually run to the hardware store, etc., and a small truck would be handy. My wife and I will be empty nesters in the very near future; hence we don't need all the passenger space.

The Scrambler fits that, and in addition, it is a convertible, and a great off-road beast. None of the other small trucks currently available can offer this. Not everyone needs the club cab or 4-door versions of small pickups.

Obviously, this is a unique niche, and this would not be appropriate for everyone, hence that is why I say if Jeep has reasonable expectations, and markets this correctly, then this would not be a bad idea. To me, Jeep has always been a good niche auto company, not a mass appeal one. The Wrangler is definitely a niche market, so why not capitalize on it.

In addition, our military has found out that the Hummer is not always the perfect vehicle. Hummers can go anywhere, but they are expensive to own and operate. In some other countries, the Hummer is too big for the streets. Also, it is easier and more economical to transport several Wranglers on a plane then a bunch of Hummers.

The Scrambler type of vehicle is very handy for our military (as well as other countries). It is a solid off-road truck with a nice platform to mount or haul all kinds of equipment. Its not a great people mover, but the vehicle is low cost, and easy to maneuver on small roads.

I think if Jeep can get enough military contracts, and with proper marketing, a Wrangler pickup could be a winner.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: rich
Scrambler Ken
You're probably right about the Dakar.
But I'm bot impressed with the shots
I repeatedly see of the extended TJ.
I really dob't think Jeep will go for
a pick up style Jeep.
We already have a glut of small pickups
that are doing well. Frontiers, Dakotas,
etc. all offer atleast 4 passenger space!
A Scrambler knock off, once again, allows
only 2 passengers and not much of a cargo bed.
Jeep seems to have a phobia of passenger space in its vehicles, like Wranglers,and even the older
Cherokees!
XTerra discovered alot of people that might have bought Jeeps to live their "X-Games" lifestyle,
real or imagined, but opted for the XTerra, which
has plenty of storage and not all the incredible
creature comforts Soccer Moms crave.
Even those crappy KIAs have more space inside.
Why were people paying $40,000 for a Defender,
when the Jeep cost less than half that? It looks
cool, and had a bit of space.It also had the off road cache the Jeep shared, though few would ever need it

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jon E.
instead of a streched wrangler, DC should remake another foward contol Jeep. this would be a great worktruck, and since its built on the same chassis and has the same engine as the TJ, it will keep the cost down. It will be a hot seller(which is all that DC cares about) beacuse of its origionallity and its utility.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Where are the old posters?
If they build a 4 door Wrangler I'd but it, I would never buy a Liberty

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Stephen
I owned a Jeep Scrambler. It was a near ideal
urban convenience vehicle. For one who does
not care to own a pickup or larger SUV type
vehicle, the extended wheelbase Wrangler is
just logical. Being a Jeep, I continue to enjoy
the rock solid reliability and roadworthy ride.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jordie
Here are a couple images of the TJ Scrambler that was at Camp Jeep:

http://images.jailyn.com/TJScrambler.jpg

http://images.jailyn.com/TJScrambler1.jpg

(cut & paste the addresses)

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: ScramblerKen
Rich,

I would love to see them build the Dakar, but I don't think DC management will allow this in the U.S. Possibly a version of this might be made for 3rd world countries. There has been talk about building a pickup, 4-door, and traditional Wrangler for China.

I doubt the Dakar will be made for the U.S. based on what happened with the Cherokee, and since the Liberty sales have been strong. If the Liberty was a flop, then things would have been different. I agree, the flagship has been ignored by DC, but unfortunately, the average consumer is not interested in real SUVs.

Sadly, SUVs in the U.S. are becoming giant grocery carts. Auto manufacturers are being convinced that most consumers want less truck features in SUVs, so the current crop of soccer mom cars have flooded the market. Hopefully, we can convince Jeep to at least continue to build the Wrangler in a true SUV form.

As far as a pickup version of the Wrangler, I still think there is a market for one. Jeep has to be realistic with how many they will sell. Some of the other keys to making this a success is when marketing such a beast, do not compare it to other pickup trucks. Like you said, if you really want to haul, you are going to buy a real truck.

On the other hand, Ford has been successful in selling the Ford Ranger with the step side pickup box. You obviously don't buy one of these to haul lots of equipment. I think if Jeep targets the little pickup at this type of crowd, they might have a chance.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: ScramblerKen
If you were at camp jeep, you would have gotten a chance to see a couple of the stretched wrangler prototypes. The Jeep engineers brought them out to get customer feedback. Jeep has some serious engineering work to do for the 2004/2005 Wrangler, which is why there is an opportunity for Jeep to produce a stretched Wrangler. 2005 vehicles will have to meet tougher side impact laws. This is why we are seeing many vehicles that are offering side air bags. Jeep is either going to have to replace or do some serious re-engineering to meet these standards. This could be a mixed bag of good and bad news.

As far as the prototypes, there is going to be a tough sell for management to approve any of these.

Dakar. This model is very unlikely, since size and cost, this would be too similar to the Liberty. Even though technically, these vehicles are very different, if you parked them side-by-side, the average consumer would not know much of a difference. Marketing and the Ďbeaní counters will ensure this model does not get produced. Remember, the Cherokee was supposed to be around a few more years after the Liberty was introduced.

2-door 4 passenger stretched version as seen at camp jeep is also not likely to be built. Besides some potential structural issues with the removable hard top, the top is a bit long, and many consumers would have difficulty with this. All you need is some bozo getting hurt trying to take the top off and suing Jeep.

The pickup truck version shown at camp jeep has a chance, but it will be a tough battle. Marketing and the bean counters will be quick to point out that the CJ6 and CJ8 (scrambler) were poor sellers. There were only 27,000 some scramblers ever built during its 6 year run. In addition, a Wrangler pickup truck is very small, and not all that practical in performing the duty of hauling sheets of drywall or any large items.

If Jeep is successful in getting several military contracts both here and over seas, then the possibility of this vehicle coming to production is much greater. I also think Jeep needs to do some smart marketing. Personal trucks are coming back in fashion, and Jeep would have one of the only convertible models available.

As far as the Rubicon version and the in-line 6-cylinder engine, these might disappear after this year. If the Wrangler TJ were replaced, I would expect the V-6 from the Liberty to replace the in-line 6. DC has been pushing to reduce the number of engines and transmissions they produce. Now there is a chance the V-8 from the Grand Cherokee may get offered in the Wrangler (the V-6 is basically the V-8 from the grand less 2 cylinders), but I doubt it.

The Rubicon model has a tough battle as well. If the TJ is heavily changed or replaced, some of the equipment that makes up a Rubicon model might not be adaptable. In addition, many Jeep owners comment that they can build up a basic Wrangler better than the Rubicon. If sales of the Rubicon model are light, I donít expect to see the Rubicon around long.

Donít get me wrong; I really, really want Jeep to make a Scrambler type Jeep again. I think there is a market for such a vehicle, but unfortunately, there are some serious hurdles in its path. Letís hope for the best.



Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Stock Tias
If they build it...... I will come

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jon E.
yes!! my dreams have finally been answered!! a stretched TJ is perfect, and a great improvement over the CJ6 or even the CJ8 scrambler because the long TJ will have the Quadra Coil suspention!! i know that AEV already makes them but iv been to the website and they sell in the 30K range, which isnt to good. i hope they makes this a back to basics Jeep like the scrambler, but with DC running the show, expect lots of stupid bells and whisles, and no bare bones models. :( oh well. i hope they call it the TJ-8 scrambler instead of streched wrangler.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: rich
Hello?! Hello?! Chrysler, you in there!
It was called the CJ6 in the 70's It
would have been called the Dakar in the 90's!
Either produce the Dakar, or visit AEV in
Missoula, they've been cranking out vehicles
that Chrysler should have considered years
ago!
Maybe they can show tour designers what real Jeep
buyers want. These vehicles would kick The Hummers
and XTerras collective asses!!!
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