More J8 (Military Wrangler Unlimited) Info
Date 2007/9/25 8:18:24 | Topic: Wrangler
|The Chrysler Media web site recently posted a short Q&A with 2 of their employees who recently returned from displaying (try to sell) the J8 at military shows in Europe. |
UPDATE: 12/14/07 - here's a link to a photo of the J8 from one of the trade shows in Eastern Europe.
High points from the article include the fact that the J8 has 3 times the payload capability of the production Wrangler Unlimited at 3,000 lbs. It also has an air-intake filtration device for desert use and reinforced bumpers that allow it to be picked up by a helicopter.
Dave Cushing (left) is manager of complete knockdown (CKD) operations, and Jack Robinson manages international markets in the Middle East and Africa. They recently got back from showing the Jeep J8 at military shows in Europe. Here's what they had to say.
Dave: The Jeep brand has been building military vehicles for about the last 10 years, mostly for the Egyptian army. With the advent of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, we found that we had a base that could serve both left- and right-hand drive and two- and four-door variations. With the Wrangler Unlimited’s long wheelbase, we saw the potential to serve many military customers around the world.
Jack: The Jeep J8 was actually designed for militaries outside of North America. That's why it has a diesel engine. However, the more we talked to various agencies, the more we realized there could be applications for the U.S. military operating outside North America..
Dave: The J8 is not a front line vehicle. We just spent a week showing this vehicle at military shows overseas and confirmed that there are many uses for a light utility vehicle like the J8 behind the lines. For border patrol, police activities, homeland security, radio communications command vehicles, data acquisition, or just for getting people around.
Jack: That's a great point. The J8 is a really flexible platform for military and civilian government applications: fire, police, ambulance, rescue vehicles. This vehicle has an awful lot of uses for behind the front lines. It has applications for the governing agencies worldwide, ambulances, and rescue squads. We think it is a very flexible envelope.
Dave: From the outside, the J8 looks very similar to a Wrangler. However, the payload of a production Wrangler is a little less than 1,000 pounds. The payload of the J8 is 3,000 pounds. We’ve learned that many potential customers will still want these vehicles armored. With its payload, that won't pose a problem.
Jack: Aside from the difference in payload, it's got front and rear bumpers that have been beefed up so you can actually pick the vehicle up with a helicopter. It's also got an air filtration device that filters out sand and dust for five hours in blackout conditions.
Dave: The two-door and four-door versions of this vehicle are built on the same 116-inch long wheelbase chassis. That's the same as the four-door Wrangler Unlimited. With the two-door J8, the added wheelbase provides almost a pickup-like bed in the back that can carry equipment and people. One question we answered often was whether we have the capability to sell this vehicle in the United States. The diesel engine in the J8 does not meet the stringent U.S. 2009 emissions requirements. We're investigating the potential of doing a J8 with a gas engine. But as much as people would like to see it, there are no definite plans to bring this vehicle to the U.S.
Jack: We didn't leave Europe without getting a lot of calls from enthusiasts in Poland and the UK asking if they could get one.
Dave: Hey, it's got the Dana 60 axle in the rear that offroaders love. And people love the way it looks, especially its wide, low stance. We both work in international, but we’ve been talking to our domestic counterparts and telling them we've got a pretty interesting vehicle by the tail.
Jack: We’ve also had a lot of backdoor interest in commercial use for this vehicle—for construction workers, farmers, some in mining operations and those in utilities. We're working on putting a business case together to do that. But so far, there are no plans to do anything aside from launching the Jeep J8 next spring for military and civilian government customers.