Yes, It’s a Jeep
The 2015 Jeep Renegade, which will arrive in showrooms later this year—showrooms literally around the world—is in some ways quite unlike any other Jeep ever developed and built. So explains Philip Jansen, Vehicle Line Executive, A/B Segment, Minivan & Current C/D Segment Vehicles, Chrysler, who was instrumental in the engineering of the new Jeep.
Most people associate “Jeep” with things that are manufactured in Detroit (i.e., Grand Cherokee) or Toledo (Wrangler, Cherokee).
The Jeep Renegade is going to be manufactured in at the Melfi Assembly Plant. That’s “Melfi” as in a city that is due west of Naples—and I don’t mean Florida.
This is a B-segment vehicle that, Jansen explains, has growing popularity in the U.S. market (think things like the Nissan Juke and the Kia Soul), but which is already massively marketed in Europe and which should have catnip appeal in China.
So one consequence of this being a vehicle for the world market in a way that other Jeep products haven’t been—yes, Jeeps are sold around the world already, but these Grand Cherokees and Wranglers were essentially engineered for the U.S. market, where their volumes are the greatest by far—is that the Renegade was developed by an international team, engineers from Italy as well as the U.S. working in a cooperative way to create a Jeep that would have internationally appeal and appropriateness (e.g., gasoline engines for the U.S. market; diesel for Europe; a nine-speed automatic and six-speed manual for the U.S.; a dual-dry clutch transmission for China—in all, there are 16 powertrain combinations, the most ever for a Jeep, again reflecting the global nature of the product).
But for all that, it is still, Jansen explains, a Jeep, a capable vehicle with best-in-class attributes, including the availability in the U.S. market of Jeep Active Drive, a full-time 4x4 system, and Jeep Active Drive Low, a full-time 4x4 system with a 20:1 crawl ratio. It offers a 30.5-degree approach angle, a 27.5-degree breakover, and 34.3-degree departure angle. There is up to 8.1 inches of wheel articulation.
“Yeah,” as they put it, “it’s a Jeep thing.”
Jansen talks about the Renegade—how it came to be and some of its notable features—in this edition of “Autoline After Hours.”
In addition to which, John McElroy of “Autoline,” Todd Lassa of Automobile, and I talk about GM CEO Mary Barra’s town hall presentation to global GM staffers based on the Valukus Report, as well as the 2015 Lincoln MKC, which the three of us had the opportunity to drive earlier in the week in California.
Design, materials, powertrain and manufacturing details about what is arguably the quintessential vehicle in the Jeep lineup.
The thing about the Wrangler Willys Wheeler: It is a toy for a grown-up boy.
Plenty of interior components are injection molded. But some companies—such as VW—are using a process for trim pieces that both mold a component and cover it in fabric in a single molding process. And it is coming to the U.S. in the not-too-distant future.