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Click above for big gallery of the current Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeep has a long and illustrious history with the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and that lineage will continue on, albeit with some modifications to remain relevant to the times. Unlike many of its closest rivals that used a body-on-frame approach (we're looking at you, Explorer), the Grand Cherokee has always been based on a unibody platform. But it looks like future Grand Cherokees will be moving on to a car-based platform rather than its own dedicated one. To retool for this new vehicle program, Chrysler has announced that its Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit will be getting a $1.8 billion renovation that should employ 400 new workers -- a boon for the weary Detroit-area economy.

While purists may not like the idea of a car-based Grand Cherokee, we can't imagine that Chrysler would make the mistake of alienating its vast army of die-hard Jeep fans by making its flagship product too road-biased. Remember too that the Grand Cherokee name has always been affixed to a model that's a bit less rough-and-tumble than other more hardcore Jeep models like the Wrangler. Expect to see the next-gen Grand Cherokee sometime in 2010. Thanks for the tip, Roger!

[Sources: Dow Jones Newswire, Automotive News - sub. req'd]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ok, back to the point. Smart move by Chrysler. Keep a popular vehicle online by meeting the changing times. The SRT8 version of this thing could go as low as 8 MPG. They are a nice vehicle and unlike many other discussions (Challenger, hybrids, Nitor) this one could go a long way to saving Chrysler. Id like to see the Cherokee go all H2ish and get bigger and badder off road as a niche vehicle.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Has it occured to anyone that every Grand Cherokee built since 1992 is unibody? LaSorda explained that the platform is a co-devel effort begun with Daimler before the DC divorce. Market research pundits in the industry identified it many months ago as a derivative of the current M-class. So, it won't be particularly small or light weight. If they can boost MPG by 10%, it will be an achievement. The followup product is expected to be a replacement for the Durango (name TBD). CLLC's Newark, DE plant that builds the current vehicle closes next year
        • 6 Years Ago
        I remember the old article you're referring to. If this new vehicle will replace the current Durango, don't you think a Jeep derivative will be planned from this platform too? It may make economical sense too...make 2-3 versions from one platform. If they do it right, they can have a rugged/adventure (Jeep) version, an everyday semi-rugged/great on-road (Dodge) version, and an upscale/luxury (Chrysler) version. Of course, all of these variations would have many distinct exterior & interior appointments throughout.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What platform could they use for this project? LX?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Okay, that makes more sense, TJ said below that "It's an all-new platform."
      • 6 Years Ago
      You know, I wouldn't mind seeing a new car-based (Grand) Cherokee using the dual-mode transmission for V6 & V8 versions of the new vehicle.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Chrysler needs to revive the Eagle nameplate for the IFS unibody models.

      They stopped being Jeeps when they lost the straight front axels.

      That's not to say they are bad vehicles with IFS, they certainly are class leaders in off road ability.
      • 6 Years Ago
      that's a bit less rough-and-tumble than other more hardcore Jeep models like the Wrangler

      beg to differ. yes, the 2WD versions are road ready but the 4x4 trail rated versions have always been built to take it all off-road, allbeit in more comfort than a wrangler and with extra friends.

      I will mourn unless they separate 2wd and 4x4 into 2 separate models. even then, I worry Jeep is diluting its image in the name of CAFE.

      bas tards, rat bas tards
        • 6 Years Ago
        I totally agree with the last line.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I guess this means no 500+hp 6.4L Hemi SRT Jeep for the foreseeable future.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Because unless the mopar boys have something up their sleeve, and unless Milous and all the other insiders are under a gag-order, all rumors of the 6.4 for this installation have been shelved due to the fuel 'crisis' and redirected toward product development focused on better fuel economy.

        Additionally, the 5-speed transmission used in the WK SRT (as well as the LX cars) is in dire need of an upgrade because spinning that engine @3500rpm at 75mph is a horrible waste. Hopefully they'll allocate funding to a solid replacement transmission not based loosely on the old E-class, and then continue finding (and funding) ways to scare the pants off non-suspecting M-car and AMG-car (and SUV) drivers.
      Michael D.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Whatever it gets, be it unibody or body-on-frame, I hope it continues to offer a Hemi! The Hemi has cylinder cut-off for decent mileage for it's size & output, and there's a hybrid version of the Hemi now available. The next Grand-Cherokee would be a fine candidate for the Hemi-hybrid.

      Remember too, the LX range - cars - has Hemis on the top end.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I thought Chrysler & Mercedes-Benz had been collaborating on a joint platform for the next generation GrCherokee, ML, R, and GL SUVs?

      If not, it would make sense to built a car-based GrCherokee knowing that 90% of those who purchase one never drive it anywhere remotely necessary for their most advanced off-roading 4x4 package.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Reading comprehension escapes so many people.
      • 6 Years Ago
      They need to bring back the XJ... Easily the greatest Cherokees ever made.
      • 6 Years Ago
      THE WORDS CAR-BASED WERE NEVER ONCE UTTERED. Unibody, yes. Car-based, no.

      stolen from 'bethlumboy' at Allpar:

      Direct quotes from Tom LaSorda:

      Regarding Jefferson North:

      "...a 1.8 billion dollar investment, a new line of SUV products, more fuel efficient products..."

      "We're building a couple of products... you can imagine it builds the Grand Cherokee today, so that's a big guess as to what it might be in the future, along with some others."

      "We're expanding the body shop, a new body shop, a flexible body shop system going in..."

      "It's major. A lot of major tooling, a lot of supplier tooling going into this..."

      "We're looking at this product, and maybe a few others to bring in there. It just fits our mold of what we want to do, and it's the last plant really that we want to put in flexible manufacturing for."

      "Well it's not going to be a truck-based product . It's going to be unibody construction. It's an all-new platform."

      "The new engine, Phoenix, will be going in this product."

      "It should be done by the end of next year and we'll be launching some new products during the first quarter, second quarter of 2010."

      Regarding international partnerships:

      "We'll be announcing some stuff hopefully by the end of the year, what we're doing in certain regions..." regarding international partnerships to enter new markets such as Russia.

      D-segment collaboration with Nissan:

      "That's all speculation... Tell them to keep speculating... Mark Chernoby... and his team are still working on the segment..."

      Sterling Heights's future:

      "At this point in time they are going to continue building the three products we have at that plant."

      Smaller vehicles:

      "We're having to do our own portfolio switch in our small segments. You'll see some other products entering that space. We're working on those products right now. And we may even partner with others to get some of the small products in other regions of the world."

      "Our own portfolio is growing big time in small cars."
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's been awhile since I worked at Chrsyer, forgive me.

        I stopped caring :D
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ benfolio

        thats funny, because that Yuppie Junk with a decent set of springs will outperform any old CJ, but you wouldn't dare say such words about the beloved CJ would you?

        irrational Purists make me laugh.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'll give you a hint... my name is not TJ, but my vehicle's name is.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Real Wranglers have round headlights, unlike that Yuppie Junk we used to have.
        • 6 Years Ago

        The steering column in the 300 will swap with the old E class. That's about it. The electronics (telematics?) are the same too. Even the suspension pieces had to be reworked for the 300. And not because Chrysler didn't have their own stuff ready to go. Count Daimler-cula insisted they use the parts to save money - then they overcharged them for it. They actually delayed the car by 12-18 months because of it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "I get so tired of the wrong info being slathered all over the interweb."
      "You got it TJ. Autoblog is getting a lot of stuff wrong lately."

      Ha! That's nothing. You should hang out at The Lies About Cars. They posted an entry that Dollar/Thrifty rent a car bought 85% of their cars from Chrysler because they were the cheapest fleet deals they could get. They had to be reminded by a commenter that they used so many Chrysler vehicles because they were once owned by Chrysler and spun off in 1997. And the commenter got his infomation from Wikipaedia where anyone with a brain could have looked it up.
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