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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
After a press release and a strongly-worded blog response by Gualberto Ranieri, Chrysler’s senior vice president of communications, it seemed as thought the battle between the automaker and with Swedish publication Teknikens Varld was all but over — until the magazine published new claims that prompted the brand to issue another response.
This isn’t supposed to be a problem anymore, but a Swedish publication found during its “moose test” that even at moderate speeds the Jeep Grand Cherokee is at serious risk for a potentially fatal rollover.
Diesel is quickly becoming a new option for car makers looking to have powerful, yet fuel friendly engines. Mercedes and BMW’s AMG and M, in house tuning divisions have announced future diesel vehicles catered for performance driving, and it looks like the SRT brand will be offering its own in the future.
For what seems like forever, North America has been left behind when it comes to diesel cars. Sure there are a few options, but nowhere near as many as our friends in Europe. In fact, according to the Automotive Industry Data Newsletter, 52% of all new car sales last year in Western Europe were diesel powered.
Diesel engines offer unique advantages, with plenty of torque making tiny power plants more useable in small cars, while making modest size engines a functional alternative to much larger gasoline ones in SUVs. Towing, after all, is not something hybrids are known for. Additionally, diesel engines can provide fuel economy closer to that of a hybrid, without any of the worries surrounding new technology; plus, there’s no battery pack compromising passenger or storage space.
With those advantages, not to mention a push by automakers to meet increasingly strict corporate average fuel economy standards, a slew of diesel models are set to arrive on our shores in the near future. If you’re considering the switch to diesel power, here are a few options you’ll soon be able to consider.
Armed with the “Queen of the Nürburgring” Sabine Schmitz behind the wheel, the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 attempted to portray itself as a serious performance machine by taking on the Green Hell.
The results may be a bit disappointing though, especially compared to its closest competitor that has ran the ‘Ring which is the BMW X6 M. The Grand Cherokee SRT8 turned in an 8:49 time, which compared to the X6 M’s 8:24 seems… a little bit embarrassing.
Nonetheless, SRT is happy with the results still bragging that the Grand Cherokee SRT8 is “one of the fastest SUV in the world.” Packing 470-hp under the hood, there’s no doubt the Grand Cherokee SRT8 is a great performer, it just might not be the most ideal vehicle to take on the Nordschleife without any other modifications.
The two-time 24 Hours of Nürburgring champion Schmitz however called the SRT8 a “house on wheels” that “just stuck” while she piloted it through the course.
In the Grand Cherokee SRT8′s defense however, it is faster than the Porsche Cayenne GTS and the Range Rover Sport V8 supercharged.
Watch the two videos of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8 at Nürburgring after the break.
Back in January, Jeep launched a competition called “Name My Ride.” It was set up to find the perfect name for Jeep’s latest special edition models.
Much to the company’s surprise, the contest drew in well over 100,000 entries from Jeep enthusiasts, with “Altitude” as the winning name.
Now Jeep is taking the name to new heights but releasing not one, but three models: the Grand Cherokee, Compass and Patriot Altitude editions. Each of these vehicles will receive some special treatment, which starts with the “blacked-out” look you see above.
The Grand Cherokee’s exterior gets a grille surround appearing in black gloss, and mesh grille texture in platinum chrome. A platinum chrome lower fascia applique completes the unique front-end appearance. Black headlamp bezels and a black liftgate light bar continue the theme throughout the vehicle’s exterior. It also gets 20-inch black gloss alloy wheels.
Inside you’ll get leather-trimmed heated front seats, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, a 9-speaker 506-watt sound system with subwoofer, iPod/MP3 connectivity, back-up camera, rear-park assist system, Keyless Enter-N-Go, plus Chrysler Group’s Uconnect hands-free communications system.
Available in six colors, this special edition Grand Cherokee will be available from May with a $35,595 starting price for 4×2 models and $37,595 for 4×4 models.
The Compass and Patriot get a similar styling treatment, albeit with 18-inch and 17-inch wheels respectively. Only four colors are available for the Compass Altitude edition with pricing starting at $22,190 for 4×2 models and $23,940 for 4×4 models.
The Patriot Altitude edition is also available in four colors and its pricing starts at $20,240 for 4×2 models and $23,275 for 4×4 models.
Jeep has seen a 34 percent increase in sales in 2012 and they are certainly hoping to up that figure even more with these new special editions. Pending success, maybe the Liberty and Wrangler will get similar treatment.
GALLERY: 2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee Altitude
GALLERY: 2012 Jeep Compass Altitude
GALLERY: 2012 Jeep Patriot Altitude
Calls for a recall of the 1993 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee have been redoubled after the release of a new report documenting the growing list of fatalities associated with the SUV.
The report, published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has added 14 more deaths to the SUVs total, resulting from fires that occurred in rear end collisions. In total, the Jeep from that era has claimed 284 people in 198 accidents due to the vehicle catching fire, says the Center for Auto Safety (CAS).
Jeep Grand Cherokees are at an unusually high risk of catching fire during these types of crashes alleges the CAS, due to the gas tank being located behind the rear axle.
The Ford Pinto was made infamous for a similar design that resulted in fiery rear end collisions, and CAS points out in a letter to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne that at the time of its recall the number of deaths associated with that car were relatively small, totaling 28.
The rather sensational letter asks Marchionne to act on this news and says, “Your predecessor as CEO of Chrysler once said that part of his decision to install airbags at Chrysler was the prospect of St Peter at the gates of heaven asking him about airbags in cars. Just as surely, St. Peter will ask you about fuel tanks in Jeep Grand Cherokees.”
In response Chrysler says that, “…rear impacts resulting in a fire are extremely rare. Rear impacts resulting in a fire occur no more often in 1993 – 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles than in peer vehicles, and the 1993 – 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles are at no greater risk of exposure to fire in rear-end collisions than peer vehicles. Accordingly, Chrysler Group has concluded that 1993-2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee vehicles are neither defective nor do their fuel systems pose an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety in rear impact collisions.”
The 1993 to 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee is currently under investigation by NHTSA but no recall has been issues.
[Source: Consumer Reports]
It’s official: The Chrysler Group has announced that a diesel variant of the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee will be offered in the North American markets and will be manufactured at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit.
The press release didn’t focus on just the Grand Cherokee Diesel announcement, as Chrysler also mentioned that it would be adding a third crew of workers and about 1,100 new jobs at the same plant next year. Unfortunately no actual details on the Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel have been released but it’s likely to be the same as the European version of the Grand Cherokee Diesel.
In Europe, the Grand Cherokee Diesel is powered by a 3.0L V6 CRD turbo diesel, one with 190-hp and 325 lb-ft of torque and another with 241-hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. Both are combined with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Look for more news on the diesel Jeep from the Detroit Auto Show next week.
GALLERY: 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee Diesel
The new truck will be getting the air suspension setup found in the Jeep Grand Cherokee, giving the truck a whole new level of riding comfort. The 2013 Ram 1500 will be getting plenty of new goodies with Dodge looking to enhance the trucks’ luxury department as well as some new tech toys. It’ll be making its debut at the 2012 New York Auto Show.
The company has already put together a Mercedes-Benz M-Class EV and the addition of the Jeep Grand Cherokee is seen as a logical step, since both vehicles share components and structure, meaning that for the Jeep, minimal changes are required for EV conversion.
Although not a great deal of information has so far been released regarding the Grand Cherokee EV, AMP says that the vehicle is being aimed at larger fleet customers rather than low volume clients. According to Jim Taylor, AMP’s chief executive, the idea is that fleets could “buy a new gas-powered step van for $30,000, or spend the same amount of money to convert an existing vehicle to electric power.”
Fitted with a 37 kWh battery pack, the electric Grand Cherokee is said to have a range of 100 miles, based on information released from AMP. Final pricing and distributors are expected to be announced during the vehicle’s unveiling in Detroit.
AMP believes that the Grand Cherokee’s reputation and capability will appeal to the generally conservative nature of fleet customers and the company is currently in talks with organizations such as Fedex and UPS, in an effort to secure them as customers.
AMP’s previous trial with the Chevy Equinox ended because GM didn’t offer any manufacturer support, however at this juncture it would appear that the Jeep deal shows signs of being far more successful. “We got no love out of GM,” said Taylor recently. “Chrysler answered the phone when we called for the first date.”
We’ve all heard the horror stories about women who take their cars into a mechanic to fix a minor problem, only to be charged outrageous fees for non-existent or small issues. A national news program went undercover to get the scoop. After placing hidden cameras at several dealerships, the show’s decoy was overcharged for service work.
The MSNBC “Today” show sent a producer with a functional, out-of-warranty 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee to five New York-area Jeep dealerships. Before sending her on her way, the network hired a mechanic to install a faulty air conditioning relay, so warm air would blow out of the unit. This problem would cost you about $100 to fix.
When the producer took her Jeep to four of the five garages, mechanics found the faulty relay, but they tacked on extra services to the bill. When the show interviewed third party repair experts, they said these extra services were considered unnecessary. At one dealership, the producer was told her air conditioning compressor had blown up and it would cost $2,000 to fix.
But hopefully some good will come from this news segment – Chrysler spokesman Gualberto Ranieri issued a statement to MSNBC: “I can assure you that we are investigating this case.”
[Source: Automotive News]
Chrysler is issuing a recall for a small number of vehicles equipped with the new 3.6-liter “Pentastar” V6. According to the automaker a total of 657 vehicles may be affected and could exhibit a loss of power as a result of manufacturing debris left in the engine.
Chrysler saw the problem was caught early on, but not until those 657 models had been shipped out. Models affected include the Chrysler 200, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Journey, Durango, Grand Caravan and Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Chrysler says it will be sending out letters to retail and fleet customers in October, but that the majority of the vehicles have yet to be sold.
The results for the most successful cars of 2011 so far are in. Automotive data and marketing solutions company Polk has calculated the results from the first six months of 2011 new vehicle registrations and have come up with the top picks for non-premium and premium models.
These results look at model-level performance and determine which ones are doing well so far this year. It’s also important to note that the March Japanese earthquake/tsunamis have had an impact on these results, and the inventory shortages for Toyota and Honda caused by the disaster have impacted the June 2011 CYTD (Calendar Year To Date) retail results for these brands.
Here’s a list of the winners so far, along with the June 2011 CYTD year-over-year improvements in new retail registrations.
1. Hyundai Sonata (+32%)
2. Volkswagen Jetta (+69%)
3. Ford Fiesta (not on sale in 2010)
4. Chevrolet Cruze/Cobalt (+178%)
5. Jeep Grand Cherokee (+170%)
Other non-premium models that performed well in the first half of 2011 include the Optima, Regal, 200/Sebring, Durango, Elantra and Equinox.
1. Cadillac CTS (+54%)
2. BMW 5-Series (+56%)
3. Jaguar XJ (+273%)
4. Porsche Cayenne (+178%)
5. BMW X3 (+276%)
An honorable mention goes out to the Volvo S60, another premium model that has performed well in 2011.
Fiat’s luxurious Maserati brand has plans to build its first Jeep Grand Cherokee based SUV at Chrysler’s Jefferson North assembly plant in Detroit. The eagerly anticipated concept version of the model will debut at the Frankfurt Auto Show next month.
CEO of Fiat and Chrysler, Sergio Marchionne, aims to expand Maserati and Alfa Romeo by drawing on Fiat and Chrysler’s combined size to boost profits. This is a very similar plan to what Volkswagen did with its production volume and Audi’s luxury to generate more than 40 percent of VW’s earnings from less than 20 percent of sales.
The vehicle will be based on the brand-new Jeep Grand Cherokee, but insiders have said it will be hard to spot the resemblance. The interior will be fitted with plush Italian leather as well as wood accents throughout the inside. Under the hood will be a Chrysler HEMI 6.4-liter V8 producing 465-hp. While Maserati already has their own 4.7L V8, the reality is that the HEMI already fits in the platform quite well and will help keep the cost of the vehicle down. The well regarded Fiat V6 diesel will also be available on the Cherokee platform.
[Source: Automotive News]
Bulgarian tuner Vilner is becoming quite the interior specialists, this time revisiting a Hennessey Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 600 project. The first time around was back in October 2010, when Vilner got their hands on the 600-hp, V8-powered Grand Cherokee after Hennessey had installed their performance package. This time around though, Vilner redid the entire interior with a similar red and black theme similar to the Jeep’s exterior.
On the inside, plenty of red and black Alcantara has been combined with black leather that is trimmed with red seams. In addition, Vilner designed and developed a unique steering wheel for the Grand Cherokee that they claim offers the best possible grip. The steering wheel can be personalized to the customer’s preference if requested and is wrapped with a similar Alcantara/leather combination.
For the exterior, Vilner modified the headlights with daytime LEDs and halogen diodes.
GALLERY: Vilner Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT 600
Ford is about to launch an EcoBoost powered Explorer SUV. The new EcoBoost engine is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder, with direct injection and a turbocharger and returns 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg highway.
The Ecoboost option will be limited to the front-wheel drive model only and have a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 pounds. The engine will produce 240-hp at 5,500 rpm and 270 lb-ft of torque at 3,000 rpm. The engine will be mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and only requires 87-octane at the pumps. Ford said the Ecoboost Explorer will cost $995 more than the regular V6 model.
Ford is quite proud of this engine boasting that its technology bests the Honda Pilot and Jeep Grand Cherokee by five mpg highway, the Chevy Traverse by four mpg and the Toyota Highlander by 3 mpg. The EcoBoost Explorer is currently being launched, so expect to see models in the showroom very soon. Given Ford’s success with the Ecoboost F-150, and the 2011 Explorer’s strong sales numbers, the Explorer Ecoboost should be a hit.
The New England Motor Press Association has voted and presented the ‘Official Winter Vehicle of New England Award’ to the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
During the winter, a side by side test compared 4×4 SUVs in winter conditions and found the Grand Cherokee to exceed expectations. Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Product Marketing, accepted the award and felt that the Grand Cherokee combines three different aspects better than the competition. He felt the Jeep excelled in luxury, fuel economy, and four wheel drive capability. John Paul, NEMPA Winter Vehicle Awards team leader said, “It handles everything mother nature can put in its way.”
The 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee comes in several trim levels including the base Laredo E for $37,995, the Laredo X for $42,995, the Limited for 46,995 and the Overland for 49,995. A 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar engine is standard with 290-hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The optional 5.7-liter HEMI V8 is also available as an option.
Gallery: Jeep Grand Cherokee
Check out the video after the jump!
A rather scary recall is creeping up for owners of Jeep‘s Grand Cherokee sold between 1993-2004. The recall is being demanded by The Center for Auto Safety, stating that a defective fuel tank design can cause the gas tank to rupture in the event of a rear-end collision. Adding fuel to the fire (sorry, we couldn’t resist) is Clarence Ditlow, executive director of the Center for Auto Safety stating that those affected Grand Cherokees are “the most dangerous vehicle[s] on the road today”.
Chrysler is putting up a fight though, stating that the Center for Auto Safety’s test was three times as severe as the government standard. The culprit is the fact that the gas tank is housed behind the rear-axle, something that was changed in the 2005 Grand Cherokee when Chrysler moved it in front of the rear-axle. Chrysler stated that it wasn’t for safety reasons but rather to increase the cargo space.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently investigating the claims.
[Source: Motor Trend]