AutoGuide News Blog
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.
In an effort to curb spending, improve fuel economy and simplify its manufacturing process Chrysler introduced a new 3.6-liter “Pentastar” V6 engine several years ago, with a plan that it would replace up to seven other V6 engines.
With that plan now mostly complete, the next stage in development is to down-size that engine, with a new report that the next generation Jeep Liberty will receive a 3.2-liter version of that powerplant. Also expected as a part of the mix is a new 9-speed automatic transmission, which will help maximize the power available by the smaller displacement engine to help deliver performance that is on par with the larger engine, but with improved fuel economy..
Making anywhere from 283 to 305 hp, depending on the application, look for the 3.2-liter unit to deliver around 250 hp. Previously, Chrysler-Fiat CEO Sergio Marchionne had said the company was planning a smaller displacement version of the Pentastar V6 using Fiat’s Multi-Air variable valve timing technology, which uses hydraulic pumps rather than a cam on the intake side. While it isn’t yet clear if that technology will be used in this current version, if it is, power output could be closer to the 3.6-liter version, with improved fuel economy.
Look for the new Jeep Liberty to debut at the 2013 Detroit Auto Show next January.
Jeep has just announced that it will recall 209,724 units of its Liberty model, built for model year 2004 and 2005. However, the recall is only for States that are considered “Snow Belt” areas.
Why do these Liberty models have a problem with snow?
Because the recall is about rust, and the States that use road salt are more likely to cause a rust issue due to excessive corrosion.
The components that are of concern to Jeep and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) are the lower control arms, which can crack as a result of corrosion. Such a defect can effect the vehicles handling and could result in a crash.
NHTSA says that 21-States are included in this recall, and Jeep will start notifying and correcting this issue by April of this year. So far, 83 corrosion complaints have been reported, but thankfully no one has been involved in an accident or reported any injuries.
Jeep made a significant design change to the lower control arm in 2004. This part was manufactured by Global Automotive Systems, which is now part of DURA Automotive systems of Rochester Hills, MI.
If your vehicle is potentially affected, expect a letter of recall from Jeep very soon. All the repairs will be done free of charge for the owners of these vehicles. For more info, contact NHTSA at 1-888-327-4236.
The ongoing investigation into the unwarranted air-bag deployment of almost 387,000 Jeep Liberty SUVs has been upgraded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
The affect model years are from 2002-2003 and the investigation began when NHTSA received seven complaints from owners last September. Investigators now have 87 reports of either the driver or passenger-side air bags deploying without the vehicle being involved in a crash.
The random deployments of the airbags have resulted in 50 injuries including cuts, burns and bruises. The investigators currently believe that an electronic circuit that controls the air bag deployment “fails due to an electric overstress condition caused by a transient voltage spike” and triggers the deployment.
Chrysler recently told NHTSA that it had not been able to duplicate the issue even though they conducted tests that included exposing the system to various radio frequencies. Chrysler also stated that while its own investigation continues, it hasn’t yet determined the existence of a safety-related defect.
After announcing that the new Dodge compact won’t be called a Hornet, speculation began on what it will be named when it’s released. Even though it’s set to unveil at the upcoming Detroit Auto Show in January, Chrysler Group CEO Sergio Marchionne still isn’t hinting at what the new Dodge compact will be called, nor has he said what the 2013 replacement for the outgoing Jeep Liberty will be.
Both nameless models are the first two Chrysler Group vehicles based on a Fiat platform. It is known that the Chrysler Group trademarked Hornet, Dart, Duster and Camber on October 21st, and Camber is the only name that was never used in a previous vehicle.
The other vehicle, based on Fiat’s CUSW platform, is the 2013 replacement for the outgoing Jeep Liberty. Last week in Toledo, Marchionne noted that a decision hasn’t been made on whether to retain the Liberty name or to go back to Cherokee.
[Source: Automotive News]
The future of the Jeep Liberty will be revealed Wednesday when Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne will visit the Toledo, Ohio plant that currently builds the truck.
The new Liberty will shed its traditional off-road roots and move to a Fiat-based car platform. While the move to a crossover may anger traditionalist, Marchionne was apparently less than enthused regarding the Liberty’s lagging sales, especially compared to crossovers like the Honda CR-V. There is also talk of reviving the iconic Cherokee nameplate for the new car.
The new platform is expected to underpin as many as 8 future vehicles. Chrysler will invest $365 million in the plant and add 1,105 jobs.
[Source: Automotive News]
For some, it’s been a long time coming, especially as the current Liberty, despite a fairly recent refresh, is one of the oldest vehicles in the Jeep, or for that matter Chrysler portfolio.
Nonetheless, next week, CEO Sergio Marchionne plans to make an announcement on November 16 while touring the Toledo North assembly complex where the current model is built. It’s perhaps quite timely, for the plant is scheduled to build the last examples of the Liberty’s Dodge counterpart, the Nitro, next month.
The next generation Liberty will most likely be built off Fiat’s new CUSW architecture, which will underpin a number of next generation Chrysler group small and mid-size cars and SUVs. The current car is based on a traditional SUV platform suitable for the kind of hardcore off-roading that Jeep buyers expect, so a car-based platform would be a substantial break from the norm.
There’s also a possibility the name could revert to Cherokee (which current Liberty models are labeled in overseas markets). At present other details are scarce; nonetheless Chrysler is attempting to reassure local workers, along with state and local governments, that Toledo does indeed have a future, having declared that it plans to invest some $365 million in the facility, as well as creating 1,105 jobs to produce the next generation Liberty.
In the meantime, despite its age, the current model is still doing reasonably well in terms of sales, as orders are up some 34 percent through October this year.
[Source: Automotive News]
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating Jeep Liberty SUVs built between 2002 and 2003 for an issue regarding the premature deployment of airbags.
NHTSA said that they’ve received 7 complaints regarding airbags deploying without a crash, with 5 of these incidents having caused injuries. 387,356 vehicles are said to be affected by the issue.
[Source: Automotive News]
NHTSA is investigating some 370,000 Jeep Liberty SUVs due to potential rust issues involving the lower control arms. NHTSA has recieved 9 complaints so far regarding rear control arm failure due to corrosion, with two of the incidents occurring at speeds greater than 50 mph.
The Liberty has faced three previous recalls, in 2003 and 2006, totaling over 1 million vehicles. Corrosion issues, as well as ball joint failure, have plagued the Liberty throughout its life span. Chrysler was not available for comment.
[Source: Detroit News]
For some, the Easter Jeep Safari at Moab, where off-roaders from across the world to tackle the trails of Utah’s Red Rock country, is a big deal. So big, in fact, that Jeep is choosing the mid-April event to unveil six new models hopped up by Mopar.
These six models range from turning the mild-mannered Compass into something less embarrassing, to the sort of rock-crawling, nitrous-injected, rollover-prone monsters that crash in spectacular fashion on Youtube. There’s something for every off-road enthusiast in here—especially for those who may be forced to drive through a Camel Trophy trail on the way to dropping their kids off at school.
The Wrangler above is the wildest of the bunch: ready for rock crawling and off-road racing, Mopar jammed a 426-in aluminum HEMI in there good for 540 horsepower, 39-inch tires attached to custom driveshafts, and a full cage enveloping racing seats and a fuel cell. The other two Wranglers are “tamer” in comparison: the silver one is dubbed “Pork Chop” and is an exercise in weight savings, while the black Wrangler is a V8-powered Renegade that harkens back to the CJs of the 1970s.
For those that aren’t ready to go tearing up the rocks, Mopar also prepped some milder models, including a Grand Cherokee with skid plates and handsome 32″ wheels, and a Compass that’s actually Trail-Rated. The most interesting is the safari-ready Liberty, which is actually a diesel model from overseas where they still call it the Cherokee. White steel rims and questionable zebra striping add to the jungle-ready look.
Recently, Chrysler issued a recall affecting approximately 22,000 vehicles from model year 2010. Said vehicles include Ram 1500 1/2 pickups, the Dodge Nitro and Jeep Liberty SUVs, plus the Jeep Wrangler. The recall centers around the brake system on these vehicles, whereby the lines from the master cylinder to the hydraulic brake unit could fail, causing a loss of fluid and compromised braking ability, potentially resulting in accidents.
However, at the time of posting, Chrysler said it was unaware of any vehicle crashes relating to the problem. The recall is scheduled to begin at the start of August and dealers will inspect the brake lines on the affected vehicles and replace them for free if they are discovered to be faulty. Owners of the Dodge and Jeep vehicles affected can call Chrysler at 800-853-1403 or the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Hotline on 800-327-4236 for more information regarding the recall.
A pushpin that holds the Transit Connect’s headliner in place could come loose, a seemingly minor error that according to Ford’s statement on a NHTSA website, “…could exceeded head injury criteria requirements set by the standard,”. Ford said the safety recall for the Transit Connect is expected to begin “on or about” July 19.
Chrysler is recalling the aforementioned vehicles due to “defective brake tubes” that could lead to a loss of brake fluid. Anything involving the brake systems should be attended to right away, and owners should service this problem immediately, when Chrysler begins the recall in August.
Sometimes, okay just doesn’t cut it. Like when it comes to how well the roof of your midsize SUV holds up in a rollover. New results from the first roof strength tests on midsize SUVs conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that automakers still need to make improvements to these types of vehicles.
Out of 12 midsize SUVs tested, six earned the top rating of good for rollover protection, one came in at acceptable, and the last five earned the second lowest rating of marginal. Making the good grade are the 2010 Chevrolet Equinox (twin GMC Terrain) built after March 2010, Jeep Liberty (twin Dodge Nitro), Toyota Highlander and Venza, as well as the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Kia Sorento. Coming in at an acceptable rating was the 2010 Ford Edge. The midsized SUVs that didn’t fair so well by earning marginal ratings were the Honda Accord Crosstour, Honda Pilot, Mazda CX-7, Mitsubishi Endeavor, and Nissan Murano, all 2010 models.
“Midsize SUVs are a big group so we’re testing them in stages,” says Institute president Adrian Lund. “First results show that automakers are making progress in rollover protection, but it’s disappointing that a new design like the Crosstour didn’t perform better.”
Institute research shows occupants in vehicles that roll benefit from stronger roofs, and the IIHS has, in turn, based their rollover rating system on this information. In order for a vehicle to be rated as good, their roof must be more than twice as strong as the minimum required under the current federal safety standard. A rollover is one of the most serious crashes to be involved in, and this test is designed to help drivers pick a vehicle that will best protect them.
Stats show that nearly 10,000 people a year are killed in rollover crashes. These types of crashes are so deadly because as vehicles roll, their roofs hit the ground, deform, and crush. Since stronger roofs crush less, they minimize injury risk from contact with the roof itself.
[Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety]
Last week Fiat/Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne set out a long-winded plan for the future of the American automaker and how its future will be closely tied to its new Italian parent company. There was a lot to digest at the seven hour press conference and so we thought a model by model breakdown would be helpful and would shed some light on what appears to be the general plan to eliminate old Chrysler products and replace them with new Chrysler Group-branded Fiat models. So let’s start with Dodge…
From the smallest to the largest vehicles, Dodge will see the introduction of a subcompact car in 2013 based on the Alfa Romeo MiTo. Currently Dodge does not offer a sub-compact with its smallest offering being the compact Caliber, which receives a mild update this year but will be eliminated in 2012 and then replaced the same year by a Fiat Group-based vehicle. Presumably it will be another Alfa Romeo platform, however, the car will be built in the U.S.
Moving to the mid-size segment, the Avenger will also be updated for 2010 and then replaced by a Fiat Group platform in 2013.
The future for the Journey, Grand Caravan and Charger is more positive, with the Journey and Grand Caravan getting updates for 2010 with a new Grand Caravan due in 2014. The Charger will be all-new for 2011 with a new interior and exterior, after originally launching in 2006. A new rear suspension will also be part of the package. As for its Challenger sibling, it will be updated for the 2012 model year.
Two vehicles that will be eliminated are the Nitro and Viper, with the Nitro slated to be scraped in 2011 (with a possible successor), while the Viper will cease production mid next year with a potential sports car replacing it in 2012.
One new model will be added to the Dodge lineup; a seven-seater crossover based on the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee (pictured above).
The new Ram brand still won’t have a lot going on, although Fiat is looking to expand its offerings. The Dakota is scheduled to cease production late in 2011 with a possible unibody pickup to replace it. As for the Ram 1500, it will get a mid-cycle refresh in 2012, as will the heavy duty Ram trucks. A chassis cab version of the Ram will also arrive in 2010.
Two additions to the lineup include a front-drive small work van and full-sized van in 2012. The small van will be similar in purpose to Ford’s Transit Connect and will be based on the next-generation Fiat Doblo. It will be imported from either Turkey or Brasil. As for Ram’s new full-sized van offering, it will be one of two vehicles: either the body-on frame Iveco Daily or the unibody Fiat Ducato. Unlike the small van, this full-sized unit will be assembled in the U.S.
Starting in the small scale, the Chrysler Brand will also get a subcompact, although (surprisingly) it will not be based on the same Alfa Romeo vehicle as the Dodge sub-compact. Instead, it will be underpinned by the next-generation Lancia Ypsilon five-door hatch and will go on sale in 2013.
A new compact sedan (based on a Fiat Group platform) will be launched in 2012. It is not clear if the Fiat Group platform is the same one that will underpin the Dodge compact sedan. The same can be said for the Sebring, which, like its current Dodge counterpart (the Avenger) will get styling updates next year and be replaced by a Fiat Group platform in 2013.
As for the PT Cruiser, it will be eliminated late next year – although we’ve heard that one before.
The Chrysler 300, like the Dodge Charger, will be all-new for 2011 with the new model arriving some time next year. Styling is expected to be evolutionary, so don’t expect much change – which is probably a good thing.
And as for Chrysler’s final product, the Town & Country minivan, it will get updates next year with a new model in 2014. Fiat hopes to differentiate the Chrysler minivan from its Dodge counterpart by taking it more up-market. (Have we learned nothing from the R-Class?)
Finally, there’s the Jeep brand, where we’ve already learned the Patriot, Compass and Commander will be eliminated over the next few years. The first to meet the scrap heap is the Commander, with production ending late next year, while the Patriot and Compass will be get mild updates for 2010 before being retired in 2012. Interestingly, Fiat may build and sell the Commander overseas after 2010.
At the low end of the spectrum, a new subcompact SUV will arrive in 2013 based on the next generation Fiat Panda Cross, while a new compact crossover will arrive the same year based on an unnamed Fiat Group platform. A new Liberty will also arrive that year, again based on a Fiat.
As for Jeep’s core vehicles, the Wrangler will get a new interior next year, with a new engine offered in 2011. The Grand Cherokee will continue on as planned with the new model debuting next year as a 2011 model.
[Source: Automotive News]
To help boost sales Jeep has just launched the new Rocky Mountain Edition versions of the Patriot, Liberty and Grand Cherokee. This new trim level delivers $2,300 in options for an add-on price of just $1,595 over the base MSRP.
The Jeep Patriot Rocky Mountain Edition gets 17-inch wheels, a sunroof, a leather steering wheel with radio controls, “Rocky Mountain” badging and a uconnect tunes 30-gigabyte stereo with SIRIUS Satellite Radio and a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics audio system with a subwoofer and 458-watt amplifier.
The new Jeep Patriot Rocky Mountain Edition will also come with a monochromatic paint scheme in four colors including a new Optic Green Crystal Pearl.
The new Jeep Liberty Rocky Mountain Edition is based on the Jeep Liberty Sport model and gets 17-inch wheels, a power sunroof, tinted glass, “Rocky Mountain” badging, a uconnect tunes 30-gigabyte radio and speed control. It will be offered in Deep Water Blue, Bright Silver Metallic, Inferno Red and Brilliant Black paint colors.
The final model, the Jeep Grand Cherokee Rocky Mountain Edition gets many of the same options including 17-inch wheels, a power sunroof, a uconnect tunes 30-gigabyte Boston Acoustics sound system and Rocky Mountain badging. It also gets a 12-volt power outlet, chrome side moldings and heated front seats. Jeep will offer this model in Light Graystone, Bright Silver, Brilliant Black and now in Inferno Red.
“The new 2009 Jeep Patriot, Jeep Liberty and Jeep Grand Cherokee Rocky Mountain Editions add more value and features to our iconic Jeep lineup,” said Mike Accavitti, the Director of Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge Brands. “And with Jeep’s best-in-class legendary 4×4 capability, our new 2009 Jeep Rocky Mountain Editions are ready to make any adventure—from the snow-covered mountain trails to sand dunes at the beach—even more fun.”
Pricing is listed as $19,765 for the Jeep Patriot Rocky Mountain Edition, $25,355 for the Jeep Liberty Rocky Mountain Edition and $32,825 for the Jeep Grand Cherokee Rocky Mountain Edition. All three new trim models are available to order now with vehicles arriving in dealerships later this month.
More on the Rocky Mountain Edition Jeeps after the jump: