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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.
Factory Built Off-Road Machines Battle for Your Love
We are back with this week’s installment of AutoGuide’s newest, interactive weekly feature “Commute, Toy or Destroy.”
Depending on how successful the sales are for the Grand Cherokee diesel, Jeep may bring a Wrangler diesel to market.
Judging from the series of releases at the Beijing Auto Show, China is far and away the most important market for global automakers. A trend first started by high-end luxury brands, Jeep is hopping on the bandwagon by introducing the Jeep Wrangler Dragon design concept, a China-market-exclusive vehicle that features a “dragon design” theme to commemorate the Chinese calendar’s Year of the Dragon.
“The Jeep brand is committed to China and therefore we must design and tailor our vehicles to the specific tastes and preferences of chinese consumers,” said Jeep Brand CEO and COO for Asia, Mike Manley.
Four Jeep Wrangler SUVs have been completely destroyed due to a fire, with eight total incidents having been reported to NHTSA. Most of the reports state that the fires began while the vehicles were moving.
In one instance however, the Wrangler was parked and running when it suddenly turned off. The owner attempted to restart the vehicle when someone outside started yelling fire. “Once out of the Jeep I looked under it and saw and unknown liquid burning down to the ground from the engine area. I attempted to extinguish the fire with water but I was unsuccessful. Within minutes it was a total loss,” the owner reported to NHTSA.
As a result of these troubling fires, the NHTSA has officially opened an investigation into the 2010 Jeep Wrangler.
Chrysler has commented that it is aware of the incidents, but luckily no injuries or accidents have been associated to the fire damage. 131,000 2010 Jeep Wranglers were sold in total.
The Moab Easter Jeep Safari gave us six new Jeep concepts last week that were exciting to see and gave us a sneak preview at what Jeep may have in the works for the future.
While speaking about the concepts was the main focus of CEO Mike Manley at the Moab Easter Jeep Safari, he also hinted at the possibility that the next-generation Wrangler might come in a diesel variant. At the end of the video highlighting the Moab Easter Jeep Safari models, Manley said, “For me as we think about how Wrangler develops into the future, there are a few things we get constant feedback on. One is diesel and one is pickup.”
And like most automakers that just slightly hint at future models, Manley elaborated that feedback is clearly taken into consideration as Jeep ventures down the early stages of planning for the next-generation Wrangler. It’s clear that Jeep is willing to listen to its enthusiasts on the next-generation Wrangler development, but that doesn’t always indicate what the vast majority of consumers would want.
Jeep Europe announced yet another special edition vehicle that will be making its way to the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. The Wrangler Mountain special edition will make its debut out in Switzerland and according to Jeep Europe is designed to “stand out.”
The special edition Wrangler features decals on the hood, a Mineral Gray front grille, and a black gas door. In addition, side steps were added to the special model alongside 17-inch wheels in a black finish. On the inside, the mountain theme continues with slush floor mats and fabric seats embroidered with mountain logos.
Two engine choices will be available for the Wrangler Mountain special edition, which is due to arrive at European dealerships starting in the second quarter of 2012. Buyers will be able to choose from a 2.8L turbo diesel with 197-hp and 339 lb-ft of torque or a 3.6L V6 with 280-hp and 256 lb-ft of torque.
At the 2011 Paris Boat Show, Jeep decided to debut their collaboration with design studio Style & Design with two variants of their Wrangler Nautic Concepts. The two companies worked together to show off two different Wrangler Unlimited concepts, one white and one black.
Both vehicles feature contrasting color-themed accessories, equipped with 20-inch wheels, a chrome grille, trunk opening with finished deck, running boards with finished deck and chrome door handles and trunk hinges. Further accenting the interior are navy wings sheathed in color-matched (for their theme) leather while the spare wheel cover also has been redone in its respective shade.
The interior features plenty of customized upholstery, one with Navy White while the other has been outfitted with Navy Black. The console dashboard and door handle inserts have the matching deck finish while the shifter gate and headliner have been redone in their matching color.
Both vehicles clearly draw inspiration from luxury yachts and come equipped with canvas awnings and canvas folding chairs. The pair of Wrangler Unlimited models is just another step towards the right direction as Chrysler continues to focus on the European market.
GALLERY: Jeep Wrangler Nautic Concepts
According to Advertising Age, a sister publication to Automotive News, Chevrolet‘s Cruze, Kia‘s Soul and Jeep‘s Wrangler are among America’s top 25 hottest products for 2011, alongside Dove soap, Arizona Tea, Goldfish crackers, Sharpie markers and the Forever 21 clothing chain.
There’s no doubting those three vehicles’ success, but we’d be willing to debate that they belong in America’s 25 hottest products. But nonetheless, the Cruze has sold more than 200,000 units as of October, which allowed it to surpass the Malibu as GM’s hottest selling model. Media spending by Chevrolet totaled more than $1.1 billion last year with a huge bulk of it towards marketing the Cruze’s 40-mpg fuel economy rating.
The good ‘ol Kia Soul has benefited from collaborating with stylish and hip hamsters, perfectly targeting younger buyers. Through October, Kia has racked up 405,095 in total sales, with over 85,000 of those being Souls. We’re not really sure if the Soul is a hot new product or if the hamsters are just that cool.
Lastly, Jeep’s Wrangler is Jeep’s best-selling vehicle with 101,820 vehicles sold through October. Their partnership with virtual Wranglers and the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 fans probably won’t hurt either. By bringing together live action and game footage, Jeep is clearly targeting a huge audience and perhaps a different market with their Wrangler. Jeep as a brand has had overall sales up 44-percent this year through October.
[Source: Automotive News]
The new 2012 Jeep Wrangler will be getting a new engine that provides better fuel efficiency with more power and torque. The new 3.6-liter “Pentastar” V6 engine improves fuel efficiency up to 21 miles per gallon, while delivering 285-hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The Wrangler will also receive a new five-speed automatic transmission to improve shifting and performance. The 3.6-liter Pentastar engine was the winner of the prestigious Ward’s 10 Best Engines award, and for the first time can be mated to a manual transmission. The new engine has 40 percent more horsepower and 10 percent more torque than the outgoing 3.8-liter V6.
“Jeep Wrangler – the most capable and iconic vehicle in the world – has a new heart but retains the same soul for 2012,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “Our new 3.6-liter V6 engine gives the ever-capable Wrangler a completely new, more refined on-road driving experience – complete with more fuel efficiency, power and torque”.
New colors also join the Jeep color palette for 2012, including “Dozer” yellow, “Crush” orange, a “Black Forest” dark green, a bright green “Gecko” and a blue-gray “Winter Chill”. Plus, look for a Moparized Wrangler Renegade to follow.
GALLERY: 2012 Jeep Wrangler
A Jurassic Park Jeep Sahara Edition Wrangler replica was up for grabs earlier on eBay and it looks pretty sweet. The graphics are painted on, instead of vinyl use, giving it better longevity. There’s even a pretty cool light bar that is still functional with each of the four lights being controlled by individual joysticks mounted to the dashboard.
The Jeep feautes a 4.0-liter I6 mated to a 5-speed manual transmission. BF Goodrich All-terrain tires as well as a CB radio antenna and rear orange fog lamps were mounted on top of the taillights. A very rare air conditioning option as well as an impressive list of parts also came included. The 1995 Jeep has 118,000 miles on it but the level of workmanship and maintenance performed on it make it worthwhilel.
How much did this piece of movie history cost? Only $9,000, which makes it a good choice of vehicle for those being chased around by hungry dinosaurs.
The Jeep Wrangler will finally get the Chrysler 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 for the 2012 model year. Since 2007, the Wrangler has used the 3.8-liter V6 engine, which replaced the bullet proof 4.0-liter inline six.
New transmission hardware has also arrived for the Wrangler as it will forgo the ancient four speed automatic for a five-speed unit. A little late in the game, as many automakers are upgrading to seven and eight speed transmissions.
Regardless of preference, the 2012 Wrangler’s powerplant will be identical to the units in the 2011 Grand Cherokee. The V6 should produce 290-hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. The 3.8-liter produced a meager 202-hp and 237 lb-ft of torque. Fuel mileage is expected to improve to 16-mpg city, 23-mpg highway from 15/19.
GALLERY: 2012 Jeep Wrangler
[Source: Toledo Blade]
For the Nissan Altima, NHTSA is responding to 20 complaints in regards to a possible brake issue though none of the complaints have resulted in crashes or injuries. As for the Jeep Wrangler, NHTSA has received 29 complaints (again, no injuries) in regards to the front driver’s air bag.
The Altima’s complaints consist of the brake master cylinder springing an internal leak which can cause the warning light to turn on. Those who ignore the light can eventually lose braking power.
The Jeep Wrangler is being investigated for issues where the front driver’s air bag can fail to deploy due to a broken electrical circuit. Of the 29 complaints, NHTSA has contacted 14 of those owners and six of them were right-hand-drive models, typically used by postal carriers.
[Source: Associated Press]
Looking to transform your Jeep Wrangler into something more fun? Hauk Designs is offering a huge collection of customization options for your Jeep Wrangler, allowing you to pick and choose exactly what you want out of your build. Hauk Designs will start with any 2011 Jeep Wrangler and transform it to a real rock raiding machine with performance packages that can push 850-hp if you’ve got a 7.2L HEMI under the hood.
Pictured is Hauk Designs’ Rock Raider, which can be applied to any 2- or 4-door Wrangler variant. Standard exterior options from Hauk Designs include a Master Designs heat reducing hood, 40-inch Toyo Open Country MT tires, 20-inch Raceline bead lock wheels, full under carriage skid protection, steel epoxy-coated bumpers with integrated license plate and winch mount, epoxy-coated high clearance steel tube fenders, waterproof winch with remote control, steel differential protection, Wild Boar fast-back T-Top hard top, LED headlights and taillights, fold-down tailgate with remote popper, rear steel crusher corners with integrated light housings, solid billet door handles and Baja Light Bar with Force 170 Striker lights.
For the interior, Hauk Designs offers an integrated on-board air system, Spod Electronic system control unit, integrated navigation with Bluetooth, epoxy-lined interior and PSC hydro-assist steering system. Suspension options are plentiful with Hauk mainly utilizing Teraflex Long Arm’s sport-tuned suspension components. But the customer is always right with Hauk Designs, so whatever you wish to run, you can just let them know.
Each build is unique from Hauk Designs, and they’ll sit down to find out exactly what needs and wants you have with your Jeep Wrangler. The result will be yours and yours alone, so if you’ve been looking to make that Wrangler more fun than ever – give them a call!
GALLERY: Hauk Designs Jeep Wrangler Rock Raider
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.
The 2010-2011 Jeep Wrangler has been recalled over improperly torqued front and rear axle fasteners, which could degrade steering abilities and cause an accident.
NHTSA says the 19 improperly adjusted fasteners could result in “noise, or ultimately, degradation in steering and handling characteristics.” Anytime there are loose bolts in the drivetrain is a problem, so Chrysler will inspect all fasteners free of charge.
The Wranglers affected were built between July 12th and September 10th, 2010. About 20,500 Wranglers are being recalled.
The diesel will be a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6, sourced from the Fiat mothership and built by VM Motori. It’ll come in two forms: one with 188 horsepower and 324 lb-ft of torque, and the other with 237 horsepower and 406 lb-ft, which also gets around 28 miles per gallon.
Meanwhile at Geneva, Jeep will introduce 70th Anniversary Editions of all its models, including the Wrangler, Wrangler Unlimited, Patriot, and Compass. The package includes exterior trim packages, brushed-aluminum door sills, 18-inch wheels, and some nifty badges; the interior will get Dark Olive perforated leather seats, shiny trim, and Berber floor mats.