For many off-road enthusiasts, the popular Jeep Wrangler has been a last bastion for simple, rugged, all-terrain SUVs, amidst a sea of evermore car-like crossover vehicles. That rugged nature isn’t expected to change, but it will be a bit more high-tech in the coming years. It’s been confirmed that the next-generation Jeep Wrangler, which is set to arrive in 2017, will indeed bring with it both hybrid and diesel-powered variants. The stunning news comes courtesy of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ (FCA) updated business plan for 2014-2018, released on January 27th. According to the presentation, both variants will be limited to the four-door Wrangler. More fuel efficient next-gen powertrains and mild hybrid systems are the first to arrive, and will help meet post-2018 fuel efficiency requirements, followed by a Wrangler diesel. An even more efficient Wrangler hybrid electric vehicle is also planned, which aims to meet 2022 standards. RELATED: It's Official! The Jeep Wrangler Pickup is Happening
The recently debuted 2017 Chrysler Pacifica, which replaces the long-lived Town & Country, will ready its plug-in hybrid variant within the next year, and the hybrid treatment also extends to the Ram brand. The next-generation Ram 1500 will net a mild hybrid setup, as well as more efficient gas powertrains.
The impetus behind these changes can be traced to one of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ biggest obstacles—federal fuel efficiency compliance, which ramps up over the coming years. By 2021, the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards climb to 41 mpg, and by 2025 they’re planned to reach 49.7 mpg. For an SUV and truck powerhouse like FCA, this means cutting back the emissions of its best-selling Jeep and Ram products.
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The updated business plan also revealed a few other high points. Riding atop a wave of cheap gas and heavy demand for Jeep and Ram vehicles, the company will significantly shift its focus toward truck and SUV production. In fact, current supply has yet to meet demand for the Wrangler, Ram, and Grand Cherokee nameplates. By 2018, FCA expects to shift a whopping two million Jeeps globally each year.
However, the report isn’t without its blemishes. The Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200 are expected to bow out in the coming years, as sedan demand continues to spiral downward. The plan does suggest that future production of FCA compact and midsize sedan entries could be shifted onto another automaker, in order to cut costs and better meet demands.
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