Is it Too Late for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer?
It’s been a long time coming, and now that Jeep® has a five-year roadmap, we’re all starting to think a long time is too late. Just like consumers who think it’s a little late for the Fiat Chrysler Automobile Group to be going electric over the next five years, consumers, especially Jeep enthusiasts, think it might be a little too late for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, or even the Jeep Wagoneer to make a successful landing in the auto market. They say the “Goldilocks” era of Jeep is coming to an end … if that’s true, then a large Jeep from the past may not be in the cards after all.
Jeep Wagoneer Updates
Well, it seems like every year we learn a little more about the Jeep Grand Wagoneer (or Wagoneer) making a comeback to the automarket. For those that don’t remember, the Jeep Grand Wagoneer can be pictured below. Due to its wooden panels along the exterior and hand-carved wooden styling throughout the interior, the Grand Wagoneer was given the nickname “Woody”. It may remind some readers and consumers of the traditional station wagon seen in the classic “Brady Bunch” television show.
Production for the Jeep Grand Wagoneer died in 1991, but since 2016, Jeep has had the internet buzzing about a return of the Grand Wagoneer with a smaller Wagoneer model in tow. That was back in 2016, though. In 2017, we got a few more updates about the Jeep Grand Wagoneer being returned to its prime, able to tackle other SUV giants with its luxurious features and a classic yet modern aesthetic. What this meant for Jeep, especially in early 2018, was there was one vehicle class that has been ignored by Jeep for far too long – premium luxury cars.
“If I go back a few years, Grand Cherokee is positioned against [the BMW] X5. It was a premium position, and it should be rightfully in that place … I want to keep Jeep premium in the larger car segments.” – Mike Manley, head of Jeep Brand, during an interview with Top Gear at the Geneva Auto Show.
Now we’re getting somewhere. A Jeep Grand Wagoneer that doubles as a luxury vehicle? That’s a pretty tall order, given the wooden panel treatment the Jeep wagon is known for. Still, going premium would put the Grand Wagoneer a class above the Jeep Grand Cherokee and make the wagon a feisty competitor for Mercedes, AMG, and Porsche. Jeep does like competition, after all.
Where is the Wagoneer in the Five Year Roadmap?
So, when looking at our coverage of the new Five Year Roadmap for Jeep, there … really isn’t a whole lot of news about the Grand Wagoneer or Jeep Wagoneer. The duo is definitely on the roadmap, set to debut for real in 2021 or 2022. But, all anyone is talking about is the return of the nameplates, not the station wagon. What happened?
“I think our window of opportunity is closing. We could have killed with (the Grand Wagoneer) if it had been available when they first told us about it, but it’s a much tougher sell with interest rates and gas prices going up.” – Former FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne.
That quote is from the top dog himself, the one that’s been running Fiat Chrysler Automobiles for about a decade. That’s quite a different statement from back in 2011. It’s a complete 180-degree turn, and it’s startling.
“It’s time we gave the market an upper-scale Grand Wagoneer.” – Sergio Marchionne
What happened to the pzazz? The wonder? The confidence? What got in the way of the Grand Wagoneer?
Over the course of the last seven years, the FCA Group needed to pour money into their other auto manufacturer Alfa Romeo, then argued over what kind of vehicle the Wagoneer should look like for several years, and then realized the Fiat Chrysler’s North American manufacturing capacity doesn’t even have space for the Grand Wagoneer. Ouch, that last one could be a jab to the ego. Jeep shrunk things down for the new 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL lineup, but they didn’t do enough, and resources have spread thin.
The new Jeep Grand Wagoneer is set to get here within the next five years, but we heard the same thing seven years ago. Maybe it’s time to just let it go. Tell us what you think on Aventura CJDR social media.