Feasibility study underway now
We’ve known for some time now that Fiat Chrysler’s new Giorgio platform underpinning the Alfa Romeo Giulia would spread throughout the FCA portfolio, but now company CEO Sergio Marchionne has confirmed the next-gen Jeep Grand Cherokee will most likely move to that architecture.
At the Detroit auto show, Marchionne said that the Grand Cherokee, which currently rides on an old Mercedes-Benz M-Class platform, will be built on the Giulia’s Giorgio platform in order to amortize development costs for the rear-drive midsize sedan.
“The most natural application of a further evolution of the Alfa Romeo platform is the Grand Cherokee,” Marchionne told Autocar.
Marchionne also said that a feasibility study looking into the viability of a Giorgio-based Grand Cherokee SUV is under way now.
“We’re finishing off the study now, but I’m going on the basis of the latest information, which is that it will be the basis upon which the Grand Cherokee will be developed, unless something happens in the next 60 days that suggests it isn’t doable,” the FCA chief said. “That would really complete the story of architectural development for us because I think it would certainly nail in a big piece of the Jeep story.”
As we previously reported, the Giorgio platform is also expected to underpin the next-gen Charger, Challenger, and new Barracuda models. For the Charger, the switch to the more modern architecture could save nearly 500 pounds (227 kg) compared to the current model, which uses a chassis derived from the third-generation Mercedes E-Class.
The announcement comes as FCA reiterates its commitment to producing vehicles in the U.S., likely to preempt a targeted tweet from President-elect Donald Trump. The automaker reminded the world of its more than $1 billion USD investment in its Belvidere, Ill., and Toledo, Ohio, plants, which will produce Jeeps. That announcement was originally made in July 2016. FCA did, however, confirm that it will build the new Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs in the U.S., along with a pickup truck based on the upcoming Jeep Wrangler.