- The redesigned 2018 Jeep Wrangler will focus on fuel economy and weight reduction, according to Mike Manley, president and CEO of the Jeep brand.
- Innovations in vehicle structure and engines are expected to boost MPG without hurting capability.
- "We have to make sure that vehicle survives," Manley said on Thursday at a Chrysler product event.
CHELSEA, Michigan — Jeep boss Mike Manley said the automaker needs to find innovative methods to reduce weight and boost fuel economy in the redesigned 2018 Jeep Wrangler in order to meet stiff MPG regulations without weakening capability.
In a wide-ranging interview with reporters during a Chrysler product event at the proving grounds here, Manley said the company is attempting to boost Grand Cherokee production, expects Land Rover to develop a new model targeted at Wrangler and said the Jeep Cherokee is a candidate for a diesel engine.
Chrysler Group is in the process of developing the redesigned Wrangler, focusing on fuel economy, weight reduction and capability, he said.
"We must be innovative in terms of what we do for the next Wrangler because clearly we have to make sure that vehicle survives into the future," Manley said. "It is vital for the brand."
Federal regulations require automakers to boost the fuel economy of their vehicles annually through 2025.
The 2014 Jeep Wrangler 4WD with a 3.6-liter V6 engine and either a six-speed manual transmission or five-speed automatic transmission returns 17 mpg in city driving and 21 mpg on the highway, according to the EPA.
"You will see continued improvements in powertrains," he said. "It is a major focus for us. We have a lot of experts working on this project."
"There will be no compromises," he said. "It has to be its own architecture. When I think about the next-generation Wrangler at this moment in time, we are the benchmark, so I want to push the benchmark even further."
Manley expects Land Rover to develop a vehicle that is targeted at the Wrangler.
"I have no doubt that Land Rover will come into the fight with a product," he said. "They are an incredibly well-known brand on a global basis. It would be incredibly naive of me to not watch Land Rover very closely."
He did not suggest a possible time period for such a move.
Manley said a diesel engine will be considered for the Jeep Cherokee when the diesel take-rate for the Grand Cherokee doubles. It currently stands at 8 percent.
"I never rule anything out in terms of diesel for the Jeep brand," he said.
Edmunds says: The redesigned Jeep Wrangler likely will be a win-win for consumers — higher MPG without any trade-offs.