Michael Manley sat for an interview with the UK’s AutoExpress at the Paris Motor Show. Along with Jeep announcements for Europe and the UK, Manley talked about the return of the Jeep Grand Wagoneer, and where it might be priced. “I don’t think there’s a maximum price ceiling per se for Jeep,” he said.
The Grand Wagoneer is expected to return for the 2018 model year. No official photos have been released just yet, but today, Automotive News showed a snapshot of a poster from a Jeep dealer meeting showing the nose of an upgraded Grand Wagoneer, looking wider and taller than the current Grand Cherokee.
The path to building a Jeep Grand Wagoneer isn’t clear, either. What is clear is that it’ll be based on the Jeep Grand Cherokee’s architecture, and will likely seat seven. What’s also obvious is that it will be a “premium SUV,” which it was when it ceased production in 1991. Since then, Grand Wagoneers have taken off as vintage cult vehicles, regularly selling between $40,000 and $60,000 for prime examples.
Manley told AutoExpress that a reintroduced Grand Wagoneer would have to prove itself in the marketplace first, but once it does, the sky’s the limit for what Jeep could charge for such a product. “If you look at the upper end of the segment in the US, for me, the Grand Wagoneer done well can compete all the way through this segment,” Manley said.
“I’ll use US dollars, but pushing the car up to $130,000 to $140,000 may be possible,” Manley added, “but we need to establish Grand Wagoneer in its own right first. That’s why I wouldn’t say there’s price ceiling.”
Some things to consider after you’ve picked yourself up off the floor: If you leave out cars like the ultra-low production Dodge Viper, the most expensive Chrysler product you can purchase is a Dodge Charger Hellcat at $67,000. The Cadillac Escalade Platinum starts at $92,000 and goes up from there. A Range Rover has eight trim levels, priced between $85,650 and $199,950. Even the tired old Lincoln Navigator has a trim level north of $72,000.
Then there’s the yawning hole in Chrysler’s product line: Aside from the Chrysler Pacifica minivan, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and RAM only sell one other vehicle (aside from the RAM vans) that can carry more than five people. Only 62,000 people a year buy the Dodge Durango, so there’s opportunity for a larger SUV with more carrying capacity to steal some sales away from Chevrolet, Cadillac and the European and British brands.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT is the only SUV in the entire FCA product line with an MSRP past $65,000. It only seats five, and it’s purely a performance vehicle. Whether or not Jeep can convince Americans to buy a $100,000-plus Grand Wagoneer is anyone’s guess, but other manufacturers from BMW to Porsche seem to be in on the game.
Why not Jeep?