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Ford has taken a significant tumble in reliability due to some of its latest vehicle technologies, while Jeep is now the most reliable domestic brand, according to the latest annual-survey data from Consumer Reports.
Both of those pieces of news might come as a bit of a surprise. Consumers have finally caught on to the excellent products coming from Ford NYSE: F nowadays; but it seems that some of the same features that might be drawing shoppers in are also negatively affecting reliability.
Coming as no surprise, Jeep’s Grand Cherokee SUV is reportedly next in line to receive the smooth shifting–and fuel saving–ZF eight-speed automatic transmission filtering its way across Chrysler’s lineup.
Already finding a home in the Chrysler 300, as well as some Audi and BMW models, the ZF unit has been confirmed for the Dodge Charger and could be fitted to everything from the Jeep Grand Cherokee to Ram pickups.
Sources at Jeep have confirmed that the Grand Cherokee will receive it, but have also revealed that a more advanced nine-speed unit is also under investigation.
The last full-size Jeep Grand Wagoneer rolled off the assembly line in 1991, although the nameplate survived on the high-end, mid-size Jeep Grand Cherokee until 1993. Time really hasn’t diminished the demand for the full-size Grand Wagoneers, and clean, low-mileage used examples today can fetch prices topping $30,000.
Chrysler is well aware of this, so the automaker began discussing plans for the rebirth of the American icon earlier this year. Originally planned as a 2013 model, the realities of the global market have now pushed back the Jeep Grand Wagoneer’s launch to 2014, according to documents published on Carscoop.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking into a potential defect with the airbag system on 2007 and 2008 model year Jeep Wranglers. Some 222,000 vehicles are affected by the investigation.
The NHTSA has received 29 consumer complaints of airbag light illumination and/or clockspring mechanism failure on 2007 and 2008 Jeep Wranglers. Twenty three of the consumer complaints identify the airbag clockspring wiring assembly as the cause of the airbag light, while the remaining six simply mention that the airbag light was illuminated. The majority of the complaints, 16 out of 29, have been received since January 1 of 2011.
The Jeep Grand Cherokee is no stranger to diesel power, though the last we saw it here in the U.S. was in 2008. Unlike the previous Daimler-sourced unit, the next diesel in the Jeep Grand Cherokee will be built by VM Motori. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we’ll be getting it here in the U.S. this time.
Chrysler today officially announced the Jeep Grand Cherokee will get its diesel addition at the Geneva Motor Show in just over a week. It’s not the first time Jeep has sourced an engine from the company: the 1999-2001 Grand Cherokee used an inline five-cylinder diesel from VM Motori in some foreign markets, and other Jeep vehicles have used VM Motori mills over the years as well.
Rated at 241 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque, the new engine gains 10 percent more power and 8 percent more torque than the previous Grand Cherokee diesel, and it manages a combined European rating of 28.3 mpg.
The finalists for the prestigious 2011 North American Car And Truck Of The Year (NACTOY) awards have just been named, and if you’ve been following the awards from various media outlets, you were probably expecting most of these.
One you might not have expected, however, is the Dodge Durango. Based on largely similarly underpinnings and sharing much of its interior with the Jeep Grand Cherokee (also a finalist) the Durango is a bit of a surprise–to us, anyway, though a testament to the strides Chrysler has made with its new SUV platform. The rest of the list has racked up individual awards from one place or another.
Chrysler’s revised-model onslaught continues with the 2011 Jeep Compass, restyled and with several new standard features to better position itself in the fuel-efficient crossover segment. Borrowing some of its new looks from the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Compass should have a broader appeal than its somewhat frumpy forebear.
Key upgrades for the 2011 Compass include a retuned suspension with stiffer springs, damping, and rear anti-roll bar for a more controlled highway ride, while a new available Freedom Drive II package steps up the Compass’s off-road capability. The design is heavily revised as well, with a new hood, fenders, nose, and head lights presenting a more modern face.
The Jeep name is deeply tied to the go-anywhere, barebones machines of World War II. Though the vehicles themselves have come a long way since then, the association with war–or at least war games–continues with the 2011 Jeep Wrangler Call of Duty: Black Ops edition. Announced today, the vehicle gets a “military-style” visual treatment and a handful of other upgrades.
Thirty-two inch tires, a unique Call of Duty graphics package that adds a military flair, taillamp guards, a Mopar fuel-filler door, and dark Rubicon wheels build on the base Wranger Rubicon package. The overall look is meant to emulate the look of the virtual Jeep vehicles in the Call of Duty: Black Ops game.
It’s going to take us a while to get used to hearing Mopar accessories and new Chrysler products introduced with an Italian accent, but auditory oddities aside, the new vehicle information iPhone app released today by Chrysler is an interesting development.
Debuting on the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, the free app offers vehicle maintenance info, product overviews, and more–effectively taking the owner’s manual out of the glovebox and putting it in your pocket. With some nice enhancements, of course.
There’s no denying that Detroit automakers have had a rough couple of years. It was about this time in 2008 that gas prices began climbing toward $4 a gallon, which brought about a dramatic change in vehicle demand and explains why there are so many hybrids and compacts in the pipeline these days. A couple of months later, the looming financial crisis hit the auto sector head-on, the Big Three made bailout bids to Congress, two entered bankruptcy court, and, well, you know the rest.
Today, Detroit seems to have turned a corner. Ford — which never succumbed to the lure of bailout dough — has been on a roll for months, and now, General Motors and even Chrysler look to be catching up. Just look at GM’s production schedule: the automaker has opted to skip its traditional two-week shutdown at nine of its 11 assembly plants, indicating that demand for GM vehicles is on the up. The company is also planning to launch an IPO during the fourth quarter of this year; true, the timing is partly a result of the recovering U.S. economy, but it also speaks to GM’s readiness to get back on its own feet. Chrysler may not be prepared to crawl out of the nest just yet, but it’s finally bringing new vehicles to showrooms, having recently launched a muddled but ultimately fixable campaign for the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee.
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