Jeep’s most recent news headlines have been for environmental reasons; going all eco-fuel for the future, and for political reasons; Mitt Romney makes a fluff of Chrysler’s intentions to expand manufacturing to China.
It’s not all ‘step away from the Diesel’ just yet. Yes, the Chrysler Jeep have incorporated an electric powered car into their range, and yes the Grand Cherokee is getting the Eco Diesel treatment this year, but let’s not say goodbye to non-renewable sources just yet. The Jeep Grand Cherokee is just getting an overhaul left, right and centre; 2013 is its year, with plans to launch a diesel version of the model whilst adding 1100 jobs at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit. The aforementioned Jeep will, according to etcgreen.com, “supplement the SUV’s current 3.6L V6, 5.7L V8 and 6.4L V8 engine offerings.” The engine is supposedly the same 3.0L turbo-diesel V6 that is offered across Europe. So apparently this new diesel Jeep is to be significantly more fuel efficient than the models of Grand Cherokee’s predecessors in Europe with petrol engines. It’s not quite ‘The Green’ but it’s getting greener.
But none of this was more newsworthy than Mitt Romney freaking out the Americans during the electoral campaign by telling them Chrysler Group LLC was moving its manufacturing to China and everyone will lose their jobs. “I saw a story today that one of the great manufacturers in this state, Jeep, now owned by the Italians, is thinking of moving all production to China. I will fight for every good job in America, I’m going to fight to make sure trade is fair.” Na uh. What Chrysler was in fact doing, was keeping said American jobs but just looking into the opportunities for output in China….because, well, we are all aware of how well they are doing; Chrysler said this: “Jeep has no intention of shifting production of its Jeep models out of North America to China. It’s simply reviewing the opportunities to return Jeep output to China for the world’s largest auto market. U.S. Jeep assembly lines will continue to stay in operation. A careful and unbiased reading of the Bloomberg take would have saved unnecessary fantasies and extravagant comments.” Silly Romney. But it can’t be denied that most manufacturers are heading to India or China in some way.
It would seem that throughout the Presidential election Chrysler and Jeep got a bit of a battering. But on January 9, 2013 a headline appeared on media.chrysler.com; “Jeep Brand Sets All-time Global Sales Record in 2012,” so, things can’t be too shabby. The numbers are as follows; Global sales of 701, 626 units (new all-time high compared to 1999’s 675, 494 units), sales increased 19% globally compared to 2011, and 13% in the US where 474, 131 units were sold. I’m sorry; there I was thinking there was a recession on!
(This info was taken from the media.chrysler.com website and can be seen here http://media.chrysler.com/newsroom.do?id=4&mid=4)
But there is always someone, somewhere that has a downer on everyone’s good fortune; consumerreports.org gave an insight into the worst cars of 2012 and who better to mention than our faithful loyal pet; the Jeep. But don’t fear, the site conducted tests, 50 in fact, conducted at their 327-acre facility.
This is what they said about my most favourite 4×4: The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
“The latest Wrangler Unlimited we tested saw an increase in its overall test score, but it still earns just 20 out of 100 points. Key demerits are fuel economy (17 mpg), ride, handling, braking, wind noise, access, driving position, seat comfort, fit and finish, visibility, fuel economy, and reliability. That said, it does hold its value well and owners report a high level of satisfaction. But that legendary off-road reputation comes with numerous compromises compared against better-rated midsized SUVs.”
Don’t cry little Wrangler, it wasn’t just you, the site also denoted the Liberty as one of the worst cars of 2012: Jeep Liberty
“Mercifully, this model is discontinued. It actually scores worse than its predecessor and is the lowest-rated vehicle in its category. Its ride is unsettled, handling is clumsy, and the noisy engine guzzles gas. Its cramped interior is uncomfortable and sloppily finished. And if that isn’t enough to turn you away from the remaining 2012 models, the Liberty carries a high depreciation rate, low predicted reliability, and owners are dissatisfied with it.” Ouch.
It’s true, the Liberty is discontinued as of 2012. The Toledo plant where it was manufactured shut down in order for the new Fiat-based Jeeps to be made. The Liberty, originally a replacement for the Jeep Cherokee has been around since 2001, with sales reaching to 171, 212 in its first year. But consumers weren’t happy, being donned as noisy, outdated and cramped, sales figures dropped to a quarter of the original figure.