BMW grille for new Jeep Wagoneer

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A new entrant in the big vertical grille slot game.

Jeep is not taking Ford’s intrusion into its 4x4 wagon marketplace lightly.

With its new Bronco, Ford is a significant threat to the very profitable Wrangler business. Jeep’s immediate counter was to reveal the Wrangler 392 V8, but that is merely an outrageous engine in an existing platform, instead of a comprehensive product strategy.

Aware that legacy brand names and models are featuring strongly in an evolving and disrupted global automotive landscape, Jeep has revealed that its Wagoneer is being revived. The new Wagoneer is expected to be revealed next week.

SUVs remains a tremendous profit opportunity for car companies, especially if you have a legacy to leverage, which Jeep certainly does.

The Wagoneer was originally launched in 1963 and delivered Jeep’s idea of a luxury off-road vehicle, quite some years before Land Rover claims to have invented the concept with Range Rover. It remained a strong presence in the Jeep line-up until 1993.

For the American off-road brand, a new Wagoneer would allow them to deliver a vehicle with three-row seating. In terms of the company’s product matrix, new Wagoneer is expected to become the largest Jeep offering, headlining the 2021 model year range.

Some teaser images indicate that Wagoneer will feature a very prominent grille, the size of which would make even BMW’s current design team take notice.

Mechanically the new Wagoneer should share a platform with FCA’s Ram 1500 bakkie, which means a very new design with proven ladder-frame structure. The current fifth-generation Ram 1500 was only launched in late 2018 and that makes it very contemporary in terms of technology.

Using a rugged bakkie platform will allow Jeep to deliver the Wagoneer to market with proper off-road and towing capability, something which could differentiate it from European monocoque SUVs and crossovers that are similar in size.

The Ram 1500 shared platform will also offer Wagoneer owners a treasure of diverse engine options. Expect petrol, diesel and hybrid configuration, ranging from 3- to 6.4-litres in capacity, with both V6 and V8 layouts.

As with all things American, Jeep answer to Ford’s new Bronco, has simply been to build something bigger.

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