Chrysler plans to expand its Jeep range with a high-end model that will share its platform with the redesigned Grand Cherokee, according to Automotive News.
The trade newspaper, citing a Chrysler source, said the as yet unnamed vehicle will debut in 2005 or 2006 and will help fill the Detroit assembly plant, where the Grand Cherokee is the sole product.
Automotive News said a redesigned Grand Cherokee will debut next year as a 2005 model and a Chrysler source, requesting anonymity, said there will be “another vehicle off of that platform”.
Asked by the newspaper if the unnamed vehicle would be priced above the Grand Cherokee, the source said, “It could be, (but) I consider a Grand Cherokee a high-end Jeep.”
Grand Cherokee prices without optional equipment reach $US39,365, including transportation, Automotive News noted.
Automotive News said the Jeep brand currently has three nameplates: the Wrangler, Liberty and Grand Cherokee, and last year the brand sold 459,796 US vehicles, a one percent increase from 2001.
But, the newspaper noted, strong competition from Lexus, Cadillac, Honda and Acura is taking a toll on the Grand Cherokee whose sales to the end of May of 74,629 were down 14.4% from a year ago.