The Jeep Wrangler is an unlikely success story. For all intents and purposes, the lumbering fuel-thirsty behemoth shouldn’t have lived through the economic crisis and automotive bankruptcies of 2008 and 2009.
The Wrangler shouldn’t have lasted through the takeover by Fiat or made it through the transition to FCA. During a time when heavy road hogs were getting slashed left and right, the Wrangler powered through thanks to loyal followers who continued to open their pocketbooks.
The Wrangler has proven that neither stumps, rocks, creeks, nor economic recessions can stop the infamous utilitarian 4×4. Its future should be secured for another few decades with the introduction of an all-new generation, which will include a diesel version and the switch to aluminum.
We’ve known for quite some time that an oil-burner would eventually make it into the Wrangler lineup. Last month Autoweek caught some spy shots of the upcoming 2018 Wrangler diesel and noted that it’s staying true to form, surely a relief to loyal fans who may have feared the worst for their beloved off-roader.
In addition to the diesel, which should bring improved fuel economy, Jeep is following Ford’s lead and utilizing aluminum in the body of the next Wrangler. We know this, or are at least pretty sure, because of a post in a Wrangler forum.
The post says the news has been confirmed by an unnamed Alcoa employee, who sent the forum an internal release that said,
A team in the Farmington Hills (Michigan, USA) Aerospace and Automotive Products group is leading a new profitable growth opportunity with the 2018 Jeep Wrangler program. The next generation Jeep becomes the first to utilize our C6A1 high form alloy; we are currently the only supplier of this high form product.
Alcoa will also supply 6022 and A951, including front and rear door inners, hood outer and inner.
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne hasn’t been shy about voicing his plans for aluminum, but this is the first time we have semi-official confirmation that the alloy will make it into at least part of the Wrangler’s exterior.
With the option for a diesel engine and a lighter body, the Wrangler should continue to dominate the 4×4 off-road market for many years to come.
Would you buy an aluminum-body diesel-powered Jeep Wrangler?