The Jeep Grand Wagoneer may be an old dog, but it’s one with a lot of historical significance. Debuting in 1962, the Wagoneer effectively ruled the SUV class before the term ever existed, and many see it as the first true luxury 4×4.
Sold under many marquees over its 28-year production run, the Jeep is an automotive icon. It featured independent suspension, power steering, and an automatic transmission before they became mainstays of the segment, and we can’t forget those funky wood-grain side panels.
The last official Grand Wagoneer was produced in 1991, but Jeep CEO Michael Manley says his passion project may be making a triumphant return soon.
“I’ve always talked about the Grand Wagoneer, and that for me is a big focus,” he told Motoring at the 2014 Paris Motor Show. “Obviously I have intimate knowledge of what it is and I think that vehicle could very, very, effectively compete with premium SUVs.”
The premium SUVs Manley refers to typically fall under the British Range Rover banner, and it’s one that Jeep has wrestled with in the past.
“Range Rover and Jeep have historically competed,” he said. “Some of that competition has not been so evident, because either we’ve been through product portfolio changes or they have been through product portfolio changes.”
“With Grand Cherokee we’ve proven we can compete at the very premium end of the segment,” he continued. “But [Range Rover is] the only other pure SUV brand in the world, so they will always be competition.”
The new Wagoneer promises to “fill out the brand at the top end,” according to Manley, and will ideally sell well in markets that demand luxury SUVs like the United States, Australia, and China. It’s all part of Jeep’s plan to sell one million vehicles this year, and double that by 2018.
As for those wood panels? Don’t hold your breath.
(Photo via Production Cars)