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Possibly running out of ideas, Jeep may revive the Wagoneer

Jeep Wagoneer
Right now, the sky’s the limit for Jeep. Last year, parent Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) said it would revive the Grand Wagoneer nameplate for a Range Rover-rivaling luxury SUV, and more recently Jeep said it would build a 707-horsepower Grand Cherokee Hellcat, a Wrangler pickup truck, and a new compact crossover.

But that’s not all. Jeep reportedly has another new model in the works, and it’s once again looking to the past for a name. In addition to the Grand Wagoneer, Jeep is also building a new SUV called just Wagoneer, according to Automotive News. However, it’s unclear what this new Wagoneer will be, or where it will fit in the lineup.

FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne confirmed plans for a new Wagoneer during a conference call discussing the company’s newly-revised five-year plan. He mentioned the “Grand Wagoneer family, both the Grand Wagoneer and the Wagoneer,” and said that it is important FCA find space for both “without creating additional product capacity.” That means other models may get bumped to make room for these new SUVs.

The original Wagoneer was a standalone model that represented one of the first attempts to civilize SUVs and market them to families. Even after that model was discontinued, the name bounced around as a trim level on other Jeeps, most notably the Cherokee. Fast forward to 2016, and the Jeep lineup is already chock full of vehicles, so it’s hard to say where the Wagoneer will fit in.

It’s fairly clear that the Grand Wagoneer will be a full-size luxury SUV, likely with three rows of seats. The question is whether there’s enough room between that model and the existing Grand Cherokee for yet another big utility vehicle. Granted, the current Cherokee and Grand Cherokee have nothing in common except a name, so Wagoneer could turn out to be a completely different type of SUV from its “Grand” sibling.

One thing’s for sure, though: FCA is betting big on trucks and SUVs. Encouraged by 2015’s low gas prices and high SUV sales, and discouraged by lackluster car sales, it will emphasize the Jeep and Ram brands, but kill off the Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart. CEO Marchionne believes gas prices will stay low, and he’s apparently willing to bet a lot on that assumption.

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