FCA Japan (Minato Ward, Tokyo) has announced the “Jeep Wrangler,” the first fully revamped model in 11 years. The all-new Jeep will go on sale on Nov. 23. The new Wrangler has enhanced off-road functionality, its top selling point, as well as improved fuel efficiency and comfort. The new vehicle will further boost the already robust sales of the Jeep brand in Japan.
“Jeep is becoming more and more widely known, and we will grow further going forward. The new Wrangler will attract a wider client base,” said a confident Pontus Häggström, president and chief executive officer of FCA Japan, at the product launch held in Urayasu City, Chiba Prefecture.
The Jeep brand enjoys favorable growth in Japan, selling more than 10,000 vehicles in 2017, and FCA Japan anticipates Jeep sales of 12,000 vehicles in 2018. Jeep sales in Japan account for about 40% of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep sales, making Japan the largest market outside of North America.
Wrangler sales in 2018 are estimated to increase by 10% over 2017 and surpass the past record of 4,000 vehicles. While other manufacturers are racking their brains trying to develop young fans as that age group moves away from automobiles, Jeep is apparently seeing a rise among that customer audience.
The main clientele used to be outdoorsy people in their late 30s. Jeep is popular among young people because it does not have the image of being a luxury vehicle and so is easy to post photos of it on SNS. The worldwide popularity of sport utility vehicles (SUVs) is also bolstering sales.
The revamping included changing the automatic transmission from six-speed to eight-speed. A 2.0-liter inline-four turbo engine was also added to the lineup. Improvements were also made to the traditional 3.6-liter engine, so it now offers a more powerful driving experience. Fuel efficiency is more than 20% better than the traditional model. Depending on the model, the new vehicle can reportedly get more than 9 to 11 kilometers to the liter.
The design retains the Jeep look while the top model has light emitting diode (LED) headlights, a first-ever for the Wrangler. Prices start at 4.59 million yen, including tax.
Half of FCA Japan sales come from the Jeep brand. With the restyling, the company aims to expand its target age bracket and thereby contain other brands, such as Abarth and Alfa Romeo.