Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) just released its business plan update and confirmed the rumors about which we’ve been speculating. The diagram above shows Fiat-Chrysler's Jeep, pickup, and minivan plans.
In addition to adopting aluminum and other weight-saving materials and design, Jeep has big plans to improve the next-generation Wrangler JL's fuel economy. Even though gasoline is cheap and fuel economy is near the bottom of the list of priorities for most buyers, government mandates regarding fuel consumption and exhaust emissions mean that Fiat-Chrysler's engineers are forced to design around these regulations. Note the statement below the diagram, which reads:
Next generation architectures become compliant with adaptation of advanced powertrain systems and reduced vehicle energy demand through:
- Significant weight reduction with extensive use of high strength steel and alternative materials
- Active aero systems to reduce drag
- Advanced electronic systems such as axle disconnect and electric steering systems
The buying public's ever-increasing purchases of larger crossovers, SUVs, and trucks are coming at the expense of more fuel-efficient cars. To meet Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements, Fiat-Chrysler plans to add diesel, mild-hybrid, and full-hybrid powertrains to the new Wrangler in addition to the standard gasoline engine.
Undoubtedly, the alternative powertrains will add cost and complexity due to the additional electronics, batteries, and diesel aftertreatment hardware, but each powertrain will expand the vehicle's appeal and offset the fuel economy and emissions penalties garnered by the bulk sales of the standard gas model.