This summer was an incredible year for fans of the large, luxury SUV. Cheap gas and a long list of choices for luxurious people haulers made for some awesome testing here at TFL. We were all excited to hear that Jeep is bringing back the Grand Wagoneer, but now it seems dealerships are worried that Marchionne’s SUV has missed its golden opportunity for sales. Marchionne originally planned to have the Grand Wagoneer come out in 2013. Several identity crises later and we still haven’t seen the Grand Wagoneer come to fruition.
Why has it taken so long?
It’s hard to understand, on the surface, exactly what caused so many delays in the production of Jeep’s competitor to the Ford Expedition and Chevrolet Suburban. After hearing FCA’s five-year plan recently, it seems that the Italian auto group may have been pouring lots of money into Alfa Romeo in stead. FCA also had their own internal debate about what the Grand Wagoneer should actually be. It could be body-on-frame, to compete directly with the Suburban, or be a unibody to fight the Range Rover. Furthermore, FCA has had a hard time keeping up with production on their existing models, specifically RAM trucks. Adding another vehicle to that mix could slow things even further if done improperly.
Why sales will struggle, according to dealers
Dealers are especially worried now with the latest rises in gas prices. In fact, prices have risen 31-percent, on average, over the last year, according to AAA. While automakers will continue to find ways to improve efficiency in large SUVs, they still suck fuel like nothing else available. Plus, interest rates seem to be on the rise as well, which means a lot of extra money spent on an expensive SUV.
The Grand Wagoneer should still sell, but perhaps not nearly as well as it might have in 2013, when we originally expected to see it.