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Beijing show: Jeep’s Grand Commander no go for Aus

Do not pass go: While the seven-seat Grand Commander could be popular among Aussie buyers, FCA Australia has no plans to offer it here.

China-only Jeep Grand Commander seven-seater revealed ahead of Beijing show


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23 Jan 2018

JEEP provided the first official look at its Chinese-market Grand Commander this week, but Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia has been quick to rule out the three-row, seven-seat large SUV for a local launch.

According to FCA Australia corporate communications senior manager Dave Harding, the Grand Commander was “developed for China” exclusively, dismissing its chances of lobbing Down Under.

“The Jeep Grand Commander will be produced in Changsha and targets the growing seven-seater SUV segment in this market, offering a four-wheel-drive system and a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine,” he said. “(It) will be available to customers in China in the first half of 2018.”

When questioned if there is opportunity for a seven-seat Jeep SUV, such as the upcoming Wagoneer or Grand Wagoneer, in Australia, Mr Harding replied that he could not comment on future model plans.

The US market will have access to the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer after 2020, but right-hand-drive production is still yet to be confirmed as the business case for an Australian launch seemingly hangs in the balance.

Set to be based on the body-on-frame platform of the latest Ram pick-ups, these two models will be produced at FCA’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant in Michigan.

The 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine in the Grand Commander is likely the four-cylinder unit from the next-generation Wrangler off-roader and facelifted Cherokee mid-size SUV.

In these two applications the powertrain pumps out 201kW of power and 400Nm of torque and is mated to a nine-speed TorqueFlite automatic transmission.

Significantly, the Grand Commander is the production version of the Yunti concept that was revealed at last year’s Shanghai motor show, meaning the show car’s plug-in hybrid powertrain could appear in the new model at a later date.

While a four-wheel-drive option has already been confirmed, leaks out of China claim that a front-wheel-drive version will also be offered, with both drivetrains available in two levels of trim – either Longitude and Limited.

Reportedly measuring in at 4873mm long, 1892mm wide and 1738mm tall with a 2800mm wheelbase, the Grand Commander is 45mm longer, 51mm narrower and 64mm shorter than the Grand Cherokee large SUV that has a 2915mm wheelbase.

Likely to be based on a stretched version of the FCA’s Compact US Wide (CUSW) platform that also underpins the Cherokee, the Grand Commander is a tamer-looking derivative of the Yunti concept.

Grand Cherokee influences are apparent at the front end, but the slim seven-slot grille and headlights from the show car are almost untouched.

The side profile is also strikingly similar, save for the addition of traditional doorhandles and side mirrors, and the loss of suicide doors.

However, the rear end presents a more apparent departure, with a reshaped tailgate and tail-lights providing clear points of difference.

Interestingly, low approach and departure angles suggest the Grand Commander may not exactly stay true to the Jeep brand’s off-road pedigree.

Images of the Chinese model’s interior are yet to be released, but a 2+3+2 seating layout and the latest version of FCA’s Unconnect touchscreen infotainment system are certainties.

A result of the joint venture between FCA and Guangzhou Automotive Group (GAC), the Grand Commander is expected to be revealed in full at the Beijing motor show that kicks off on April 25.

Jeep is already accepting reservations for the new model in China ahead of its international debut, with its entry-level price expected to be around $US38,800 ($A48,450), according to overseas reports.

Production will take place at FCA and GAC’s facility in Changsha which also manufactures the Chinese-market Renegade small SUV and Cherokee.

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