While we live in a world that has a constant fascination with all things new, FCA has managed to capture their own foothold in the market with a number of gracefully aging products. The Dodge Charger and the Durango are both relatively ancient, but despite this they remain hot sellers for their manufacturer. The age problem isn’t limited to Dodge however, as the Jeep Grand Cherokee has been on sale relatively unchanged since 2010. Last night, FCA Head of Design Ralph Gilles confirmed that at least for the Jeep, that is going to change this year.
The comment came during a Facebook Live session held by FCA North America, as Gilles joined Mark Trostle, Head of Performance, Passenger & Utility Exterior Design at FCA to discuss the US Drive for Design Contest. During the audience question and answer session, Gilles was asked what design he was most proud of during his time at FCA. The head designer immediately began to discuss some of the companies most financially successful products.
“If you go by what makes money for the company, it’s hard to ignore the Ram and the Grand Cherokee,” said Gilles. “They are our prized profit vehicles. And I love the Grand Cherokee, it has survived so beautifully. It’s getting on now, and we’re about to replace it later this year.”
Gilles doubled down in the interview by saying that the company plans to show the next-generation vehicle before the years end. The importance of the Jeep Grand Cherokee model isn’t lost on the designer, who had fond words for the outgoing platform. “I have to respect what it has done for us as a company, and the fact that it has found so many driveways,” said Gilles.
While we don’t know much at this time as to what the next-generation Jeep is going to look like, it’s been implied that it will be riding on Alfa Romeo’s Giorgio platform, which currently underpins the Giulia and Stelvio models. The SUV is slated to be larger than the current model, and will likely feature some sort of hybridization in the lineup.
And for the record, Gilles did go on to say that working on and designing the Viper remains a high point in his career, as did Mark Trostle. It is too bad that we already know how FCA feels about bringing that platform back, at least for the time being.
The video is embedded above, and its entirety is well worth your time. Especially if you’re an aspiring design student.