Jeep CEO Mike Manley is excited about the upcoming year. The automaker is expecting a jump in its compact crossover sales with the introduction of its all-new 2017 Compass and will introduce the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL – but most exciting of all for Manley will be the introduction of the supercharged Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.
The Grand Cherokee Trackhawk was first referred to on-record by Manley last year and is expected to arrive with a version of the supercharged 6.2-liter Hellcat HEMI V8. It’s not clear if the powerplant will be pushing the full 707 horsepower it is the Charger and Challenger Hellcat twins, but even if the Grand Cherokee’s AWD system forces Jeep to lower the output, the Trackhawk should still be one of the fastest production SUVs to date.
“(The Trackhawk) is a vehicle that I finally confirmed a year ago, but it’s something we’ve worked on for some time and I always love those specialist vehicles that take longer to work on just because of their nature,” Manley told Digital Trends in a recent interview.
As previously mentioned, the performance Trackhawk, due in April, isn’t the only thing that has Manley excited for 2017. The all-new 2017 Compass is being built and sold around the globe and should help Jeep achieve more compact segment sales and additional global brand recognition. Manley is also expecting it to be a hit with American consumers – whose thirst for compact crossovers has reached a fever pitch in recent years.
“That segment (compact crossovers) is five million plus worldwide and something like 800,000 here,” Manley told Digital Trends. “We’ve been reasonably successful here in the U.S., so for me, bringing a new Compass to the market at the end of the first quarter is something I’m very excited about. The segment has gotten much more competitive, but the quality of the vehicle and the significant generational upgrade from the previous models is going to put us in a very good position.”
Rounding out the year for Jeep will be the introduction of the Wrangler JL. The all-new SUV will retain the Wrangler’s traditional boxy looks, solid axles and removable hardtop roof but will move in the direction of more modern SUVs with a fixed windshield, a quieter and more refined ride and a variety of powertrain options. A hybrid version of the Wrangler JL will also arrive sometime after 2020.
“Finally, we’ll end the year with the next generation Wrangler – the icon of the brand; the underpinning of everything Jeep has stood for many years,” he said. “The amount of work that has gone into that vehicle is enormous and the amount of interest from our customers is going to culminate into an exciting time. So we’ve actually got a very big year ahead of us.”