Even as Chrysler celebrates its full repayment of government loans with no less than President Barack Obama this Friday, it faces some pretty risky challenges as it designs the third generation of its Jeep Liberty. Chrysler’s executives will participate at a joint victory lap with the US president at its Toledo assembly complex this Friday.
Meanwhile, all eyes are on the Liberty. It is one of the first vehicles in the U.S. to be built on the CUSW architecture that’s derived from Fiat. There’s a lot at stake on this upcoming Liberty version.
At the Detroit auto show last January, Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said that it’s necessary for this vehicle to be “perfect” for two main reasons. First of all, Chrysler has to take the lead again in the mid-sized SUV segment.
Chrysler used to dominate this segment for about 10 years with its Jeep Cherokee. Another reason is that the third-gen Liberty has to appeal to a wide range of consumers. The truth is that Jeep designers are risking failure by attempting to meet so many factors.
Many Jeep fans are worried that a Jeep that’s Fiat-derived will be similar to the Jeep Compass that came out during Daimler’s time.
They’re concerned that the Liberty will repeat the mistake of featuring seven slots in the grill, round headlights and not being ready to be driven off-road.
The majority of trail-riders surveyed said that they will prefer a decade-old Cherokee, which features a solid front axle, is light weight, and offers an excellent low-end torque, over the present Liberty model.