For its 2014 model year, Jeep will move upmarket with the release of its largest and most expensive Jeep, the Grand Wagoneer, which will compete with the Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes-Benz GL and other luxury SUVs.
The seven-passenger vehicle will share a platform with the Grand Cherokee. But it will be different from Jeep's previous seven-seater, the Commander, as the Grand Wagoneer’s wheelbase and rear overhang will be stretched to make the Grand Wagoneer's second- and third-row seating more comfortable.
In addition, the Grand Cherokee is a five-passenger vehicle. Jeep CEO Michael Manley said that the Grand Wagoneer will be very competitive compared to the Escalade and others.
Manley said that the redesigned 2011 Grand Cherokee is aimed to appeal to consumers who have not been in its showrooms for some time. He said that customers who shop at the upper end of the full-sized segment has responded well to the vehicle.
Last year, Jeep sold 84,635 Grand Cherokees, a 68 percent increase from 2009. Sales in January totaled 7,612, higher by 130 percent over January 2010.
Manley said that buyers of luxury SUVs have a preference for seven-passenger seating. In an interview at the Chicago Auto Show, Manley said that there exists a “real opportunity” in keeping the Grand Cherokee's momentum by releasing the Grand Wagoneer, which is a proper three row, seven-seater. [via autonews - sub. required]