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Jeep Safari Signals Future Product

Executive Summary

Jeeps have been crawling Moab on the Easter Jeep Safari for 50 years, and this year is no exception. FCA’s rugged off-road brand punches out seven concepts this time around and several offer glimpses of future Jeeps.

AUBURN HILLS, MI – As Jeep’s 75th anniversary coincides with the 50th running of the Easter Jeep Safari, the storied off-roader brand is breaking out seven one-off models for the event March 19-27 in Moab, UT.

While none of the heavily modified Jeeps is headed for production, many of the parts and accessories used to create these models are available through FCA’s Mopar and Jeep Performance Parts divisions.

And as in years past, some elements of the specialized Jeeps do provide hints of future models, such as the Trailcat, a Wrangler fitted with the same 707-hp supercharged 6.2L Hemi V-8 found in the Dodge Challenger and Charger SRT Hellcats. Jeep boss Michael Manley confirms the same engine will power the Trackhawk, an over-the-top performance version of the Grand Cherokee headed for production by 2018.

Also on display is the Comanche, an off-roader based on the Renegade CUV with the practical utility of a pickup truck bed. A Jeep pickup based on the tougher Wrangler 4x4 is set for production at the Toledo, OH, plant alongside the all-new ’17 Wrangler; could this concept signal a similar but softer iteration is in the works?

Here’s a look at the rest of Jeep’s concepts for the upcoming Safari:

  • Crew Chief 715. A concept built as a salute to military-service Jeeps such as its namesake Kaiser M715, the Wrangler Unlimited-based model features a host of Jeep Performance Parts to improve its off-road capabilities. Its 5-ft. (1.5-m) cargo bed gives a clear indication of what we can expect in a Wrangler pickup.
  • Shortcut. A return to the days of simpler and smaller Jeeps, the concept is 12 ins. (305 mm) shorter than a standard Wrangler.
  • Renegade Commander. A rolling showcase of Mopar and Jeep Performance Parts and accessories, including a trailer hitch and front and rear auxiliary lights.
  • FC 150. A throwback among a group of concepts based on current-production Jeeps, the FC 150 concept features a CJ-5 body from the 1956-65 era built on a 2005 Wrangler chassis. Unlike other concepts powered by today’s Jeep engines, this one runs a 4.0L I-6 and a 3-speed automatic transmission.
  • Trailstorm. Dubbed the “ultimate Jeep Wrangler for exploring off the beaten path,” this Wrangler Unlimited concept provides extra room for gear and fuel, along with a raft of upgrades from the Jeep Performance Parts shelves to increase its off-road performance.

bgritzinger@wardsauto.com

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