Jeep: 75th anniversary SUVs at Detroit auto show

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Jeep will celebrate its 75th anniversary this year with a lineup of special-edition SUVs to commemorate its transformation from a military tool to global vehicle brand.

Every vehicle in Jeep’s 2016 model-year — from the outgoing Compass and Patriot models to the iconic Wrangler and Grand Cherokee — will help ring in the brand’s diamond anniversary. The commemorative SUVs will make their public debut next week at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The vehicles will arrive in dealerships by the end of March. Starting prices range from the mid-$20,000s for the Patriot, Compass and Renegade to the high-$30,000s for the Grand Cherokee and four-door Wrangler Unlimited.

“Jeep vehicles have defined the authentic SUV and set the benchmark for off-road capability and freedom since they were first produced in 1941,” said Mike Manley, head of global Jeep. “Today, Jeep SUVs continue to deliver 4x4 leadership, as well as fuel efficiency, world-class craftsmanship and premium on-road dynamics.”

Manley previously hinted that special-edition models were coming in 2016 for the anniversary. The brand, under his leadership five years ago, rolled out a host of special-edition vehicles for the brand’s 70th anniversary.

The exteriors of the 75th-anniversary edition Jeeps will be available in Jeep-exclusive green exterior paint (Sarge Green, Recon Green or Jungle Green, depending on model) and feature low-gloss bronze wheels, bronze and orange exterior accents and commemorative badging that feature an outline of the original Jeep vehicle “1941” and “SEVENTY FIVE YEARS.” Other exterior colors also will be available.

On the interiors, each vehicle will have an exclusive in unique interiors, including seats with the embossed 75th-anniversary logo or special mesh fabric.

“I think it’s important for us that we pay close attention to our history, that’s where we got to where we’re at,” said Mark Allen, head of Jeep design, in a video posted by the automaker. “It’s transportation but it’s also a play toy as well, and that doesn’t matter which Jeep it is … If you’ve got a Jeep, it really tells everybody that’s who you are.”

This year is extremely important for Jeep, as it looks to continue its global expansion that started in recent years. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, Jeep’s parent company, plans to produce 1.9 million Jeeps by 2018 at 10 plants in six countries: the U.S., Italy, China, Brazil, India and one other yet-to-be-announced country. Two years ago, only 798,000 rolled out of four plants in the United States.

In 2015, the brand trekked its way to a fourth-consecutive year of record global sales by surpassing the more than 1 million vehicles it sold in 2014.

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