North America might be getting the Jeep Grand Commander, but rebadged as a Chrysler.
If you’ve never even heard of the Jeep Grand Commander, that’s probably because it’s only sold in the Chinese market. Essentially a stretched out Jeep Grand Cherokee with a few more bells and whistles inside to appeal to Chinese drivers, the Grand Commander comes equipped with a 2.0-L turbocharged inline 4-cylinder engine producing 231 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.
It sells well in China, which may be why FCA is thinking about bringing the Grand Commander from Asia to the United States. But they wouldn’t slot it as the largest SUV Jeep makes, and instead might turn it into a Chrysler.
According to Allpar (by way of Autoblog), FCA execs want to further pad out the Chrysler lineup with a full-size SUV, and the Grand Commander is just the ticket. However, it won’t be built in China and then shipped to the US. More likely it’ll be built in one of FCA’s North American factories, either in Illinois, Mexico, or Ontario, Canada.
Chrysler as a brand could really use the help. Currently, they’re down to a lineup of just two vehicles: the Pacifica minivan and the 300 luxury sedan. But the 300 isn’t going to survive after the 2020 model year, and the Pacifica is a minivan. A brand that makes a minivan as their sole vehicle would make Chrysler join the ranks of Mini and Smart--a fate worse than death for such a historic company.
A rebadged Jeep Grand Commander would bolster Chrysler's desperately flagging lineup, but so far these rumors are unsubstantiated, so take them with a hefty grain of salt. Also, expect any American Grand Commander to be powered by the Pentastar V6 to better match up against similar full-size SUVs.
Even with the Grand Commander taken as a given, Chrysler’s future is still very much in doubt. FCA showed nothing when it came to the brand’s 5-year plan at their investor conference earlier this year, and sales of the storied marque are only held up by the Pacifica’s popularity.
A new Pacifica-based crossover and production version of the Portal electric crossover concept will help, but that’s still a dangerously small number of vehicles in their lineup.