Pushing us ever closer to the brink of buying the biggest environmental nightmare we can get our rebellious little hands on, Chrysler LLC has announced their current development of a lighter, smaller, greener Jeep Grand Cherokee for 2010 [our anguish is too great to describe right now]. The hybrid Grand Cherokee will feature a new uni-body frame, designed in part by Mercedes-Benz, and a new, more fuel-efficient V6 engine currently being developed under the code name “Phoenix.” Although the 2010 Hybrid Jeep Grand Cherokee will be Jeep’s first hybrid model, Jeep has also announced that several, as-yet unreleased vehicles will follow suit.
As a testament to their new commitment to the same environment that they were previously known for four-wheeling over, Jeep has also announced that their new hybrid models will be manufactured in their re-outfitted Jefferson plant in Northern Detroit. To prepare for the green maelstrom, Jeep has begun the process of giving the Jefferson plant an environmental overhaul – to the tune of $1.8 billion dollars. Currently, the plant is responsible for the production of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Jeep Commander [Aw Jeep c’mon – please, please, PLEASE do not release a Hybrid Commander, just let the thing die with some dignity] but after it completes its 285,000 square foot expansion, an upgraded assembly line and redesigned body shop will be ready to begin producing Jeep’s new hybrid models. In keeping with Jeep’s new Devotion to Green, the plant will also include several “green initiatives”, including:
- Energy-efficient fluorescent lighting fixtures
- Cleaner air-filtration systems
- Waste-reducing decanting technology
- Quieter electro-servo weld guns
- Replacing unused parking-asphalt areas with grass to reduce heat generation
- Utilizing reusable paint clips that hold doors in place during the paint process and reusing parts racks, resulting in a reduced raw material consumption
- Trailer cubing and rack density improvements to reduce fuel consumption and transportation costs
So how serious is Jeep about their new-found faith? Serious enough to prompt Chrysler LLC to sell its Tritec engine manufacturing plant in Brazil, and put the proceeds towards the Jefferson reconstruction. Normally, we would be lamenting the fact that Jeep has apparently drunk [drank?] the “herbal” kool-aid, but we’re temporarily abandoning our seal-clubbing idealogy to applaud Jeep for refusing to allow an American cornerstone to be phased out. To Jeep personally: Although we feel a little betrayed right now, the anger and hurt will eventually subside and we just want you to know that, no matter what, we’re ultimately behind you all the way.
[Source: Automotive News]