Jeep released thumbnails of the Grand Wagoneer concept car ahead of its official debut on September 3rd.
The future direction of the Jeep will be revealed on Thursday with the debut of two new SUVs: a concept version of the resurrected Grand Wagoneer and a hybrid electric version of the brand's flagship Wrangler SUV.
Both vehicles offer new opportunities for the quintessentially American brand and its parent company Fiat Chrysler, which has been slow to introduce electric vehicles and expanded the Jeep into large SUVs. They are new segments for the automaker to increase market share and profits.
The Grand Wagoneer concept is expected to represent the future design and technology of the production versions of the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs that are slated to appear in the showrooms next year. Concept vehicles often also set a new design direction for the brand as a whole.
"The most important thing for Jeep is that it puts them in a segment where they don't compete," said Stephanie Brinley, principal automotive analyst at IHS Markit. "This is probably the strongest step for them to take to grow sales and continue to grow the brand. It makes sense for Jeep to get into this area, and it should be a profitable area."
The vehicles are expected to compete in the mainstream and luxury large SUV segments. Mike Manley, CEO of Fiat Chrysler, when he led the Jeep brand in 2016, said the top-of-the-line Grand Wagoneer could top $ 100,000.
It's unclear whether the Grand Wagoneer, which was last made in 1991, will be a separate model or a high-end fairing from the Wagoneer, which was discontinued in 1983.
A company spokesman declined on Friday to comment on the pricing and positioning of the long-awaited vehicles.
The resurrection of the Grand Wagoneer – known for its wood paneling – was first confirmed in 2011 by Manley's late predecessor Sergio Marchionne. Since then, the vehicle has delayed several times due to changes in product plans and other issues.
Jeep posted teaser images of the Grand Wagoneer concept as well as videos of the Wrangler hybrid electric SUV on social media ahead of its debut. Both vehicles will be featured on Jeep's YouTube and Facebook pages on September 3 at 9 a.m.
The Wrangler will be a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle [PHEV], which means it will still have a traditional internal combustion engine and electric powertrain. It is the first of its kind for Jeep in the USA. The vehicle will feature a "4xe" badge, a game for Jeep's reputation as a 4×4 off-road brand.
The company has announced that all Jeep models – traditionally known as gas guzzling SUVs – will offer full or partial electrification by 2022. The company already has plug-in hybrid versions of its small Renegade and Compass SUVs in Europe.
"If they choose the PHEV room, the company's electrification will expand," said Brinley. "You stand behind others … [Fiat Chrysler] has decided to let this market mature a bit before getting involved."
The Wrangler 4xe is expected in US showrooms in December, according to the company.