An internal release from American aluminium major Alcoa indicates that the 2018 Jeep Wrangler will utilize aluminium alloy for portions of the vehicle’s hood and doors. The addition of aluminium is part of Fiat Chrysler’s redesign of the iconic four-wheel-drive vehicle.
“A team in the Farmington Hills (Michigan, USA) Aerospace and Automotive Products group is leading a new profitable growth opportunity with the 2018 Jeep Wrangler program,” the statement reads. “The next generation Jeep becomes the first to utilize our C6A1 high form alloy; we are currently the only supplier of this high form product. Alcoa will also supply 6022 and A951, including front and rear door inners, hood outer and inner.”
In May of last year Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne indicated that aluminium would be a significant part of the revamped Jeep Wrangler. While not committing to an all-aluminium body, Marchionne said that aluminium would be an integral part of the vehicle for the 2018 model year.
“There will be a large portion of that vehicle that will be aluminum. It will not be all aluminum,” Marchionne explained. “We’ve run the numbers and we’ve simulated mileage and the impact. Because of the difference in cost — not just of the material but the actual assembly process — I think we can do almost as well without doing it all-aluminum. I think we can get very close.”
Developed by Bantam BRC for the American war effort, the vehicle known today as the Jeep Wrangler began life as the Willys MB in 1941. The military light utility vehicle became a staple for American troops in both the Pacific and European theaters, with Willys producing 363,000 Jeeps over the course of the war, and Ford churning out around 280,000. A civilian model, dubbed Willys-Overland CJ-1 (for “Civilian Jeep-1”) hit the domestic market in 1944, and has become a popular off-road vehicle through each of its incarnations up to the present model, the Jeep Wrangler.