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Chrysler Group LLC unveiled six customized Jeeps, including a much sought-after pickup version, and announced potential plans for a Wrangler with a V-8 and diesels for the North American market.
The modified Jeeps, including the Wrangler JK-8 Independence that uses a Mopar bolt-on kit to convert a four-door Wrangler into a pickup, are being shown before the annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari in Utah, said Jeep chief Mike Manley.
The kit can be assembled at home over a weekend; another version can be assembled by a dealer or specialty shop.
Kits go on sale this summer. Pricing has not been released.
Other customized Jeeps are:
Wrangler Pork Chop prototype, so named for “chopping” 850 pounds from its weight by using lightweight doors, bumpers, seats and other parts, said designer Mark Allen.
Wrangler Renegade, with a 6.4-liter Hemi V-8.
Jeep Compass Canyon with larger tires and more clearance.
Jeep Cherokee Overland (European version of Liberty), with diesel, fridge and zebra stripes.
Wrangler Blue Crush desert racer with a 426 cubic-inch V-8.
Also in Moab will be a new Ram Runner. The $19,000 kit goes on sale this month to make the Ram a desert racer to compete with the Ford Raptor.
Jeep uses the Moab event to test the heavily modified vehicles and gauge how far designers and engineers can push the brand, Manley said.
“The feedback is instant and intuitive,” he said.
Manley said Jeeps with diesels could be offered in the United States in two or three years. Most Jeeps sold in Europe have diesels and there is demand in Canada. Manley said a U.S. business case can be made if the technology cost to meet emissions standards can be spread over large volumes in numerous markets.
A Wrangler with a V-8 is also under consideration, he said.
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