For many years Jeep, the rugged marque in the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles portfolio, worked to distance itself—extend beyond is perhaps a better way to put it—its iconic Wrangler.
It’s understandable. Introduced in 1986, the Wrangler is the model most in sync with the company’s past as a military equipment provider, when it manufactured Willys models during and after World War II. It’s a bit more rugged than the rest. Its shape screams “Jeep.” (And perhaps not: “Appropriate for your family of four.”)
But the Wrangler is a bonafide hit—and with that kind of history, you don’t tinker too much with the formula. So it’s an event when a new Jeep Wrangler arrives to market. In time for the annual SEMA (as in Specialty Equipment Market Association) show in Las Vegas, Jeep has released photos of its new Wrangler model. And guess what: It looks like a Jeep.
The photos show the vehicle in both two- and four-door configurations, but that’s about it—engine and transmission details remain under wraps. The 2018 Jeep Wrangler is set to make its official debut at the Los Angeles auto show next month.
There’s a lot riding on the new Wrangler. Strength in the Jeep division makes a major mark on its corporate parent’s quarterly earnings, so much so that at least one Wall Street analyst has argued that the brand would be better off on its own. The company sold more than 1.4 million Jeeps worldwide in 2016 and the unit is expected to generate half of Fiat Chrysler’s sales in 2018.