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Trevor Collett | Jan, 17 2014 | 5 Comments

The next generation Jeep Wrangler will be lighter and offer more powertrain options in order to improve fuel consumption, according to reports out of the US.

Speaking with US industry paper Automotive News, Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said the Wrangler needed updating to meet modern demands.

The next generation Wrangler is up for final approval in the next ten weeks, Marchionne said, with the new model due to arrive in 2016.

"We know we need to update the architecture, we need to take weight out," Mr Marchionne said.

Currently available in the US with a 3.6 litre V6 petrol engine only, Jeep has reportedly discussed the addition of a diesel engine to the American market.

Transmission options in the US include a six-speed manual and a six-speed auto, but future Wranglers may feature more fuel-efficient options, such as an eight- or nine-speed auto.

Ramifications of potential changes to the Wrangler’s drivetrain options for the Australian market are unclear, as a diesel engine is already available locally in limited supply.

The news follows reports in October last year, suggesting the next Wrangler may ditch solid axles in order to achieve the weight-shedding target.

Mr Marchionne said production of the current Wrangler is at capacity, with sales up 10 percent in the US during 2013.

Australian figures also saw a small increase in 2013, amassing 2895 sales by year's end, compared to 2548 sales in 2012.

As a result, Jeep may look elsewhere to expand capacity in order to meet the rising demand, and to ease pressure as it re-tools for the new model.

Marchionne reportedly said that the Compass and Patriot models were currently “the weakest links” in Jeep’s North-American line-up, and that the company would no longer rebadge Chrysler products as Lancias in some European countries.

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