As fuel economy standards and emission laws in the US become tighter, carmakers are looking to every avenue to ensure their new vehicles comply.
In an interview with industry paper Automotive News, Jeep boss Mike Manley reportedly refused to confirm that the new Wrangler, due in 2016, would stick to the current format.
"We're already in an environment where it's a challenge to produce a vehicle in that way, and it's going to get harder," Mr Manley said.
"What I can tell you is that the vehicle is absolutely fundamental to our DNA, and it's going to become progressively harder to make sure that the vehicle meets all of the standards that are required for it."
These words won’t provide much comfort for fans of the SUV in its current guise, which has a cult following across the US and around the world.
Wrangler sales in the US were up 11 percent last month, with 119,491 finding new homes and dealers are reporting that they cannot keep enough stock to meet demand.
The Wrangler's current coil-link suspension set-up makes it easy to modify, and some after-market parts suppliers are fearful that a radical redesign would see their customer-base disappear overnight.
When asked about the importance of getting the new Wrangler spot-on, Mr Manley said the carmaker was feeling intense pressure.
"[It’s] Massive. Absolutely massive. Frankly, I know that if I screw up the next Wrangler, then I probably wouldn't be able to leave my house for a long time," Mr Manley said.
The new Wrangler is also believed to feature lightweight components beyond the suspension along with more electronic driver aids.
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