Jeep's future may be rooted in its past

Jeep may be taking the retro route with some of its new products.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the iconic off-road automaker is dusting off the Grand Wagoneer name for a new three-row SUV that will join the company’s lineup as early as 2014. The vehicle will be based on the platform of the Grand Cherokee and fill a slot in the lineup that’s been open since the cancellation of the slow selling Jeep Commander in 2010.

"Grand Wagoneer represents an opportunity for Jeep to truly get back to that bigger premium SUV segment," Jeep CEO Mike Manley told the publication. "People eagerly are awaiting it. We're making sure we are doing the right vehicle for the brand and the company."

Also on the way is a replacement for the Jeep Liberty compact SUV, which is expected to revive the Cherokee nameplate in the United States when it is unveiled at the New York Auto Show in March of next year. The Detroit Free Press points the company officially refers to it as the “Liberty replacement,” and has been coy when asked if it will be called Cherokee.

But the most intriguing development regarding the company’s plans comes from a report in Car and Driver citing a high-level Jeep executive as saying that next year “we’ll give our customers the opportunity to do something very special with their Wrangler that they’ve never been able to do before.”

Jeep currently offers a pickup conversion kit for the four-door Wrangler Unlimited and earlier this year showed a concept featuring a front end treatment inspired by the Jeep Gladiator of the 1960’s alongside the even more radical Mighty FC concept, which pushes the passenger compartment over the front axle in a way that hearkens back to the “Forward Control” Willys and Jeeps of the 1950’s and ‘60s. Both we’re well-received by the automotive press and consumers and would qualify as "never before" options on the Wrangler.

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