Auto blogWed, 28 May 2014 19:15:00 EST
This nine-year-old girl might be better at rock crawling than some people twice her age. But is it worth putting her in danger to do it? According to her father on the Jeep Experience Facebook page, her name is Faith, and she has been offroading with her family since she was two. At nine years old, she's now driving her dad's Jeep over the rocks by herself.
As you can see she's belted in and under her father's direct supervision and guidance. She shows immense confidence for someone her age and follows her dad's instructions on exactly what to do. Although, this could still be a very dangerous situation if something went wrong.
Previously, we saw a similar video with a six-year-old on a motorcycle driving on public roads through the desert. Voters decided by only a six-point margin that the adult should be in trouble for letting the kid ride the bike. Here, we have a slightly older child driving a vehicle off road. Where do you fall in this case? Is it still wrong to hand over control to a child? Let us know in the poll below and scroll down to watch the video.
When we look back at some of the more shocking product launches of recent yeras, the Jeep Cherokee is certainly high up on the list. And we aren't just talking about its off-the-wall, polarizing design.
For starters, it brought back the iconic Cherokee nameplate - something Jeep enthusiasts have coveted for ages. But beyond that, it brought a new evolution for the Jeep brand. After all, the Cherokee is car-based - using the same compact platform that underpins the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200. It has a greater focus on technology and refinement than ever before, in an effort to appeal to a new crop of Jeep customers. And powering it all is a new (optional) V6 engine paired with an equally new nine-speed automatic transmission.
Can the Cherokee's car-based roots still allow for a vehicle that's superb when the going gets tough? Will its design still be a love/hate affair in one year's time, or will it start to blend in? Is the powertrain strong enough to not only support the needs of daily driving and road trips, but blaze a few trails as well? We're aiming to answer all these questions, and more, over the next 12 months. Welcome to the Autoblog long-term garage, Cherokee.
Behind the vanguard of numerous Jeep models, two Chryslers, a smattering of Fiats and Alfa Romeos and local production through a joint venture with Guangzhou Automotive Group (GAG), Fiat Chrysler wants to increase sales in China more than six-fold by 2018. The group sold 130,000 cars in China in 2013, the aim for 2018 being 850,000 cars.
Ultimately it's expected that the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Cherokee, Wrangler, Renegade, the coming Grand Wagoneer and a sub-Renegade-sized crossover will either be built in or exported to the People's Republic. The Chrysler Town & Country and 300 will join the export list in 2016 and 2018 respectively, according to a report in Automotive News.
With a number of those vehicles not in production or perhaps even envisaged yet, and others not due on the local market until 2018, it will be interesting to see how Fiat Chrysler plans to achieve the target in the specified timeframe. The joint venture with GAG builds two products now, the Dodge Dart-based Fiat Viaggio launched two years ago - supposedly designed just for China - and the just-launched Fiat Ottimo, a hatchback version of the Viaggio. Fiat projected 300,000 Viagio sales in its first two years, that number has been adjusted downward to 94,000 and there doesn't appear to be an analyst alive that sees a good future for Fiat in China's overrun mainstream market. Still, last year's 130,000 group sales in China is a huge jump from 2012 sales of 66,000 units, but less than half the 300,000 units it projected.
We've recently heard much about how Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne plans to pump up the volume on Jeep sales, inaugurating new models and global dealerships. But that's the stuff outlined in five-year plans; right now, advertising and special editions are at the fore, and the late Michael Jackson, too. Jeep has begun airing two commercials to push its Altitude Editions, Call of Summer and Lovers of the Game, that feature the song "Love Never Felt So Good" from Jackson's upcoming album of new music.
A little more star power - and timely, too - comes from Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. While Call of Summer features a few short shots of the former Rookie of the Year and two-time NBA All-Star, Lovers of the Game is all about his white Wrangler Altitude Edition and wrangling shots. You can watch both spots below, and if you want to hear the rest of the music track before the album hits, you can download it from iTunes.
During the Fiat-Chrysler briefings on Tuesday, Reid Bigland, head of Ram Trucks, outlined the new product plans for his brand, including confirmation that an all-new light-duty Ram 1500 will launch in 2017. From there, discussions spun off in two directions, with the main questions being: will Ram build a midsize pickup? And, following Ford's move to extensively use aluminum in its new 2015 F-150, will Chrysler be using this weight-saving material for the next round of its fullsize truck, as well?
"I think there is room for a Ram 1000," Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne (pictured above) told members of the media, saying this is a conversation the automaker has been having internally for several years now. "We've tried this ... we've actually taken it to clinics," Marchionne stated, adding that the "response has been lukewarm."
"I have better use of aluminum in this house than a pickup truck." - Sergio Marchionne
Unless you've been living under a rock for the past 24 hours, you've no doubt read about all of the big future product news coming out of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles today. We had individual brand reports from Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, Maserati and even Ferrari, but in the interest of simplifying and summarizing, we're going to list out the hard facts once more. Of course, with all of this still off in the future, there's still the possibility that a few changes will be made. But as of what we know right now, here's what's coming, and what's going away.
2014: Refreshed 300/300C, debuting at Los Angeles Auto Show
Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Machionne presented a five-year plan for the company brands this morning, with Jeep first up on a long day of presentation. Jeep's head honcho Michael Manley wasted no time in laying out what the foreseeable future will look like for what he calls the "lead global brand" of the company.
Big goals for the next half-decade will include expanding the lineup from five nameplates built in one country, to six nameplates build in six countries. That expansion of models will include both a three-row competitor, and, of course, a small vehicle to slot below Cherokee. The company is also seeking to add a whopping 1,300 dealers over the next few years, to sell all this new metal, and has an aggressive goal of doubling Jeep sales by the time 2018 rolls around.
As expected, that first salvo from the off-road brand will be the debut of the much ballyhooed Renegade small crossover in the third quarter of this year. Jeep has already designated that Renegade will get refreshed for the 2017 model year, as well.
The Jeep Cherokee Dakar concept showed off at the 2014 Easter Jeep Safari made a lot of online friends, even the Cherokee naysayers assenting that there's a monster Jeep underneath the Cherokee's skin if you're willing to go in and get it. But after reading Road & Track's write-up of what went into creating the Dakar, particularly its lift, you'll understand why you'll probably never see the components for it in the Jeep Performance Parts catalog.
The concept's press release mentions a "prototype Jeep Performance Parts lift kit, and additional suspension modifications." The short-story explanation is that the front struts on the standard Cherokee weren't engineered to accept any amount of lift, so the long story begins with the phrase, "an entirely new suspension." Head over to RT to read the details, and don't be afraid to ogle the Cherokee Dakar gallery and another awesome Jeep fancy that won't likely crawl over the hurdles imposed by production reality.
Jeep is making a big play for the Chinese crossover market at the 2014 Beijing Motor Show. It has a quartet styling concepts for the Renegade, Cherokee and Wrangler that are inspired by Chinese culture at the show.
Among them is the newest member of the Jeep lineup - the Renegade. Its Zi You Xia concept (pictured above) comes from the Mandarin for "rebel," and it's painted in Warm Chocolate Gray with Dark Anodized Bronze trim, including the 20-inch wheels. The roof, grille surround, and mirror caps are done in a complimentary Dark Charcoal color as an accent. The interior is a mix of dark brown leather and Anodized Copper trim. This is one swanky compact crossover.
The Cherokee Sageland and Urbane concepts are meant to show to different sides of Chinese style. With inspiration from the Shangri-La Region, the Sageland has Ivory Pearl tri-coat paint with bronze trim on the outside, and the interior is covered in Gray Nappa leather with red and blue stitching. The Urbane's look comes from the nightlife in the country's cities. The exterior is a color called Maximum Steel with Hyper Black trim. Inside, it combines Piano Black trim with dark red leather seats.
Among the design concepts Jeep has prepared for Beijing Motor Show this year are a pair of Cherokees dressed up in contrasting schemes.
In one corner we have the Sageland concept pictured above, drawing its inspiration from Shangri-La with an Ivory Peal tri-coat and bronze trim for the grille, fascia appliqués, roof rack, sunroof, mirror caps and exhaust tips. Inside it's all earth tones with light gray Nappa leather seats and red and blue top-stitching inspired by traditional Chinese themes.
Meanwhile the Urbane concept (pictured right) takes the Cherokee in a different direction with steel blue metallic paintjob and black accents. Inside it adopts the theme of Chinese calligraphy with Piano Black accepts and dark red Nappa leather.