Adamsville, Alabama, United States
It's been some time since we've heard anything about fires related to the Jeep Wrangler (foreign or domestic), but it sounds like the go-anywhere SUV could be in hot water once again in China. Bloomberg is reporting that the Chinese government is ordering Jeep to investigate the matter and, in the meantime, also recommending Wrangler owners to not drive their vehicles in "extreme conditions" due to a "relatively high risk" of catching on fire.
There is no indication as to how many vehicles or which model years are affected, but the previous fire problems in both the US and China - which led to investigations but no recalls - were traced back to automatic transmission fluid leaks. The article, however, does not say what the potential problem is this time around as Jeep has not released a comment on the matter. The official notice, in Chinese, can be found here.
In our First Drive article on the 2014 Jeep Cherokee we said, "our informal and thoroughly unscientific opinion is they're going to sell tons of them. Why? Because it is very good." So far, it appears the public concurs. Of course, it's very early - the new compact utility has logged just one month of confirmed sales, but Larry Vellequette at Automotive News says dealers have told him that the second month of sales will be even better, a message that mirrors what we've heard from company execs.
In its first, severely truncated month on sale, the Cherokee sold 579 units. With all of November to play with, though, dealers moved 10,169 of them - compared to 11,753 Wranglers and 14,798 Grand Cherokees. That helped propel Jeep to a 30-percent year-on-year improvement for the month, Chrysler Group to a 16-percent improvement and the group's 44th consecutive month of sales growth, exceeding analyst expectations in posting its best November numbers since 2007.
If it can just keep replicating the its first month of sales, the finalist in North American Truck of the Year voting will smoke the trade done by the outgoing Liberty, which didn't break 7,900 units in a month in the last four years of its life (and normally didn't get close to even that). In March this year, Chrysler said it wants to build 250,000 Cherokees in its Toledo assembly plant for global sales. It's early yet, but with second-month sales quoted as being as "strong as death," the bookies might be resetting the odds.
We've said it before and we'll say it again - while we usually grow tired of the endless barrage of special edition vehicles, that isn't the case with the Jeep Wrangler. Every unique model we encounter seems cooler than the one before it, and this Willys Wheeler Edition is no exception.
The Willys Wheeler package is sort of a throwback to early Jeep CJ models, and wears "Willys" stickers on the hood. There's also a gloss black grille, rock rails to protect the side sills, and unique 17-inch black wheels wrapped in meaty BF Goodrich KM Mud Terrain tires. For proper off-road prowess, this special edition uses a Dana 44 rear axle with a limited-slip differential and a 3.73 final drive ratio.
Look for the Willys edition to hit dealerships early next year, starting at $25,795 for the two-door version and $29,595 for the four-door. Feel free to read all about it in the press release below.