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Auto blogThu, 04 Jul 2013 14:15:00 EST
It's not unusual to feel extra patriotic this time of year, what with the Fourth of July being today and all. As if to celebrate, New York-based research firm Brand Keys conducted a study among 4,500 consumers about what brands they find to be the most patriotic. According to the Detroit Free Press, Jeep took top honors in this study, besting other American stalwart brands including Coca-Cola, Levi's and Hershey's.
Interestingly, the only other automotive brand to make the list was Ford, in the 16th spot (motorcycle fans take note - Harley-Davidson claimed the No. 13 slot). This means consumers found Jeep to be more patriotic than any of the brands in the General Motors portfolio, including Chevrolet, which has long used American themes in its advertising over the decades.
According to Brand Keys, Jeep came in "with a score of 98 out of 100 on a scale representing consumers' emotional engagement expectations," the Detroit Free Press reports. Be sure to read the report to scan the entire Top 25 list for yourself.
Contrary to what a certain politician may have said last year about Jeep moving to China, the automaker is in fact doing the opposite, with plans to greatly increase the production capacity at its Toledo North Assembly plant in Ohio. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that there are big plans for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee and Toledo North, as a local union president has informed the newspaper that Chrysler is planning to produce around 250,000 examples of the new midsize utility per year.
To put this number into context, 250,000 units is more than what Jeep Liberty sales totaled here over the last three years combined. Even taking into consideration that the 250,000 units will be distributed beyond US borders, that's an ambitious volume figure full-stop - and that's without taking into consideration the new Cherokee's love/hate design. In its favor, though, Jeep is making remarkable inroads globally as of late, and the Cherokee's size could work well in emerging markets. To get that kind of output from Toledo's Cherokee assembly line, Chrysler will reportedly hire 1,105 new workers - that's in addition to the 200 workers already being hired to build the popular Jeep Wrangler, which is itself expected to top 220,000 units this year.
Automakers the world over are striving to find ways to make their models more efficient, and Chrysler has a solution for some versions of the 2015 Chrysler 200 and 2015 Jeep Cherokee (2014 model shown). The Tigershark 2.4-liter four-cylinder in the 200 and the 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 in the Cherokee are getting a slight boost later this year thanks to the addition of Chrysler's Engine Stop-Start system as standard equipment. The company predicts modest gains - a three-percent improvement in fuel economy and a three percent reduction in CO2 emissions with the new tech compared to without it. While it's not much, those who sit in traffic a lot may see a difference.
Chrysler's stop/start system uses a high-speed starter motor to restart the vehicle in a claimed a third of a second. It works by detecting when the vehicle comes to a stop and turning off the engine. A more powerful battery maintains all of the model's accessories while it sits. When the driver lets off the brake, the car starts up again to drive away. There is even a button in the cabin to turn the ESS off, if desired.
The Jeep will be the first to receive ESS in the third quarter of this year to coincide with the start of production of the 2015 model-year version. The 200 will follow in the fourth quarter as a rolling change in production.