Speaking at the Detroit motor show, Marchionne explained that FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) was completing a feasibility study into the viability of building the fifth-generation Grand Cherokee upon the rear-wheel-drive ’Giorgio’ platform.
“The most natural application of a further evolution of the Alfa Romeo platform is the Grand Cherokee,” he said.
“We’re finishing off the study now, but I’m going on the basis of the latest information, which is that it will be the basis upon which the Grand Cherokee will be developed, unless something happens in the next 60 days that suggests it isn’t doable.
“That would really complete the story of architectural development for us because I think it would certainly nail in a big piece of the Jeep story.”
The longitudinal-engined Giorgio architecture was developed by FCA at a cost of about £800m and can be adapted for a variety of vehicle types, in addition to having four-wheel-drive capability. Development of the platform focused on ensuring it was light in weight and imbued with good fundamental driving dynamics.
The current Grand Cherokee, launched in 2010, harks back to the Daimler-Chrysler era and shares its underpinnings with what was then called the Mercedes-Benz M-Class, now known as the Mercedes-Benz GLE.