Inheriting The Classics Or Catering To The Market?
Jeep Wrangler History (Part Two)
- 01 Nov, 2019
For Jeep, the Wrangler is not only a product, but also the inheritance of brand culture. In the 1990s, Chrysler began a market survey of a new generation of Wranglers. It is reported that the investigation at that time was not as conventional as the traditional investigation. Replace asking what kind of Jeep the respondents need, they asked them about the earliest memory of Jeep.
It is obvious from the survey results that people's impressions of Jeep are different from those of ordinary vehicles. It can gallop freely in the open field and grassland where ordinary vehicles can't reach. People hope the Wrangler can run like a free horse, even if it looks like a “rough man”.
Since 1990, Chrysler has set up a special department and appropriated a budget of 260 million dollars to officially approve the start plan of Wrangler TJ. They did a lot of research and established various design schemes. After confirming the needs of consumers, the company began to manufacture sample cars in 1994, tested them in the end of 1995 and began to produce them in January 1996.
The second generation of Wrangler (Wrangler TJ) first appeared at the Detroit Auto Show in 1996. It cost six years of capital investment and three years of production and development stage. In April 1996, the first group of Wrangler TJ arrived at Jeep's major exhibition halls. People were pleasantly surprised to find that its lights had finally changed back to the classic round lights.
It is understood that replacing the square lamp of the previous generation model with the classic round lamp is the result of research, which conforms to the public opinion. The person in charge of the research suggested to the company that the headlight of the Wrangler should be changed to round, because the eyes of the horse are round, rather than the square of the ordinary headlight. Although a little hesitant at first, the company finally adopted the proposal. When people see the round lamp, they always think of the legendary Willis MB military vehicle.
Compared with the previous model, the overall shape and body size of the Wrangler TJ have not changed much, and the standard version has a wheelbase of 2370mm. In 2004, the Wrangler launched the new unlimited model, which has a wheelbase of 2630mm. The Wrangler TJ still only offers two door versions, the roof is divided into hard top and soft top, just like the previous generation.
After the launch of the Wrangler TJ, although the overall shape and body size did not change much, it has received good feedback because the adjustments are in line with the people's wishes. Including the abandonment of the leaf spring suspension, replaced by a coil spring suspension, so that the vehicle's driving performance is improved, and the biggest highlight in appearance is the classic round lamp. The interior of the Wrangler TJ is more modern and the configuration has improved a lot. Compared with the old models, it pays more attention to practicality.
This generation of Wranglers is a generation that has changed a lot. First, in 1999, a 19 gallon (about 72L) fuel tank has become the standard configuration; The vehicles produced from 1997 to 2002 use a black metal exterior mirror frame. This “unpleasant” material has been replaced by plastic materials. In addition, the seat model of later models is also adjusted, from integral design to adjustable headrest.
As for the power, the Wrangler TJ was first equipped with a 2.5L in-line four cylinder and a 4.0L in-line six cylinder engine used by Cherokee and Grand Cherokee models, with the maximum power of 122 HP and 184 HP respectively.
The Wrangler TJ has increased the ground clearance, approach angle and departure angle, and its off-road performance is also better. According to statistics, about 80% of the new car parts have been redesigned, which can be said to be reborn. Wrangler TJ has become more "close to the people", this change does not refer to the price aspect, but the product itself is more in line with people's daily needs, so that the scope of target consumer group is widened. Next, let's take a look at the different versions of the Wrangler TJ launched in different periods.
In 2003, Jeep launched a special version of the Wrangler—Rubicon, which originated from a legendary off-road section. Obviously, Rubicon is specially designed for the fanatical off-road enthusiasts. In the Wrangler family, Rubicon enjoys a position of admiration. The Rubicon Trail is a path in the northern part of the Sieera Nevada Mountains in California. There are countless huge rocks and the long distance steep slopes on this less than 100km road which almost gather all the difficult off-road obstacles in the world. Named after this dangerous path full of off-road challenges, it also shows Jeep's confidence in Wrangler.
The Wrangler TJ Rubicon is equipped with a super four-wheel drive system with a low-speed transmission ratio of 4:1 for the transfer case, with front and rear mechanical differential locks, and a thicker and stronger Dana 44 Axle. At the same time, it is equipped with 16-inch alloy wheels and Goodyear MTR P245/75 R16 off-road tires. Previously, if the customer wanted to have a Wrangler with stronger off-road ability, only through modification, Rubicon's appearance is equivalent to giving a ready-made one. In 2004, Jeep launched the Unlimited model previously mentioned, which is the long wheelbase version, with the wheelbase lengthened by 260mm. A year later, Jeep brought a Rubicon Unlimited, which not only has a long wheelbase, but also retains the off-road hardware equipment of Rubicon.
After entering the new century, it can be seen that Jeep constantly adjusts according to market demand, and the market orientation becomes more and more obvious. First, the long wheelbase version of the Wrangler TJ was launched in 2004; Later, considering that the off-road performance of this car can not meet the demand, it developed Rubicon Unlimited in 2005. It provides more space for passengers to ride, while off-road capability is not inferior to the Rubicon version.
In "Tomb Raider 2", the heroine's chariot was replaced by the Wrangler Rubicon, of course, it is more exaggerated in the movie. It's cool for the Wrangler to come out. Lola parachutes directly from the air into the Wrangler, and drives it through all kinds of extremely harsh environments to find her target. In July 2003, Jeep released a special edition of the limited edition model "Tomb Raider" with a limited quantity of 1000 cars, which made a large number of Jeep fans crazy.
In 2006, Jeep ushered in its 65th birthday, which launched a series of commemorative versions of its models, naturally including the Wrangler. For the first time, the Jeep 65th Anniversary Edition offers a unique Jeep green body paint and a nameplate logo on the body to show their distinctive identity. The 65th Anniversary Edition of the Wrangler was produced on the basis of the regular version of the Wrangler, priced at 23,535 dollars, which was equivalent to RMB 189,000 and produced only 1,600 units. It is also the last version that came into production during the Wrangler TJ period.
In the Jeep family, the Wrangler is not the most expensive model, nor the model which integrated with the most advanced technologies of brand. But no one would doubt the fact that the Wrangler is the most representative of Jeep brand spirit. If Willis MB is the god of war that can't be surpassed, then the Wrangler is the pioneer of fearless progress in the peacetime. It shows its unparalleled characteristics and is the best partner of adventurers.