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Commander not dead yet

Seven-up: Commander is not yet 12 months old in Australia.

Seven-seat Grand Cherokee to spell Commander's demise, as Challenger case builds

2 Apr 2007

SLOW sales and the fact the next-generation Grand Cherokee will offer seven seats are likely to spell the end of Jeep’s full-sized Commander SUV.

US reports claim Commander, which was introduced here in May last year, will be discontinued by the end of the 2009 model year due to fluctuating fuel prices and Americans’ shift towards more fuel-efficient SUVs.

Priced between $54,990 (4.7 V8 – just $1000 more than the entry-level Grand Cherokee) and $71,990 (5.7 V8), the seven-seat Commander returns average fuel consumption of 10.5L/100km (3.0 CRD: $59,990), 15.5L/100km (4.7) and 16.0L/100km (5.7).

Jeep sold just 86 Commanders in the first two months of this year, but US reports say Chrysler Group is disappointed it has also cannibalized sales of Jeep’s smaller five-seat flagship, the Grand Cherokee.

Jeep has confirmed that model will be replaced by a seven-seat model. "With the Grand Cherokee going to seven seats for the next generation, which is more than three years away, our hand will probably be forced to change the Commander concept or to let it go altogether," Chrysler Group Australia public relations manager Jerry Stamoulis told GoAuto.

"Of course we’ll be dictated by the market and we’ll need a seven-seater in our range in the meantime."

Challenger case builds

CHRYSLER Group Australia says it is continuing to do everything it can to make the right-hand drive Dodge Challenger coupe a reality.

41 center imageConfirmed for US left-hand drive production in 2008, the born-again Challenger nameplate is Dodge’s answer to the GM Holden-engineered Chevrolet Camaro two-door, due on sale in the US in 2009.

CGA says the business case is proceeding, and is being led globally by Australia, which would be the biggest-selling Challenger market ahead of the UK, South Africa and Japan, which has confirmed Chrysler’s coolest coupe in decades will be imported in US-spec guise, because LHD is perceived as having greater cachet value in Japan.

CGA says its 300C Touring-based E490 concept has stirred new interest in the Chrysler muscle car market but that, if approved for local sale, Challenger won’t be seen here for at least two years.

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