08-25-2015, 04:30 AM
My Jeep: 2012 3.0L WK2
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Melb, AUS
Thanked 40 Times in 32 Posts
Rep Power: 3395
Local tuning/engineering a possibility..
Australian tuning on the menu for Chrysler, Jeep
Fiat Chrysler Australia will work with its American parent to tune future Jeep and Chrysler models for local conditions. Photo: Supplied
Jeep and Chrysler could soon benefit from local testing and development programs aimed at making them better suited to Australian conditions and tastes.
Next generations of models such as the Cherokee, Grand Cherokee and Chrysler 300 could all be tested and tuned locally as part of a push to grow sales and local suitability.
Fiat Chrysler Australia corporate communications director Lucy McLellan said they had spoken to global product boss Steve Bartoli about "tuning vehicles for Australian standards and Australian roads".
"So they'll look at bringing out an engineering team to make sure it works that way," said McLellan.
Ford, Holden and Toyota have long tuned cars for Australian conditions and plan to continue that moving forward. Holden reversed a decision to shut its expansive Victorian proving ground, near Lang Lang, partly to continue local development programs it sees as part of the brand's DNA.
More recently Hyundai and Kia have begun tailoring steering and suspension systems to Australian roads and tastes, with each suggesting it's a crucial part of growing sales and acceptance.
FCA product strategy boss Alan Swanson confirmed Australia had a loud voice within the brand's US headquarters off the back of strong sales, particularly for the SUV-focused Jeep brand.
"The feedback we had was they were open to any suggestions from us that meant that the car could be even more competitive in the market in future," said Swanson.
He listed steering, suspension, trim levels and standard features as areas that could be developed or tweaked for Australian consumption.
"It's such a competitive market … Jeep are proud of their tradition and we fully realise you can't stand still, and if that means doing things in a more focused way compared to having some single products to service the whole world.
"We work very closely with the team who look after the Asia-Pacific region but also we have access to anyone we want to … it's a very open and global mindset."
Jeep has previously created interiors inspired by places such as Morocco, Nepal, the Grand Canyon and even New Zealand.
And the revised Chrysler 300 SRT that goes on sale this week – complete with a 350kW 6.4-litre V8 – was produced primarily for the Australian market.
Interesting. I've always been of the opinion that our locally tuned cars are some of the best riding/handling vehicles.
My last 2 Territories drove brilliantly...
MY12 Mineral Grey Overland CRD.