By Colin Bird on March 27, 2012
More details are emerging about the Jeep Liberty replacement, including the addition of a nine-speed automatic transmission and a 3.2-liter engine, according to a union president who spoke to WTVG-TV, an ABC affiliate serving the Toledo, Ohio, area.
UAW Local 12 President Bruce Baumhower described the new Liberty as having "mpg that will knock your socks off."
According to Chrysler's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the carmaker is expected to launch a Jeep Liberty replacement in 2013, and it is working on a newly developed nine-speed automatic transmission for its new midsize front-wheel-drive platform. It's designed for hybrid and all-wheel-drive systems, and the Jeep Liberty replacement will ride on this new platform. The 3.2-liter engine Baumhower mentioned is likely a modified version of the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6.
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne told the Detroit Free Press that the new Liberty will "be a Trail-Rated, full-blooded Jeep that has its origins in the architecture of a sports car."
The Toledo Complex, which builds the 2012 Liberty, is undergoing a $500 million expansion for the new midsize SUV replacement. Upgrades include a 335,000-square-foot addition to the body shop.
Production of the current-generation Liberty will end in August, Baumhower says, as the plant undergoes the rest of its expansion. It will reopen for production in February. When the plant reopens, production capacity will be tripled to about 300,000 vehicles a year, Baumhower told WTVG. Chrysler will hire 1,100 workers to help build the Liberty, bringing total plant employment to over 2,800, Chrysler says.