Are Jeep Australia spinning a line to Aussie Wrangler buyers?
Read any of the Australian Jeep Forums or talk to anyone who has a Wrangler Rubicon or Diesel on order and you will find a long tale of frustration, all sorts of dealer excuses and some very ordinary examples of PR spin from Chrysler Jeep Australia executives trying to fend off enquiries from unhappy Jeep customers.
Some customers and dealers are being told about factory fires, shortages of transfer cases and axles, and other tales of woe that are causing delays in production. It seems it is not just Australian buyers effected either as some European countries are experiencing similar issues. But then you visit the Jeep UK website and find them promoting that you can make a "Special Order" and build the ultimate Jeep, Petrol or Diesel and even Rubicon.
............. Its all very strange because if you do a Google search looking for any reports of these excuses you will not find anything reported, nothing in the US, no reports of factory fires from VM Motori (they make the diesel engines), no reports of transfer case delays on US forums, nothing on any of the Chrysler Corporate websites or US based blogs. They are still producing a trickle of Diesel KK Cherokee and Grand Voyager models for Australia but even these have recently dried up.
So what is the truth?
Are we just being bypassed and is the US sending all export production to Europe?
Are they supplying the more lucrative US market at the expense of their very loyal and enthusiastic Australian buyers?
Are they reducing supply of less profitable diesel and specialist models like the Rubicon to concentrate on more profitable models?
There are some feasible conclusions that can be made based on information available on the internet such as issues with production capacity at the Toledo Jeep factory where the JK is built. It appears that when the factory was built they never expected to be selling so many Wranglers, and they are looking at ways to expand the plant but apparently it was never designed to be expanded. The factory is already at maximum production capacity. This explains why there has been a reluctance to build some of the other cool variants that have been seen over recent yreas such as the Wrangler Pickup (Gladiator concept), Steel top roof (Rescue concept) and our favourite Jeep they just wont build - the Diesel Rubicon. They simply don't have capacity to build these models.
Also US sales are so strong it appears that most of the JK Wranglers are being built for the US Market at the expense or export markets. Australia's production order must look minuscule compared to the number sold in the US. We have all been told over the years that Australia is the largest export market for Wrangler, but even that is a stretch now days with Wranglers now being sold in the Middle East, Europe and Asia etc.
All we can conclude at this point is that if you want a Rubicon or Diesel version of the Wrangler you will be up for a very, very long wait. The positive in all this is that if and when your new Jeep is built it could be a 2013 model if it gets built after July.