The Jeep Liberty has been a solid replacement for the venerable Jeep Cherokee that proceeded it, but as the Chrysler Group prepares to launch an all-new mid-size SUV for its Jeep brand, production of the Liberty is set to end next week ending with the 2012 model year. According to a report in Automotive News, the final Jeep Liberty will roll off the line on August 15 as Chrysler begins an upgrade and expansion of its Toledo North Assembly Plant. Although no replacement for the Liberty has officially been announced, Chrysler has said in the past that it will be built at this plant and it will share a Fiat platform.
Automotive News says that the Liberty replacement - still unnamed - will actually ride on the same platform as the Dodge Dart, and it will go into production in the third quarter of next year. Other interesting aspects of the report include the new Jeep's powertrain which is said to consist of a new 3.2-liter V-6 paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission. While not much is known about the next mid-size SUV for Jeep, it is almost certain that it will carry over the rugged driving abilities of the iconic Cherokee. The replacement is likely to be unveiled at the 2013 North American International Auto Show in Detroit as a 2014 model year vehicle.
Unlike the Dodge Nitro, which ended production at the end of last year with low sales, the Jeep Liberty is only outsold in the Jeep line-up by the popular Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Grand Cherokee. So far this year, Jeep has sold 50,142 Liberty models (an increase of 35 percent) while the Dodge Nitro only sold around half that all of last year. The Jeep Liberty received some much-needed upgrades for the 2011 model year, but its aging V-6 engine and four-speed automatic transmission lag far behind the competition.
As for the Toledo North Assembly Plant, Chrysler has already confirmed that it is investing $1.7 billion for the next-generation Jeep including upgrading the Toledo Assembly Complex to the tune of $500 million which will include a plant expansion and a new body shop. The plant will be adding 1,100 new jobs raising the total employment to over 2,800.