Jeep Design Director John Sgalia tells Ward’s the Hemi badge, affixed toand Dodge brand products, will be added to the back of Jeeps carrying the 5.7L Hemi V-8 under the hood starting in the ’06 model year.
The new ’05 Grand Cherokee went on sale last year with three powertrain options: a base 3.7L V-6, a 4.7L V-8 and the Hemi. The Hemi has a 25% take rate, says Jeff Bell, vice president-and Jeep brands.
“We always thought of the Hemi being tied to Dodge and Chrysler (heritage),” he says during a concept drive here, explaining why vehicles such as the Dodge Ram and Chrysler 300 proudly badge what’s under the hood, while Jeep only says it as a 5.7L engine.
Chrysler Group says feedback from owners of Hemi-equipped Grand Cherokees say the badging is needed.
“It wasn’t really like a groundswell or a problem, it was more like just comments,” Bell says. “Some of the people said I love my vehicle, but I wouldn’t mind showing off a little bit the fact it has a Hemi.”
The Grand Cherokee-based 7-seat Commander debuted March 23 at the New York International Auto Show with the same powertrain menu. It too gets a Hemi badge.(See related story: Jeep Thinks Big With Commander SUV)
Currently, Jeep buyers pay about a $1,000 premium for a Hemi over the 4.7L V-8, Bell says.