Recently, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) released their future plans to expand their SUV production in the Metro Detroit area. Within that plan, FCA announced the addition of converting the Mack Avenue Engine Plant into a new assembly plant to produce the next-generation Jeep Grand Cherokee (WL) and a new three-row Jeep SUV. The plan also outlines the continuing production of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and the current Dodge Durango (WD) at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP). Now we are learning some new information about the Dodge Durango, thanks to our sources.
Several months ago, we told you that the next-generation Dodge Durango (codenamed SD), was to be based on the all-new 2019 Ram 1500 (DT) platform. This new Durango is supposed to join the upcoming Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer (WS) at the Warren Truck Assembly Plant (WTAP). However, this plan has been put on hold. Because of the recently FCA plan to continue the last-generation Ram 1500 Classic (DS) at the plant past 2020 model year, the move will push the next-generation Durango back two model years.
The upcoming three-row Jeep SUV planned for the new Mack Avenue Assembly Plant (MAAP), was intended to fill in the gap left by the current generation Durango when it moved to its new body-on-frame architecture. However, both the new Jeep and the Durango will be offered in FCA dealership showrooms in the 2021 model year. But what does the extended model life mean for the Durango?
Well, Dodge has some cards still left in the playbook for the current generation Durango. Expect the brand to bring higher content to the lower trim Durango models. Dodge will also be highlighting their move to make the Durango into the “Charger of SUVs”. We have been seeing this in the past couple of model years with the GT model getting the optional SRT hood, as well as the “performance” SUV, getting many of the high-impact colors from the Charger and Challenger color palette.
Dodge also will be bringing additional performance to the Durango lineup. Our sources are now telling us that Dodge is going forward with plans of producing a HELLCAT-powered model. We are hearing we should start seeing prototypes testing very soon. Expect the same running gear that underpins the all-wheel-drive 707 horsepower Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk.
So for those who were exciting about a more truck-like Durango, you will have to wait a couple more model years. But, if you are a diehard performance nut the upcoming model years for the current generation Dodge Durango, might be the best years of the Durango’s life yet.