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Should the Jeep Grand Wagoneer Offer Woodgrain Trim?

  • Yes

    Votes: 3 75.0%
  • No

    Votes: 1 25.0%
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I was reading this article from Autoweek and I wanted to as it to the forum. Should Jeep offer a woodgrain trim on the Grand Wagoneer? I say YES but I feel like I'll be in the minority here.

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he Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept, revealed just a couple of weeks ago, seemed to have been received well enough, but some quickly noted one crucial bit was missing. It seemed to some that it if Jeep were to create a Grand Wagoneer concept, the very least that it could do is offer some woodgrain trim on the exterior, somewhere, just as a crowd-pleaser. The entirety of the doors don't have to be covered in woodgrain vinyl, but to many the idea of a Grand Wagoneer seems inseparable from its woodgrain siding, even though everyone understands it's not real timber.

But considering just how much the Grand Wagoneer could cost, some might feel the wood siding could actually afford to be real, coated with some transparent plastic to preserve it.

To be fair, this is still just a concept despite appearing production ready, so Jeep could still offer woodgrain siding as an option. But isn't this kind of showmanship exactly what concept cars are for, especially ones resurrecting a vintage nameplate? It seems strange Jeep would hold back on woodgrain on a concept, but then introduce it as an option on the production model.

The concept Jeep introduced, on the other hand, could plausibly have been badged as the next Grand Cherokee, and no one would have said it doesn't fit the badge.

It's true not all Wagoneers wore woodgrain siding. Look back at the Kaiser and AMC era Wagoneers, and woodgrain is actually pretty difficult to find in period photos of Wagoneers from the first 15 years of production. So it was by no means universal.

But the Wagoneer people often picture, we'd argue, is not the early model with quad headlights and a vertical grille -- it's the late-'80s Grand Wagoneer. That's really the Wagoneer of the collective popular imagination, and it's the Wagoneer people on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard pay tens of thousands to be seen in. The early Kaiser-era models have their fans, for sure, but... that's not quite the Wagoneer people tend to picture in their minds when someone says "I have a Jeep Wagoneer." The proportion of Wagoneers without woodgrain trim to those with it, among those on the roads today, would have to be pretty far apart, we suspect, in favor of models with woodgrain sides.

To this effect, we've fed a few hundred punchcards into the Autoweek mainframe and digitally imagined what Jeep's concept would look like with woodgrain that would appear acceptable in modern times, without descending into customized Chrysler PT Cruiser territory. We believe Jeep could acceptably pull it off with a thin strip of vinyl trim along the shoulder line that stretches to the taillights. And from the design of the concept vehicle itself, we suspect that may Jeep may have played around with something like this as an option, but then backed out of it due to concerns of not being seen as modern or excessively retro.

Should Jeep at least offer woodgrain trim as an option on the new Grand Wagoneer that will go on sale in 2021, or is this an element that would not see demand in the modern age of SUVs?
 

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Apparently FCA's design chief lost sleep over whether or not to add a wood trim or not.

Ralph Gilles, head of product design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, says he "lost sleep" over the question of whether to include the wood-grain panels on the exterior of the new Grand Wagoneer that has become synonymous with the vehicles Jeep stopped producing almost 30 years ago.

Gilles' conclusion? No fake wood on the vehicle's sides, as the automaker showed Thursday with a concept model. Ultimately it came down to how the definition of luxury has changed over the past decades. The vehicle is meant to be the 2020 version of a premium SUV — the segment the original Grand Wagoneer invented in 1984.

"To be honest," Gilles told The Detroit News Thursday, "I've lost sleep over this question because it was asked internally a couple years ago. And philosophically, we looked at it for a hot second. We really did try, but the original was contact paper with a vinyl that was applied to the original car. It looked OK, and it made a statement, but they were desperately trying to establish a sense of luxury, which wood at the time was how you did it.

"Today, we're using much different tools and design elements to stay luxury. Putting wood on this car would have just cheapened it actually."


 

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Wood accents along the side must be a basic design inclusion. The Wagoneer name is synonymous with the word wood and for those of us who have had the original Wagoneers in our lives and now have the income to afford these beasts wood is essential.
What will then happen is WE then become the advertising for the Wagoneer product and the brand that others will want. Otherwise the new Wagoneer merely becomes another $85,000 Escalade, GLS, Q7 etc. Nothing unique and differential whatsoever.
 

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Wood accents along the side must be a basic design inclusion. The Wagoneer name is synonymous with the word wood and for those of us who have had the original Wagoneers in our lives and now have the income to afford these beasts wood is essential.
What will then happen is WE then become the advertising for the Wagoneer product and the brand that others will want. Otherwise the new Wagoneer merely becomes another $85,000 Escalade, GLS, Q7 etc. Nothing unique and differential whatsoever.
I hope they actually go forward with working in the wood. It will be harder to do this time around than it was decades ago. A worst case scenario (but still good) is that the wood lives on in the cabin, and I would be completely happy with that. Would you?

BTW, welcome to the forum!
 
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