Press Kit: 2006 Jeep® Commander Launch

With Classic Jeep® Design, the 2006 Jeep Commander Goes On- and Off-Road with More Size, More Seating, Safety and Security

Auburn Hills, Mich. August 7, 2005 -

If the 2006 Jeep® Commander could talk, “more” would be its favorite word.

The introduction of Commander at the New York International Auto Show in March 2005 marked the formal addition of one more Jeep model to the already strong lineup of Grand Cherokee, Liberty and Wrangler, and signals the start of a Jeep product offensive scheduled for the next two years.

With an overall length of 188.5 inches and a height of nearly 72 inches, Commander is more Jeep SUV than ever before.

Because Commander is the first Jeep vehicle with three rows of seats, more passengers – seven – can visit more places to enjoy its go-anywhere, do-anything capability.

And Commander has more safety and security features than any previous Chrysler Group vehicle, including standard side-curtain air bags in all three rows and standard Electronic Stability Program (ESP).

“Simply put, Commander is more Jeep,” said Jeff Bell, Vice President – Jeep, Chrysler Group. “With more room and more capability than other seven-passenger 4x4s, Commander offers owners an extra dose of freedom and adventure, both on- and off-road.”

It doesn’t end there. The Jeep brand has been building industry-leading 4x4 vehicles for more than 60 years. To be worthy of the Jeep badge, Commander was also required to have legendary Jeep off-road capability. It does – plus on-road driving refinement – because it is equipped with the same under-the-skin components as the award-winning Jeep Grand Cherokee. As a result, the new 2006 Jeep Commander is the most capable seven-passenger 4x4. And, of course, it’s Jeep Trail Rated®.

Jeep vehicles are engineered to scale obstacles that leave less capable vehicles bent and broken. Jeep Commander is no exception. It has the same underpinnings that have proven highly successful on the current Jeep Grand Cherokee, including:

  • Three, full-time, four-wheel-drive systems, Quadra-Trac I®, Quadra-Trac II® and Quadra-Drive II®
  • Two transfer cases offering Brake Traction Control System (BTCS) and Electronic Limited Slip Differentials (ELSD)
  • Three available engines: The 3.7-liter SOHC V-6, the 4.7-liter SOHC V-8 and the incomparable 5.7-liter HEMI® V-8. For the first time, a two-speed transfer case is available with the 3.7-liter engine, and two-wheel-drive capability is optional on the 5.7-liter V-8 engine. (Both options will be offered on the 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee as well.)
  • Two five-speed automatic transmissions
  • Standard independent front suspension, along with rack and pinion steering

Commander’s all-new design was inspired by three legendary Jeep vehicles.

The Willys-Overland (1946 to 1962) was the tallest of the three, at slightly under 73 inches. The Willys-Overland was the auto industry’s first all-steel station wagon. It was equipped with only two doors, but a fold-down rear hatch made loading easy. Seven-passenger capacity was achieved with a single, inboard-facing seat behind the second row of seats.

The Wagoneer (1963 to 1991) has often been called the first true sport-utility vehicle. It was lower and longer than the Willys-Overland wagon, but, like its predecessor, employed round headlamps. One difference was the Wagoneer’s trapezoidal wheel openings, now a signature feature of Jeep design. A brawny 4,000 pounder, the Wagoneer was by no means aerodynamic. Still, it was less boxy than the Wagon; the windshield and rear were not as stiff. The four-door Wagoneer outsold the two-door model by wide margins.

In terms of a family resemblance, the Jeep Commander is closest to the Jeep Cherokee (1984 to 2001). The latter was 21 inches shorter, 6 inches narrower, 4 inches lower and weighed 1,000 pounds less than the first Jeep Wagoneer. The Cherokee was considered a breakthrough: It was the first UniFrame four-door compact SUV and a true car-like alternative. Additionally, it was the only compact sport utility to offer two-door and four-door models. It received rave reviews when introduced and went on to win “4x4 of the Year” from three magazines in 1984.

Commander retains important ingredients from all three vehicles, both in execution and in spirit. The result is a sport-utility vehicle with a mechanical, purpose-built appearance – rugged and unmistakably Jeep. Commander takes classic Jeep design elements – flat surfaces, upright stance, round headlamps, trapezoidal wheel openings and slotted grille – and gives them a 21st century interpretation.

Safety and Security
The 2006 Jeep Commander includes the highest levels of safety and security technology and features ever offered on a Chrysler Group vehicle. Standard features include side-curtain air bags with a roll detection system that deploys air bags in certain rollover and side-impact situations, ESP, Electronic Roll Mitigation (ERM), tire pressure monitor and Brake Assist™.

Additionally, advanced multi-stage frontal air bags with an Occupant Classification System for the front passenger are standard on Commander. This system classifies the severity of an impact event and uses additional sensor information to further modify front-passenger air bag output based on occupant size and weight. The resulting deployment could be low, medium or high output, or - in certain instances - none at all.

State-of-the-art energy-management features in the body structure and chassis work in conjunction with air bag and seat belt systems. Front seat belts are equipped with belt pretensioners and digressive load-limiting retractors. Pretensioners tighten the seat belt to help keep the occupant in place while digressive load-limiting retractors balance the load on the upper body, reducing injuries from seat belt forces. Head restraints are standard in all outboard seating positions.

Both the driver and passenger seat belts in the Commander are also equipped with BeltAlert®, an enhanced seat belt reminder system that periodically activates a chime and illuminates a light in the instrument cluster to remind the driver and all passengers to buckle up.

Whether you’re in traffic or out on the trail, the available SmartBeam™ headlamp system adjusts to ambient light and oncoming traffic to deliver maximum lighting no matter what the conditions.

Brake Assist is also standard. Using ESP, Brake Assist uses an active brake booster to increase brake output when the vehicle senses a panic braking condition. This allows for maximum braking power, providing the shortest possible stopping distance.

A number of technologies help make the Jeep Commander experience more enjoyable for driver and passengers.

The UConnect™ hands-free communications system uses Bluetooth® technology to provide wireless communication between the customer’s compatible cellular telephone and the vehicle’s on-board receiver. Bluetooth is a short-range wireless networking technology that is used to connect two or more devices together.

A navigation system with MP3 player utilizes voice and on-screen directions to guide the user through the drive route, mile-by-mile and turn-by-turn, until the final destination is reached. Housed in the dashboard, the navigation system consists of a large 5.8-inch, full-color display that features an AM/FM stereo, six-disc CD changer, MP3 player and navigation system in one unit. A joystick allows the user to scroll through the navigation menus and icons quickly and effortlessly.

SIRIUS™ satellite radio provides Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep customers with 100 streams of the best commercial-free music, information, sports, news and entertainment coast-to-coast, 24 hours a day.

Customers can scan channels or select pre-set buttons for favorite channels. Selections can also be made both by music category and channel, which are displayed on the radio screen.

For rear-seat passenger enjoyment, Jeep Commander has an available DVD entertainment system. It consists of a center-console-mounted DVD player, overhead LCD monitor, wireless remote control and two wireless headsets. In addition to video DVDs, the system will play audio DVDs, audio CDs, MP3 audio discs and video CDs. There are also plug-in jacks on the housing to show video from a video camera, connect video games for display on the screen and play music directly from an MP3 player.

A unique feature of the DVD entertainment system is that the vehicle speakers can play audio from a disc in the DVD player while the headphones play audio from the SIRIUS satellite radio, AM/FM radio, or a disc in the radio CD player.

The Chrysler Group uses two proven processes to ensure that the Jeep Commander has high levels of quality: the Chrysler Development System (CDS) and Quality Gates.

CDS is Chrysler Group’s comprehensive, coordinated and disciplined product creation process that improves quality and speed-to-market while reducing costs and encouraging practical innovation in new products. CDS emphasizes systems engineering, design and up-front planning to avoid time-consuming and costly trial and error or late changes during the product development cycle. With CDS, all product and process planning is completed and fully integrated before production tooling begins.

The Quality Gates process was adopted after the merger of Daimler-Benz and Chrysler Corporation. Quality Gates is a 12-step checks-and-balance review of the vehicle development process. The Commander is one of the first vehicles at the Chrysler Group to pass through all 12 necessary levels of the Quality Gates process.

Before the Commander could be manufactured on the same assembly line as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, more manufacturing flexibility was needed.

In 2004, Chrysler Group invested $241 million at the Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP) in Detroit, significantly renovating the body and paint shops to accommodate the production of the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Commander. There were also Commander-specific modifications. For example, more than $20 million was invested to make changes along the assembly line, from body-in-white to final assembly. Additionally, robotic arms were added to the assembly line to assist in installing Commander’s three rows of seats.

As a result of these and other changes, the ability to produce the Grand Cherokee and the new Commander on the same line makes JNAP the latest example of the company’s flexible manufacturing strategy. Because of that flexibility, the company is better able to react to the rapidly changing marketplace and balance product volumes.

Many error-proofing systems and process improvements were implemented to better manage the added complexity of building a second vehicle on the same assembly line. For example, more parts are now being sequenced before being delivered to the plant, helping minimize inventory on the plant floor and to ensure proper assembly. And front and rear door systems assembly has been moved from stamping operations to the assembly plant.

At the Chrysler Group, suppliers play a significant role in ensuring high levels of quality and innovation. Within the company’s procurement and supply (P&S) strategy, each supplier has to meet the same parameters – quality parts, with appropriate technology, delivered on time, at a fair price. Suppliers also contribute groundbreaking solutions to the new Jeep Commander with the brand-new CommandView™ skylights and SmartBeam Headlamps.

Chrysler Group’s procurement and supply strategy aims at positive, long-term working relations with key suppliers that are based on performance measures. These measures are transparent, objective and accessible for all suppliers. Chrysler suppliers are given the tools that allow them to identify exactly where they are ranked compared to their competition. The best-performing suppliers in all four key categories (quality, technology, delivery and cost) are winning business with the Chrysler Group.

The Jeep Brand
If there is one thing better than experiencing the on- and off-road capability of a Jeep vehicle, it is sharing that experience with like-minded enthusiasts. And that experience – plus many other Jeep inspired activities – is exactly what thousands of Jeep owners and their families enjoy every year at three relationship marketing events: Camp Jeep®, Jeep Jamboree and Camp Jeep on the Road.

The first Camp Jeep was held 11 years ago in Camp Hale, Colo. Since then, Camp Jeep has become one of the largest and most successful ownership events in the United States. Each year, thousands of people from around the country enjoy several days of family fun that includes 4x4 trail rides, engineering roundtables, kayaking, mountain biking, fly-casting, children’s activities, live music and much more.

For owners who want to go anywhere and do anything more frequently, there are Jeep Jamborees. More than 30 Jeep Jamborees are held around the country annually, attracting more than 7,000 owners. These weekend events allow Jeep owners to hone their skills in challenging off-road situations. Jeep Jamborees have been providing family fun and off-road driving experiences for more than 50 years.

For owners and prospective Jeep owners who want to learn the basic skills of safe off-road driving, there are the Camp Jeep on the Road events (previously called Jeep 101). Held this year in eight cities around the United States, Camp Jeep on the Road features some of the same lifestyle elements offered at Camp Jeep, along with driving courses that teach participants the capabilities of their Jeep vehicles. These courses include steep downhill grades, log crossings and sand banks.

The Jeep brand has been an internationally registered trademark since before 1950. Jeep uses licensing agreements with more than 60 companies worldwide to develop and produce products that reflect the same attributes as the legendary Jeep vehicles and complement the lifestyles of owners and prospective customers.

The result is a full range of Jeep gear for active adults, teens and children. In addition to Web-based and catalog apparel incorporating the Jeep logo, licensed products also include all-terrain mountain bikes, watches, footwear, strollers, luggage, eyewear, radios and other electronic products.

Jeep Trail Rated
The Jeep Commander is Trail Rated. The Trail Rated badge communicates that the vehicle has been designed to perform in a variety of challenging off-road conditions identified by five key consumer-oriented performance categories: Traction, Ground Clearance, Maneuverability, Articulation and Water Fording.

Jeep Trail Rated is an industry-leading methodology established by the Nevada Automotive Test Center (NATC) and Jeep Engineering to objectively measure and consistently predict off-road performance for all Jeep vehicles today and into the future. Through a combination of natural and controlled field tests, as well as computer-simulated environments, Jeep Trail Rated provides a repeatable and consistent measurement of off-road performance for Jeep vehicles. Only Jeep vehicles are Trail Rated.