Jeep will debut its long-awaited redesign of its Wrangler SUV in 2017.
Just not in Detroit.
The first full-on remake of the iconic off-roader in this decade won't appear in public until later in 2017 -- much closer to the planned Nov. 13 start of production of the new JL Wrangler. When it arrives, though, the redesigned Wrangler will be longer to accommodate an 8-speed automatic transmission, and be more aerodynamic than the current model, both of which should dramatically help its fuel economy ratings.
It's one of a number of changes coming to Jeep's North American lineup in 2017 after a fifth consecutive year of record sales in 2016.
The redesigned Compass -- shown in Los Angeles in November and already on sale in Brazil -- is expected to hit U.S. showrooms in early 2017.
Meanwhile, a refresh of the Cherokee will accompany that SUV's manufacturing move to Belvidere, Ill., after Cherokee production ends in Toledo, Ohio, in April to make room for expanded Wrangler production.
Other new Jeeps -- a coming Wrangler pickup, a redesigned Grand Cherokee and a resurrected Grand Wagoneer, for example -- won't show up until 2018 or later.
Jeep has capitalized like no other brand on consumers' switch to SUVs and crossovers, though the brand's sales have been down in the U.S. in each of the last three months.
If nothing else, 2017 will determine whether Jeep will return to its former upward sales trajectory, or whether the brand's recent sales weakness signals that consumers may have finally crested the summit of their demand for SUVs.