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Jeep(R) Willys: 'Pure American' Jeep Design Incorporates Cutting-Edge Plastic Technology

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
Jeep Willys Concept
    AUBURN HILLS, Mich., Jan. 9 The back-to-basics, composite-
bodied Jeep(R) Willys concept vehicle pays homage to Jeep vehicles of the past
while showcasing the design and technology of the 21st century.

    "We designed this concept vehicle with the self-expressive, free-thinker
in mind," said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President - Design, DaimlerChrysler
Corporation.  "The Jeep Willys' usefulness and versatility were developed to
exist in ecological harmony with nature while being perfectly suited for the
rigors of an active lifestyle.  Call it the pure American."

    The Willys, unveiled at the 2001 North American International Auto Show in
Detroit, features plastic body-technology, allowing for a radical approach to
Jeep design while remaining true to the brand's legendary capability.  Shown
in several concept vehicles designed by the Chrysler Group, injection-molded
plastic bodies save up to 50 percent in weight and manufacturing costs and are
nearly 100 percent recyclable.  The molded-in-color plastic allows designers
to create shapes not permitted with stamped metal, such as the crisp, rigid
lines that give the Willys its high-tech, machined appearance.

    The Jeep Willys' lightweight aluminum frame-web is similar to technologies
found in today's top performance sports and military equipment.  While its
battle-proven, World War II ancestor was made of sheet metal, this concept was
built in carbon fiber to simulate the weight savings that could be achieved
with injection-molded plastics.  Frame-web technology molds the one-piece
carbon fiber body to an aluminum frame, giving the Jeep Willys industry-
leading rigidity.

    Designed with a sense of adventure, the Willys creates a fresh, ultra-
modern interpretation of the legendary Jeep brand.  Confidence-inspiring
shapes such as the seven-slot grille, the uniquely executed wheel arches, the
extremely short rear and the vehicle's athletic stance maintain true Jeep

    Willys' chiseled body lends substance and visual weight, suggesting a low
center of gravity with a long wheelbase (95 inches, 2413 mm) and wide track
(58.9 inches, 1496 mm front, 59.4 inches, 1509 mm rear).  The 2,900-pound
(1315 kg) curb weight of the Jeep Willys allows a 15:1 weight-to-horsepower

    "The Jeep Willys' design was inspired by American culture," said Jordan
Meadows, Product Designer at DaimlerChrysler's Pacifica Design Center in
Carlsbad, Calif.

    "Individualism and free thinking are pure American values as well as Jeep
brand elements.  The vehicle exterior design features precise machine-like
aesthetics while still showing traditional Jeep design cues, such as the
trademark grille and wheel arches and its commanding feel on the road, as well
as off the beaten path."

    This visual character is carried on in the interior.  Willys' spacious
interior sports a light palette in colors and materials.  Featured are brushed
aluminum and aqua and grey leather with "Starbrite Silver" accents.

    "In keeping with the philosophy of purity, the Willys' interior is very
honest.  The aluminum and plastics used in the vehicle's structure and body
detail the interior," said Meadows.  "The Jeep Willys is a prime example of a
vehicle embracing its past while looking to its future."

    Emphasizing the combination of heritage and modern technology, the concept
comes equipped with a Sirius Satellite Radio.  It offers digital quality audio
with crystal clear reception coast to coast from more than 100 news, sports
and entertainment channels, of which 50 music channels are commercial free.

    The Jeep Willys is powered by DaimlerChrysler's 1.6-liter, in-line four-
cylinder engine that has been supercharged to deliver 160 horsepower (120 kW)
and 155 pound-feet of torque (210 Nm).  Its four-speed automatic transmission
is coupled with a shift-on-the-fly transfer case with full-time four-wheel
drive and low-range modes.

    Custom, independent short-and-long-arm front and multi-link solid rear
axle suspension with coil-over-shock set-up and sizeable 22-inch wheels with
P235/840R560 PAX-tires embraces the "go anywhere" attitude synonymous with the
Jeep brand.  Estimated performance figures include a sprint to 60 mph (97 kph)
in 10.2 seconds and a top speed of almost 90 mph (140 kph.)

    "The custom suspension and supercharged powertrain were engineered to
preserve the rugged capabilities that the Jeep brand is known for," added
Creed.  "We wanted the DNA of the Willys to speak to the heritage of its
ancestors.  We were looking for the most efficient yet stylish way to capture
the spirit of classic Jeep vehicles enhanced with modern technology.  Marrying
21st century technology with 20th century tradition, the pure American Willys
captures the bare essence of the Jeep brand."

                  Jeep(R) Willys Preliminary Specifications


    Engine:               1.6-liter I-4 supercharged
    Estimated Power:      160 bhp (120 kW)
    Estimated Torque:     155 lb.-ft. (210 Nm)
    Transmission:         4-speed automatic transmission
    Drive:                Full-time four-wheel drive with low and high ranges


    Structure:            One-piece carbon fiber body webbed to aluminum frame
        Front:            Independent short-and-long-arm (SLA) with coil-over-
                          shock setup
         Rear:            Multi-link solid rear axle with coil-over-shock


    Wheels:               22" x 9"
    Tires:                P235/840R560


    Length:               142.4 in. (3617 mm)
    Width:                70.5 in. (1791 mm)
    Height:               63.2 in. (1605 mm)
    Wheelbase:            95 in. (2413 mm)
        Front:            58.9 in. (1496 mm)
         Rear:            59.4 in. (1509 mm)
    Ground Clearance:     12 in. (307 mm)
         Front:           22.7 in. (577 mm)
          Rear:           24.7 in. (627 mm)
    Weight:               2900 lbs. (1315 kg)


    0-60 mph (0-97 kph):  10.2 sec
    Top Speed:            87 mph (140 kph)