Car Design Dialogues: Jeep Grand Wagoneer

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The Jeep Grand Wagoneer is back, marking a long-awaited return of an American motoring icon. Hear from the team charged with bringing it back to life

”There is really an artistry in the combination of clean lines and ornament,” said FCA’s head of interior design Chris Benjamin. “We know that as technology becomes a bigger part of interior design, that is how people are used to interfacing. We wanted to make sure it didn’t lose its soul. You can easily make something feel very cold if you just have a bunch of screens and nothing else. It is the materials, the colours, the jewellery-like details that make it come alive and make it feel like it was done by humans.” 

Benjamin headed up the team tasked with bringing the beloved Wagoneer, which had lain dormant since the early nineties, back to life for the Jeep brand. “As automotive designers, this is what you dream of. It is an honour, but it comes with the pressure,” said Tome Jovanoski, exterior chief designer at FCA. “The best part is understanding what an icon is. The Wagoneer became an icon by breaking norms, by doing something completely different. That is one of the reasons we did not go completely retro. There was a moment when we were thinking maybe we should, but it needed to pave its own way.”   

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