Jeep is giving a nod to U.S. service members and the brand's military heritage with its latest special edition of the hot-selling Toledo-built Wrangler.
The Wrangler Freedom Edition is now available in the patriotic hues of red, white, or blue, and its producer, Chrysler Group LLC, added several interior and exterior touches, including star decals reminiscent of those stenciled on thousands of Willys MBs that bounded across battlefields during World War II.
The package, available in two and four-door models, was unveiled last week and is in showrooms now.
"The Jeep brand has a long, renowned history that began with its significant presence and success within the U.S. military," Mike Manley, Jeep brand president, said in a statement. "Jeep -- and particularly the Wrangler -- is the icon for capability and durability and is a true symbol of American freedom. The new Jeep Wrangler Freedom Edition is created in honor of Jeep's one-of-a-kind history and as a tribute to all of the brave men and women who have served and continue to serve in the U.S. military."
The Freedom Edition is the second special-edition Wrangler by Chrysler in the last two months. In April, Jeep extended its Altitude package, which initially was for the Compass, Patriot, and Grand Cherokee models, to the Wrangler. The Call of Duty Modern Warfare package, which came out last fall, is also available for $37,000.
Special editions or not, the Toledo-built Wrangler never has sold better than right now.
May and June set back-to-back all-time monthly sales records, and through the year's first six months, Jeep has sold 70,871 Wranglers domestically, up 33 percent from the same period last year. Sales in Canada are up 22 percent to 10,102 through June.
So, why build another special edition? "Because it's fun. Because you can," Rebecca Lindland, an analyst with IHS Automotive, said. "There's a lot of creative license with that type of vehicle. It's not about drumming up interest, it's really in my mind just giving somebody another reason to buy one."
The Freedom Edition costs $28,165 for two-door models and $30,670 for the four-door Unlimited. Base models start at $22,045 and $25,545, respectively. Besides the decals, the Freedom Edition has alloy wheels like the Rubicon model's, mineral gray-painted grille and bumper inserts, and fender badges reading "Oscar Mike," which Chrysler says is military jargon for "on the move."
Chrysler also will donate $250 from each sale to two charities benefitting the military and their families. The automaker said funds would be split between the Fisher House Foundation and the I Support Foundation.
Company officials say they will limit model production to the low thousands. Right now, it is only planned as an option for the 2012 model year.
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