TOLEDO (WTVG) - If you like cars, the best place to see the newest models from all over the world is right up the road in Detroit. The North American International Auto Show opens to the public this weekend and one of the vehicles getting a lot of attention is made right here. 13abc's Lissa Guyton had a chance to speak with some of the designers behind the new Jeep Wrangler.
Updating one of the most iconic vehicles on the road was a big job.
With Wrangler's more than 75-year- history, there was certainly a lot of pressure to make sure this new model not only appealed to loyal followers but also new buyers. A lot of people have dedicated the last few years to getting it right, and many say mission accomplished.
The new Wrangler is full of changes, inside and out, Scott Tallon is the Director of Product Marketing for Jeep, "Really this is a giant leap forward for the Wrangler. It's beyond the stunning new design, it is very advanced in every possible way. It has more capability, more safety technology, on-road refinement, efficiency and the list goes on."
All those updates didn't just come from the designers, customer feedback was a big part of the process. Mark Allen is the head of Jeep Design,"Whenever there was a decision to be made, a fork in the road, the ideas of the Jeep enthusiasts won. I am proud of that."
The Wrangler has been a big part of Allen's job in recent years.
His main focus, making sure the new model had plenty of historical cues while moving forward, "I like to think that everything we've touched on it we've made better. The way the roofs are, the way the seating is, the way it works off road, how it looks."
Ryan Patrick Joyce redesigned the new interior, "When you hear you'll be the new guy for Wrangler a bead of sweat runs down your forehead and you get a little nervous." But that feeling quickly disappeared and he spent several years updating the inside. The new model is full of modern day conveniences like a touch screen, a back-up camera, and off road pages that allow you to monitor your pitch and roll while driving, "I feel very lucky to be part of an icon and to leave my imprint on it. I just wanted to do my part to make it the best Wrangler it could be. Whenever we had a decision to make and didn't know which way to go, we thought what would the customer want. That would always bring us to the right conclusion."
His years of work have paid off. The interior changes are a fan favorite with customers and Ralph Gilles, the Head of Design for Fiat Chrysler,"The interior is a treasure chest full of detail and technology, yet it feels like it was always meant to be.It's the perfect mix."
When it comes to the men and women who build the Wranglers, Gilles says the Toledo workforce is a big part of the SUV's continued success. Especially when it comes to the multiple versions that roll off the lines at The Toledo Assembly Complex, "We get pretty brave knowing the plant can handle complexity and they enjoy it. That's what's made the difference for Wrangler, instead of just being a niche vehicle,it's the cornerstone of the company."
The North American International Auto Show opens to the public Saturday. The event runs through Sunday, January 28th at Cobo Center in Detroit. Tickets are $14 for adults and $7 for children and seniors.
We've posted a link.