What makes a truth SUV?
Wednesday, 4 de October de 2017
A dive into the factory where the Jeep Renegade is born helps understand what an authentic Sport Utility Vehicle is
Comfort combined with the robustness of an authentic off-road: this could be the simple definition of an SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle). But with so many launches in the category, only last year it snatched almost 18% of the national auto market, classifying these cars can be tricky. After all, with all the variations, could you tell what a true SUV is? To explain it better, let’s take a dive into the birthplace of the SUV Jeep Renegade: the Jeep Automotive Plant in Goiana, Pernambuco. This week the same route was taken by digital influencers and journalists, at the invitation of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA). They went backstage of the world’s most modern FCA factory, where every piece, structure and process is created, and will continue to evolve, to ensure the cars are legitimate representatives of the Jeep spirit.
“The Jeep brand lends its name to a segment. It is the one that understands the most about off-roads,” said the technical advisor of FCA, Ricardo Dilser. “So here we do not have the manufacturing of an SUV; it is ‘the’ SUV”, completed Glauber Fullana, the plant manager. The visitors came to the Component Center, a large lab where all parts are tested and where tolerance is zero. At the slightest sign of error, production is paralyzed. The test for the components occurs in the Mastercubbing, a kind of perfect simulator of the Renegade’s body or “the one million euro lego”, as Dilser compares it to. “It reflects the perfect mathematical engineering so that the Renegade can offer the reliability and safety of a true SUV,” said the technical advisor. Like an X-ray, engineers reveal the skeleton of the model beneath the ‘skin’ of the car. The body uses a metal alloy whose resistance is 10 times greater than conventional ones. “A drill can’t even perforate it,” said engineer André Melo. The fully bonded pillars function as a single structure, giving the vehicle greater strength and stability. The engineers explained that the bodywork is the same in all versions – from the 4X2 Flex to the 4X4 Trailhawk (top model). “In other words, a Renegade is not an ‘anabolic’ hatch; it’s already born an SUV, “Dilser pointed out.
The Renegade’s survival cell is the toughest structure. All deformation points are programmed, this is important for absorbing energy and protect the occupants in case of accidents. So much so that the model received a maximum score in the Latin NCAP safety tests. Combined with rigidity, the expansive structures ensure high torsion, up to 30% higher than its competitors. So the car can overcome obstacles in the most challenging terrain.
Technology, of course, is imperative when producing a true SUV. 3D printers- and even augmented reality glasses are used in the factory. The printer assists with component testing and the glasses help in the correct sequencing of parts in the assembly area. “I had no idea that augmented reality was already used in Brazil,” commented Stela Daver, from the YouTube channel ‘Eu Testei’. The whole process is automated and thoroughly tested. For example, there are robots that evaluate each point of the plates by scanning them to ensure perfection. The assembly and welding of these structures are operated with high precision by an army of 600 robots, programmed by specialized professionals. Special adhesives, three times more resistant than those found in the market, reinforce the structure. By using these technological materials,The Renagade’s internal and external sealing prevent not only water and dust from entering but improve sound insulation as well. The occupants do not see this. Instead, they feel the results in the greater acoustic comfort and in the performance of the vehicle that calmly faces flooded stretches with more than 40 centimeters of water.
But in order to be a true SUV, Renegade still had to show its performance in practice. Visitors tested the power of the model at Camp Jeep, a test factory built on the grounds that simulates all the obstacles found on real roads. “Discovering how robust the structure is, helps to understand why the car delivers such a good result on the tracks,” commented Camila Camanzi from the site Carros com Camanzi, after the adventure. A true off-road SUV also connects those who drive it to nature. Therefore, the visitors got to see the nursery for the recovery of native species from the plant and even helped in the planting of seedlings. As if there was not enough evidence that Renegade is a true SUV, Dilser even proposed a test: a check-list to assess whether the car is a “ligth” SUV or a real SUV. When comparing it with the competition, the Jeep model earned the highest scores, whether in the diesel or the flex version. Now there is no doubt, it’s a true SUV!
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