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SalesJeep Rant
Posted by mike on 2007/2/14 22:03:28 (2090) reads

One of our readers, JerryJeeper, sent us a link to an article - errr, well, more of a rant - about the current state of all things Jeep.

The current Jeep lineup consists of the Commander (soon to be discontinued), the Grand Cherokee, the Compass, the Liberty, the Patriot, the Wrangler and the Wrangler Unlimited. What's wrong with this picture? Simply put, it's the too many models syndrome run amuck, big time. It wasn't too long ago that these guys were on top of the world with the Jeep brand; now they're floundering around throwing anything and everything up against the wall to see what will stick, which means that they don't have a clue.

It comes from AutoExtremist.com - a hard-hitting automotive news site. If you're into the auto industry, check it out today. It is fantastic.

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tommcg
Posted: 2007/2/17 10:13  Updated: 2007/2/17 10:15
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 Re: Jeep Rant
here's my observation (sorry if you've already read it elsewhere) ... jeep's lineup is almost entirely made up of attempts at replacing the cherokee ... here's the breakdown: the grand cherokee was to be the original cherokee replacement, but buyers insisted that the cherokee live on as well, so they sold both ... years later, they finally axed the cherokee and put out the liberty, a second attempt at replacing the cherokee. it sold great, but not to former cherokee owners, who felt abandoned by the brand, so years later we get the commander and then the patriot, differently sized carbon copies of eachother (save for mechanics), both based on the cherokee design (the patriot being the "spiritual successor" to the cherokee and the early commander press photos clearly playing off its own resemblance) ... so basically jeep has the legendary wrangler, the compass (the existence of which is questionable), and several attempts at replacing the cherokee (grand, liberty, commander, patriot).

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MarkH
Posted: 2007/2/17 10:50  Updated: 2007/2/17 10:50
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 Re: Jeep Rant
Well stated!

And they ain't done trying to crown a successor to the XJ yet!
Wait until you see the 2008 Liberty...
http://www.allpar.com/trucks/jeep/liberty-2008.html

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skywater55
Posted: 2007/2/16 18:46  Updated: 2007/2/16 18:47
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 GM in talks to buy Chyrsler
I just heard on the radio that GM was in talks with Daimler about possibly buying Chrysler. I wonder if that would include the Jeep Brand. Oh it would be my worse nightmare for GM to take over Jeep.....has anyone else heard this news. Its seems strange that GM would even consider this as they are trying to restructure themselves and to get involved with Chrysler doing the same would slow down both from reaching profitability.....

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jeepxk
Posted: 2007/2/16 16:04  Updated: 2007/2/16 16:04
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 Re: Jeep Rant
"Oh, and it's got a 'real' frame, not a unibody."

Didn't the XJ have a Unibody?

Poster Thread
Jeepin
Posted: 2007/2/19 9:25  Updated: 2007/2/19 9:25
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 Re: Jeep Rant
Yes, all current Jeeps other than the Wranglers are unibody. The last Jeep with a 'real' frame, other than the Wrangler, was the 'fullsize' Wagoneer line.

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Josephus
Posted: 2007/2/15 17:18  Updated: 2007/2/16 15:06
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 Re: Jeep Rant
My Rant is this:
1.) Stay true to your roots in all products
2.) Add better options than the competition, not more platforms. Capability will sell customers.
3.) Be innovators, not imitators.

If Jeep were to be more selective in their selection process of what goes into production there wouldn't be as much overlap and confusion among products.
Toyota is having a hard time selling 4 different SUV models, and Ford had to drop the Excursion. Who knows what GM is thinking, because everyone views them as one big Chevy corp. anyway.
If Jeep is going to have more than 4 SUVs on the market, they should find a way to deliniate between entry-level and elite models by using a primo nameplate.
For the street-biased products the could keep Jeep for the more conventional offerings they could use the Willy's nameplate for superior off-road vehicles and sell them at a premium. Or the other way around-whatever.
It's much easier to add options than to develop an entirely new platform.
They've already got the Compass and Patriot for compact SUV's.
Make an SRT version of the Nitro/Liberty for the street crowd and make the Renegade mean something more than a light package.
So build the TrailHawk on the JKL chassis, drop the Hemi in it and the Wranglers.
Do the same thing for the Commander/Durango and kill the Aspen.
Make Quadra-Drive base on all entry-level vehicles and add locking diffs front & rear as an option for the premiums.
And for the love of God, offer the the BlueTec diesels in every last one of them would ya? Size doesn't matter, just quit yappin about it and Git 'er Dun already.

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Jeepin
Posted: 2007/2/16 13:13  Updated: 2007/2/16 13:13
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 Re: Jeep Rant
Ford did drop the Excursion (for various reasons), but they replaced it with the Expedition EL, which is closer to a real Suburban fighter than the Excursion was. They didn't drop it because they couldn't sell a big SUV or because they thought the big/long SUV market was coming to an end.

I definitely agree with your three points, particularly the last one. Jeep used to be the real innovators and market leaders in the SUV world, putting out the first luxury SUV, the first SUV with leather seating, the first SUV with power windows/locks, the first compact 4-dr SUV... now they seem to be doing nothing but following the trends. The supposed kings of the mountain where the last to have in-dash navigation and traction control systems...

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Jeepin
Posted: 2007/2/15 13:30  Updated: 2007/2/15 13:30
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 Re: Jeep Rant
Regarding 2WD JK Unlimiteds... on the one hand, I agree that any 2WD Jeep dilutes the brand. Can you buy a 2WD Hummer? A 2WD Land Rover? NO! Besides, how dumb does that sound... a 2WD Hummer?... But a 2WD Jeep? Sure, ok... whatever!

But on the other hand... a 2WD model could be the perfect "builder" Jeep for someone wanting a brand new rig to build up. It's considerably cheaper than 4WD model, so get a 2WD, and with the cash you save swap in some D60's, an Atlas or STaK t'case, etc. Evolution OffRoad is doing this right now actually, and the end result is going to be pretty badarse.

The number of poeple who would do this is going to be extremely slim though, and those that could afford such an undertaking could probably afford to start with a 4WD model in the first place, besides they could recoup some costs by selling off the take-off parts.

I definitely think the CompASS needs to go. They can keep the Patriot, but ditch the weeny car. As much as I hate to compare to Hummer again... anyone think GM would slap a Hummer badge on something like the Compass? Or the Patriot for that matter?

The Commander needs to stay, but it needs to move to the Durango platform. Keep the same styling, just make it bigger so it can fit 6-7 ADULTS and so that it's more suitable as a TOW vehicle. Jeep needs a fullsize SUV, and I doubt it would eat into Durango sales very much... I see a whole lot more Tahoes towing Jeeps than I see Durangos...

The Grand Cherokee can move to the ML platform if they want. Land Rover has proven that IFS/IRS can still be viewed as off-road capable on a luxury badge as long as it's done well (that's the key). Move the GC more towards the sport/luxury end of the spectrum. They're already going that way with models like the SRT-8. They just need to fix the styling. The WK looks lower-class than the WJ.

Honestly what I don't see in the line-up, is the real purpose/use in continuing the Liberty, now that the Unlimited is available. If you look at the vehicles in the Liberty's market, there's really only the XTerra and 4Runner (on the high end of things) left, and maybe the FJ Cruiser, but I think most people are going to be shopping the Unlimited against those vehicles. The Patiot is geared more towards the Escape, Rav4, CRV, Highlander market. Things like the Explorer and Pathfinder are going to be going against the Grand Cherokee and current Commander. I don't know that the Chevy Trailblazer will be around much longer...

So where does the Liberty continue to fit in?

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MarkH
Posted: 2007/2/15 14:09  Updated: 2007/2/15 14:11
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 Re: Jeep Rant
Jeepin asked:
So where does the Liberty continue to fit in?

Here's your answer: numbers.

In 2006, acc. to Allpar, DCX sold 88,497 Commanders, 80,271 Wranglers, and a whopping 133,557 Libertys.

As much as I'm indifferent to the bug-eyed curvy thing, it sells. Next year it will be refreshed & square, and I think I'll like it a little more... the '08 looks a lot like a retro-XJ.

IMHO, the 4-door JKL is not even close as a substitute for an XJ or a KJ. It's simply a stretched Wrangler and nothing else. It's still the utilitarian "real" Jeep.

The Liberty & GC & Commander are all "luxury" models, by comparison. Who's pulling the floor plugs and hosing mud out of those babies? Not too many. Jeez!

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Jeepin
Posted: 2007/2/16 13:31  Updated: 2007/2/16 13:32
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 Re: Jeep Rant
January 2007 saw sales of 8,954 Wranglers, and 7,141 Libertys. ;) Unfortunately there's no breakdown of 2-dr vs 4-dr Wranglers in the info I've got. That's 134% increase in sales for Wranglers vs January 2006, and a 23% drop in sales for Libertys vs January 2006. Commander sales are up 30% from January 2006, but Grand Cherokee sales are down 23% from the same time. It'll be interesting to watch Wrangler vs Liberty sales as the year continues, particularly if data is available for 2-dr vs 4-dr sales.

And loaded out, the new Wranglers are far from "utilitarian"... power windows and locks, split-folding rear seat in the Unlimited, satellite radio, MyGig entertainment radio system, indash navigation, ESP & traction control, side-impact air bags, and significantly more cargo room than the KJ. The only thing 'utilitarian' on a loaded JK Unlimited is the styling.

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MarkH
Posted: 2007/2/16 15:28  Updated: 2007/2/16 15:29
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 Re: Jeep Rant
O.K. I see your point. Well, then...
Let me just pop the rear seats out of my Liberty. Oops, I can't.
Let me take the top off the Liberty and enjoy some fresh air. Oops, I can't.
All right, then, let me just lift these 4-doors off my Liberty and stick my foot out the side. Oops, I can't.
O.K., then, I'll just get out of some knee deep mud, let it cake on the carpet and worry about hosing out the footwells of my Liberty when I get back to camp. Oops, I can't do that either.

Hmmm, I wish Jeep would learn to make a more utilitarian vehicle!

Remember this string is called a "Jeep rant"!
I hate the idea of electric window in a Wrangler, too.

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Jeepin
Posted: 2007/2/19 9:30  Updated: 2007/2/19 9:30
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 Re: Jeep Rant
FWIW, I'm fairly certain you can't remove the rear seats in the new Unlimiteds. Their split-folding rear seats are totally different than the rear seat in the 2-dr JK. They're more like the seats in the KJ and Grand Cherokees.

I love that the new JK's have optional power locks and windows; it's about time! I love the power locks/windows on my XJ, and would definitely want them on a JK if I had the full doors, especially on the 4-dr. Much nicer to simply be able to push some buttons and roll all the windows down/up on the fly, vs pulling over the roadside and going around to each door individually. ;)

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MarkH
Posted: 2007/2/19 11:45  Updated: 2007/2/19 11:58
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 Re: Jeep Rant
FWIW, I'm fairly certain you can't remove the rear seats

I think you're right. They have to be unbolted. No more cotter pin to lose!

I should probably embrace the electric windows, since on my CJ-7 & 2 Wranglers, I was always having to remove the door panels & fix & re-grease the mechanisms... but I just can't seem to let myself get civilized...

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jeepxk
Posted: 2007/2/15 16:13  Updated: 2007/2/15 16:13
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 Re: Jeep Rant
"anyone think GM would slap a Hummer badge on something like the Compass? Or the Patriot for that matter?"
No but they would stick the name on a compact pickup truck frame and a full size pickup frame.
Hummers are shit and quite compairing them to Jeeps. I would drive a Compass before I would drive a Hummer- H whatever.

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Jeepin
Posted: 2007/2/16 13:05  Updated: 2007/2/16 13:05
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 Re: Jeep Rant
The H3 has available 33" tires, 4:1 lowrange t'case, 4.56 axle gears, and a selectable rear locker. Oh, and it's got a 'real' frame, not a unibody. The ONLY Jeep capable of besting an H3 offroad is a Wrangler. So the I5 is underpowered for the H3, so what, the 3.8L is underpowered for the JK Unlimited. So what if GM slapped a Hummer badge on a modified Colorado truck, DCX slapped a Jeep badge on a car based off the platform for a vehicle that replaced the NEON! I'd rather have a modified Colorado truck (H3) or a modified 3/4-ton Suburban (H2) than a modified Neon car (Compass).

Jeep is supposed to be the king of offroad vehicles, but with 2WD vehicles across the board, and 2 car-based crossover utes, they're not looking so 'tough' vs the 4WD-only Hummer and Land Rover brands.

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MarkH
Posted: 2007/2/15 8:18  Updated: 2007/2/15 9:32
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 Re: Jeep Rant
Things did go a little sideways. Expanding the Jeep line-up was a great idea, but some of the execution was flawed. Though there have been a lot of changes for the better, DCX tried to please everyone and you just can't do that.

What sticks in my ass, among other things, is the availability of 2WD Wranglers. The only 2WD "real" Jeeps I can tolerate are the old DJ-5s for the US Postal Service. But, a 2WD Wrangler, c'mon!

The Compass has to go. Anyone who wants that kind of vehicle would do better with a 2WD Caliber or a 4WD Patriot, and buyers know it! Who ya kiddin', DCX?

DCX is sure to make some significant changes in the next few years (Chrysler's existence depends on it). If I had a magic wand, other than my current one, I'd like to see the Jeep line-up morph into the following:

--THE COMMANDER IS ALREADY GONE... [O.K., in 2009...]
--LOSE THE COMPASS, too

--4WD JKs, with diesel, 4.0L-V6, and/or 4.7L-H.O.-V8 option.
--4WD JKLs, with diesel, 4.0L-V6, and/or 4.7L-H.O.-V8 option.
--4WD GKLs (Gladiator/Scrambler, JK or Dakota platform)

--2WD or 4WD Patriot (looks like a winner just the way it is)
--2WD or 4WD Liberty (the new '08 boxy XJ-like design is cool)
--2WD or 4WD Grand Cherokees (stretched, a little, to appeal to big SUV lovers & to get some "size-separation" from the Liberty)

That's essentially 4 vehicles (counting all the JK-variants as one) that would hold their own in sales. Who's with me? Yaaaaaa-aaaa-aaaa!

Note to Mike: Gee, how do I get on DCX's payroll for all this free advice? They owe me some "back pay", too! As it turns out, I seem to have had a strong hand in the concept for the Wrangler Rubicon... No kidding, but that's another story...

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RUBICON
Posted: 2007/2/15 8:51  Updated: 2007/2/15 8:51
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 Re: Jeep Rant
The Commander is NOT gone. Come on please don't tell me you aren't silly enough to believe a rumor from JD Power???

It is most likely going from the WK platform though. Instead it will most likely ride on a shortened version of the next generation Durango platform.

I agree on the 2WD thought though. I believe that all Jeeps should at least have a single speed 4WD system with options for two speed, or two speed plus ELSDs or lockers.

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MarkH
Posted: 2007/2/15 9:27  Updated: 2007/2/15 9:31
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 Re: Jeep Rant
All right, DCX has NOT officially announced it YET, but the Commander's all but already gone in ~2009. It's not just JD Power spreading a rumor; there are other news sources (Detroit News, for example) and leaks from within DCX & UAW saying the same thing. So, start your stopwatch...

The Commander is eating into GC sales a bit, and that's a no-no.

Personally, I don't care which one they keep, but I'm not convinced there's room to profit from both.

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jeepxk
Posted: 2007/2/15 10:42  Updated: 2007/2/15 10:42
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 Re: Jeep Rant
They knew the Commander would eat into the Grand Cherokee sales a little. So what! They are both off the same line and are basically the same vehicle.
With the announcement yesterday it is obvious that the next gen Grand Cherokee/Commander, Durango and Aspen AND M-Class will all share a platform. There may not be two Jeep models anymore, it may be just one and who knows what they will call it, it's only a name but it will be a totally different vehicle than the WK/XK. Come 2009/2010 it will be time for a replacment anyway of both of them so I don't see this as the Commander going away before it's time. Maybe the Grand Cherokee will go away also and there will be a new Jeep called the Grand Commando.

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MarkH
Posted: 2007/2/15 13:24  Updated: 2007/2/15 13:35
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 Re: Jeep Rant
Here's the article causing all the ruckus: http://www.detroitnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070120/AUTO01/701200386/1148/AUTO01
and here's the "so what":
The Commander also appeared to eat into demand for the Grand Cherokee, once one of America's most popular vehicles. Jeep sold 139,148 Grand Cherokee's last year [2006], down 75,000 units from 2005.

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Jeepin
Posted: 2007/2/15 13:40  Updated: 2007/2/15 13:40
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 Re: Jeep Rant
The article is fairly good. A lot of good points are brought up. Sure, GC sales were down 75K, but they sold over 88K Commanders, showing a net GAIN in sales for that platform vs the previous year. I would put money on the fact that if DCX hadn't put the XK out, that GC sales would still have been down (though not as much), and that overall they'd have sold fewer vehicles without the XK than with it. I guess it just depends on how DCX is looking at their numbers, and they seem to be more concerned with individual model numbers than overall numbers. Getting rid of the Commander might make GC sales go up, but their overall sales would go down. Considering they're currently basically the same vehicle just with different sheet metal, ditching the Commander just doesn't make sense when you look at the big picture.

Unfortunately Chryco has always seemed to be more concerned with model sales than overall sales (ie: Chryco buys Jeep and kills off all Jeep trucks so they don't cut into Dodge sales, even though they'd probably sell more vehicles combined).

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MarkH
Posted: 2007/2/15 14:21  Updated: 2007/2/15 14:23
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/7/20
From: The Great White North
Posts: 494
 Re: Jeep Rant
The cost recovery for tooling up for a new model (dies, etc...) is enormous, even if the platform is partially "shared". Combine that with the rebate$ DCX had to offer to push the remaining 2006 Commanders into our driveways, and they have to be way upside-down on the payback thus far.

If/when they do cancel it in 2009, it will be related to the balance sheet.

It's all about the green. Number$ and green.

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tkmd
Posted: 2007/2/15 0:31  Updated: 2007/2/15 0:31
Not too shy to talk
Joined: 2006/4/27
From:
Posts: 23
 Re: Jeep Rant
This rant is so true.... If we are lucky Jeep will be restructured and go back to its roots...
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