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WranglerChrysler CEO: Jeep to Remain Icon in Auto Industry
Posted by ScramblerKen on 2011/1/12 12:48:00 (1092) reads

The Toledo Blade is frequently a good source of news and insight on future directions of Jeep. In a recent article the "Blade" talked to the CEO Mike Manley. He discusses the new powertrain for the 2012 model, future North American useable diesel powerplant, and the possibility of the Wrangler pickup.

"The second-fastest-growing vehicle [in terms of sales] in our portfolio for 2010 was Wrangler. When you think about that, that's huge, because not only is Wrangler the icon, and therefore its halo spreads to other vehicles, but to some extent, it is niche — when you look at the typical SUV, it doesn't have anywhere near the capability and has nothing like the heritage," Mr. Manley said.

"For us to be able to grow our sales, and for Wrangler to be able to take the second level in terms of driving that growth, I think it just bodes well for the direction we're taking our brand."

Although Wrangler sales are increasing — they were up 15 percent last year from 2009's — the sport utility vehicle still has weaknesses that will be addressed in coming models, Mr. Manley said. "The powertrain is, now with those recent changes, clearly the weakest thing on this vehicle, and we're going to address the powertrain this coming year," the Jeep CEO said. "What that will do is help continue to build the momentum of Wrangler sales."


(Note: As of the writing of this article, the pickup has not been greenlighted).

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Poster Thread
myhotwheels22981
Posted: 2011/1/17 9:44  Updated: 2011/1/17 9:45
Home away from home
Joined: 2002/3/22
From:
Posts: 247
 Re: Chrysler CEO: Jeep to Remain Icon in Auto Industry
Fiat is not doing anything to Jeep that Mercedes hasn't already done...At least they are assaulting her in a kinder gentler way...If you don't like this business arrangement, you can thank the 'GLOBAL' economy...I don't see any major changes to the Wrangler, except of course Powertrain...Lets face it the 3.8/6spd is just a parts bin compromise...

I am looking forward to to seeing the new Jeep models and see how true the new regime will remain to the Jeep Brand...I still say 2 things that I have said before...
1. If Jeep is going to build Soft-Roaders like the Compass, Patriot, and a Panda-based car, they should ressurect the Eagle nameplate to have a differentiation in models.

2. Jeep NEEDS to build the Willys concept SUV. Whether it will be based on the Panda platform, the Compass Platform, or it's own platform, this NEEDS to be built as a 4Cyl, 4/5 seat 4x4 alternative to the Fullsize Wrangler, that is NOT a car, not a mini truck, and has REAL 4x4 capability....Now I would like to see straight axles, but I don't mind 4 wheel independent suspension for something like this, and it needs to be 4x4 only (no FWD models) and have at least as much ground clearance and at least as much capability as the TJ had when it left production...Mabye Hybrid, mabye a Voly-type plug in drivetrain, mabye a Diesel...But if Jeep is going to build something, it should be this...And they should do it before someone like KIA or Hyundai figure it out and build a version of their own...

Poster Thread
tmedlock
Posted: 2011/1/12 17:03  Updated: 2011/2/7 15:08
Just can't stay away
Joined: 2007/1/11
From: New Hampshire
Posts: 83
 Re: Chrysler CEO: Jeep to Remain Icon in Auto Industry
Bottom line:
As long as Wrangle sales keep increasing there is very little sense giving advice to jeep management. They are achieving their goal! There is no reason for them to change.

Sad fact::
Current management does not believe that it is worth while to cater to the niche hard core jeep enthusiast. The money is in making jeeps that appeal to the "weekend warrior". The Wrangler has to be a “commuter car” to please that group. Based on the sales figures, it would appear they are correct.

Only hope:
Perhaps some young person will be hired that actually enjoys a “high performance”, “rugged”, jeep. It took about 15 years for jeep to actually come out with the Wrangler Rubicon And even then, at first they grossly underestimated the demand. It will probably take another 15 years (or longer) for jeep to realize that there is a market for a High performance Wrangle Rubicon (or perhaps a High Performance Sahara) If jeep offered a 300 HP (or greater) Rubicon unlimited with a 6 speed manual transmission I would trade my current Rubicon unlimited in for one tomorrow. As things stand now, unless there are some HUGE savings, I won’t be trading in for a new Jeep for at least 5 or 10 years. If it wasn’t for the HUGE savings caused by the bankruptcy, I wouldn’t have traded in my 2003 Rubicon for my current 2009 Rubicon. BUT, as I originally said, “As long as Wrangler sales keep increasing there is very little sense giving advice to jeep management”

Poster Thread
Glenn
Posted: 2011/1/12 13:42  Updated: 2011/1/12 13:42
Quite a regular
Joined: 2006/2/17
From: Chicago, IL
Posts: 45
 Re: Chrysler CEO: Jeep to Remain Icon in Auto Industry
"When you look at the typical SUV, it doesn't have anywhere near the capability and has nothing like the heritage"

But does that really sell the Wrangler? I have my doubts...

When I bought mine, it wasn't for the "heritage" - does it really matter that a vehicle, made by a long-gone company, looked vaguely like the Wrangler, was nicknamed "Jeep", and was sold to the government?

I didn't buy it for that.

I bought it because I wanted a small SUV, and it was the ONLY CHOICE that:

1 Was a convertible

2 Had removable doors (yes, I took 'em off on warm days)

3 Had a fold-down windshield (again, I actually enjoyed this feature every summer)

4 Was UPGRADEABLE with an incredible choice of after-market parts, to the point where its off-road capability could match or exceed pretty much all other vehicles.

5 Was REPAIRABLE, and dirt-cheap too, because of simple design and that same wonderful supply of aftermarket parts!

Chrysler needs to ask the actual buyers why they chose the product, rather than just re-publishing the same old "heritage" story.

I was particularly critical of their choice to slap a "heritage" placard on the new Jeep grab-handles... Do they think that every person who sits down in a Wrangler passenger seat wants to be reminded about "heritage"?

I can understand the reminders about child safety restraints, etc. but even those are less obvious than the "heritage" reminder!

I'd like to see a happy driver and passengers cruising along on their way to a jamboree with the top down and doors off. When they get there, they fold the windshield down and we are asked, "Can your truck do this?

Jeep(tm) The tough... and really FUN choice!

Poster Thread
Josephus
Posted: 2011/1/12 21:32  Updated: 2011/1/12 21:32
Home away from home
Joined: 2005/7/18
From: Pennsylvania
Posts: 265
 How important is heritage?
In many areas i agree with Glenn. Here are the reasons why I bought a Wrangler in 2007.

1 Was a 4-door convertible big enough to fit myself, the wife AND the kids (instead of wife or kid). Most convertibles are a joke in terms of capacity.


2 Was supposed to be sold in the US with a CRD that gets 28mpg. Chrysler FAILED to deliver on this big time. Couldn't pass SMOG tests but gets a total overhaul to pass 5-star crash tests - WTF???

3 Is the most FUN vehicle I have ever driven (more fun than Mustangs, Vettes, M-series, WRX STi, Hopped-up Camaros & Novas, 4-Runners). I've had no speeding tix either since I bought the Jeep.

4 Has real Off-Road capability in stock (Rubicon) form.

5 Has dealerships and warranties that allow reasonable modifications, and even offers MOPAR winches & lifts!!!

6 Was UPGRADEABLE with an incredible choice of after-market parts, to the point where its off-road capability could match or exceed pretty much all other vehicles.

7 Is REPAIRABLE, and affordable.

8 Uses basic and environmentally friendly materials (Steel, plastic, rubber, canvas, and almuninum without harmful hybrid batteries). Pick better fuels like Bio-D.

9 Had removable doors

10 Had a fold-down windshield


Notice how Heritage is not listed? The fact that Mercedes had purchased Chrysler was a big factor in my perception of Quality Improvement.
The old stuff wasn't all bad, but embracing new technology and better build processes is expected these days.

I think I see a new survey, although I can't imagine how it would be phrased?

"What are your top 3 reasons for buying your Jeep Wrangler?"
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