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LibertyPositioning the Jeep Liberty
Posted by mike on 2000/12/13 0:00:00 (701) reads



The Toledo Blade has an interesting article about the positioning of DaimlerChrysler's newest Jeep - the 2002 Jeep Liberty. The article speculates that when the Liberty goes on sale this summer, it will be positioned somewhere between the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee in terms of price. From previous reports, we know that the Liberty is going to be slightly larger than current Cherokee and will be poised to compete directly against the hottest SUV on the market - the Nissan XTerra. Here's a portion of the article:

SUVs presenting the biggest challenges to the aging Cherokee will be foes of the Liberty, too, including the Chevrolet Blazer, Kia Sportage, Honda CR-V, Nissan Xterra, the redesigned Subaru Forester, and, most recently, the new Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute. General Motors Corp. is lowering Chevrolet Blazer prices to make way for its new TrailBlazer, which will go on sale in April, and the new Saturn Vue will be on dealership lots next fall.

Blazer, Sportage, CR-V, and Forester sales are up at least slightly this year, while the Xterra has nearly doubled sales from its first year.The Escape and Tribute, which are made from the same platform, are going through their fifth recall since their August premiere, but sales and critical acclaim are strong.

The Liberty is expected to be positioned somewhere between the Cherokee, priced between $19,000 and $24,000, and the Detroit-made Grand Cherokee, which runs from about $28,000 to $35,000. Depending on where the price falls, the Liberty could compete with one of its Jeep cousins, said Ron Szegedi, a Jeep salesman at Ed Schmidt Auto Group in Perrysburg.

Much of the Libertyís success will depend on its features compared with the competition, said David Healy, an auto analyst for Burnham Securities, Inc.

As the auto industry appears headed into a temporary slump, DaimlerChrysler may have trouble profiting from the Liberty, another expert said. The automaker wisely decided to keep the Cherokee, which will give buyers a lower-priced alternative until the Liberty takes off, said Jim Mateyka, vice president in the global automotive consulting business of A.T. Kearney, Inc., of Southfield, Mich.

"Thereís a lot of pretty severe price competition," he said. "The timing is not great, but youíve got to stay in the car business."

Consumers donít like spikes in gas prices like those experience in the spring nor do they like the gas shortages from the 1970s, but Mr. Cole of the Center for Automotive Research said the worst seems to be over on the gas front.

Mr. Szegedi, the Jeep salesman at Ed Schmidt, said: "I donít think that gas prices will ever be bad enough that they will stop buying sport utilities. We all like nice things, and sport utilities are turning out to be the elite of vehicles that you can own.

"I think [the Liberty] is going to sell like wildfire."

Be sure to check out the entire article.

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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: rich
Yo Griff,
Ya, my wife owns the XTerra and I gotta say..
besides the solid axle..they got it pretty right.
Had Jeep gone with the Dakar, I believe the Xterra
wouldn't be selling as well!
It's the only vehicle without the typical boring
SUV generic silhouette. It is loaded with utility
features also..tie-downs,outlets storage space
roof rack etc.
I still love my TJ but do yearn for more space.
Leg room, kid room, cargo etc. i was looking forward to something like the classic CJ6! As I've
said repeatedly..they really f--ked up royally
on the Dakar miss.
Rich

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Griff
Right on guys. I totally agree with the comments posted. I was worried that alot of the people that were frequent readers of MFJN were going soft on Jeep and starting to sympathize with the KJ (Krappy Jeep). Also Mike, I wasn't trashing the Xterra I only mentioned it to serve a point. That point being that I think DC is producing the KJ and positioning it against the Xterra because the Xterra has been rated better than the Cherokee by most reputable car review people and I was saying that the Xterra is a much more solid rig than the KJ. Not only in looks, but more than likely in engineering. Long live the XJ.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Louis
Well I have to agree with the other posts on the Cherokee.When I went to purchase mine I did my homework.The solid axles and time proven six was the clincher.We are so happy with it's performance my wife and I will get a 01 Sahara in the spring,dumping our problematic D/C mini van.D/C missed the mark on the Dakar,I think you spell it,this would have been a big seller!Jeep MEANS four wheel drive,ask any ordinary person on the street,and thet invision a tough off road vehicle,the rest are toys.D/C should not loose this thinking buy trying to squeeze half baked SUV'S in their line.Put them on a dodge nameplate.Keep making the oldies,people WANT them but cannot get them just yet,it's just good to know you can get them.If GM came out with a run of 80-83 Malibu's there would be a line up to get them,just like the PT cruiser!You only know if a vehicle is long standing if you run it for a long time,the Cherokee has proved this point!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Justin Glasgow
What I have seen from the spy photo's The new Liberty looks like a Sportage or
V type looking vehicle, hopefully the new Liberty will not look even remotely similar to those. Wether your a girl or a guy the concensus is typically unanimous Jeep should embody that Rugged, outdoorsey, even masculine mystique which has always been thier trademark. Of all the Suv's out there Jeep's designs have always remained timeless, which is what sets them apart. They are never trendy, a 20 year old Wagooneer or CJ still looks great on the road. The Cherokee is a simple
timeless design much like the VW or the Wrangler.
While the Cherokee has been around for a long time it truly is a classic.
I am on my second Cherokee 1999 and my second Wrangler 1997.
I wish wish the best for the Liberty.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Andy
Griff is quite right with mist of his comments. But I do not think they want the XJ to compete with the KJ. It various Jeep sponsered events since the Dakar concept I have probed and prodded Jeep engineers as to Dakar production possibilities and I always got the same awnser, Jeep will not build it because it would compete with the XJ. I truley believe this is all about the yuppie "Cute-Ute" market. Jeep truely messed up on the Dakar pass up. And I would have rather seen a XJ "Cassablanca" then the KJ. Either way, actions speak louder then words. I would suggest that Jeep buyers go to the aftermarket companies (AEV Conversions, etc.) for there new Jeeps, built the way Jeep people want them. When Jeep see's the lost revenue, the due something quick to get their share. Especially due to the current financial circumstances.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Gary
here is my comment
I have to agree with the other comments. I was hoping to see either a stretched TJ (CJ 6 style, not Scrambler style with the bed hanging off the back!) with open top option or closed Dakar style Jeep. With solid axles front and rear. Better yet, Portal axles. Leave the IFS to Subaru and sports cars. I like the straight 6, but if the V-6 could be made to develop the same torque and last as long (unlikely on both) I could live with it. My XJ has 170,000+ miles so I've been debating about saving for a rebuild in a year or 2 or buying new. Thanks DC, for making my choice easy!

Gary

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Griff
I'm not much of a Nissan fan but just going on looks from what I have seen of the prototype the X-terra is much more rugged. I can here every person but me saying, "but you haven't seen the KJ so how can you judge it). There isn't much camo on it just look at it and think about it with the camo off. Also the Xterra can be gotten with every option for 24 to 26 grand, the Cherokee for 24 to 25 with everything the similar to the X-terra, now if they want this sport-cute to compete with the X-terra they are going to have to lower the price of the Cherokee or try selling a cutesy, i dare say, truck against a already top selling SUV. You do the math. Luckily I think the X-terra is the only SUV out of the ones in this article that the KJ has to compete with. If it is really bigger than a Cherokee (I don't know how from whats been shown) than it is bigger than the
V, Tribute, Escape, and Sportage. The Subaru is still a station wagon, and the Blazer never has sold well and I don't think it will ever get out of its slump, it is generally overpriced anyways. The KJ is definately going to be competing directly with the XJ and I think thats exactly what DC wanted to happen. They kept us happy by keeping the XJ till 2005 but they put the KJ in and it is going to lower the sales of the XJ so they can tell us Solid axle inline 6 fans that our "outdated" beast can't compete with V6 IFS Cutesy-Utes. DC is about to play us all for fools, watch out they have us right where they want us. Long live the XJ and solid axle and Inline six.
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