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LibertyCold Liberty Reception Outside North America? Delay for the Wrangler Rubicon
Posted by mike on 2002/3/22 0:00:00 (655) reads

Is the Liberty not suited for the Austrialian market? One reader gives us 4 reasons why it might not be.

We recently received an email from one of our readers down under regarding the seemingly luke-warm (at best) reception that the Jeep Liberty has received. Here's what our reader had to say:

In Australia, where the KJ has been on the market for six months, it is unusual to see one on the road. In a market where 25% of new vehicles sold now have all-wheel drive capability!

Some dealers claim it is because sufficient stock is not available. Yet, there appears to be ample supply of the better-selling Grand Cherokee.

Despite positive road-test reports in Australian newspapers and auto magazines, the following facts will probably prevent the KJ ever being a hit Down-Under:

  1. The 'startled-rabbit' front-end styling is considered to be too 'way out'.
  2. The cargo area is too small for touring trips longer than two days.
  3. Most buyers consider it to be a 'soft-roader'. The soft-roaders from Japan and Korea are selling extremely well due to the fact that they are thousands of dollars cheaper than the base KJ and 'seem' to offer similar levels of equipment and performance. Even against 'real' 4x4s the little Jeep represents poor value. For the same dollars, or less, the potential customer can choose a Mitsubishi Montero Sport, Nissan Pathfinder or even a V8 Land Rover Discovery. All of which are more capable off-road and better-suited to Australian outback conditions.
  4. Chrysler has not made a right-drive compatible version. Park the KJ at the curb, between two cars, and then try to unload the cargo area. That big left-hinged tailgate effectively blocks off access to the curb. No other vehicle sold in Australia has this design anomaly.

Keeping in mind that this is just one reader's opinion, we still think some good points are made (especially numbers 3 and 4).

On another note, one of our sources is indicating that the Wrangler Rubicon may be delayed until 2004. We don't have any confirmation of this or any futher details, but we'll keep you posted as we find out more.

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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Kiwijeep
To Jon

"I ALSO HAVE A VIDEO FROM A CHRYSLER REP THAT SHOWS THE TESTING IN THE RUBICON OF THE RUBICON AND ALSO THE WILLY'S CONCEPT AND JEEP RENEGADE LIBERTY AND THE WRANGLER AXIS! I HAVE COPIES IF YOU CARE TO E-MAIL ME WITH A REQUEST OR IF YOU WOULD LIKE FURTHER INFO"

It would be great to get a copy of that tape my email is attached.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Wayne Coucman
Kiwi Rubicon ???

I drive a 2000 TJ and have already tryed to place an order for a Rbicon, was told there are no plans to build it in right hand drive, I might import one from the US if I have too ! But I dont want to have to wait till 2004 ?

As for the Liberty, it dosnt look like it would go any where the TJ does, but I would like to be proven wrong !!!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Ontario
As an afterthought (and totally unrelated to this thread), I thought I would mention three "relatively" inexpensive aftermarket add-ons that have improved the horsepower and torque of my V6 3.7L KJ considerably: (1) K&N air filter, (2) Tornado Air Management System, and (3) a bolt-on Gibson high performance cat back exhaust system.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Tommy Drouillard
The Wrangler Rubicon is delayed!?!?!? :o(

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Meza
Any word on wheather the Rubicon is being delayed until 2004? Say it is'nt so!!!!!!!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jon
I live in a mega population center (San Francisco area) and I see more Boxsters and Ferraris in a week than I do Liberties in a month (1-3). I know the Liberty is selling fairly well, but it must be selling A LOT better in some regions of North America than in others. CJs/YJs/TJs, on the other hand, are more common out here than Volkswagons were 30 years ago.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: JON
TO KIWI
IPOSTED MY E-MAIL ADDRESS BUT APPARANTLY IT DID NOT POST, HERE IT IS AGAIN, E-MAIL ME IF YOU GET IT, JON
SINGLEDAD02@HOTMAIL.COM

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Kiwijeep
For the Kiwi's here is a link to a new board in NZ
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/jeepsnz/

This is what Jeep NZ is saying about the Rubicon

"Still awaiting news from the US on whether they are going to do the Wrangler
Rubicon in right hand drive. Australia is pushing hard for it, but the UK
people seem a little indifferent and without their volume it is touch and go
whether it will stack up economically"

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: JON
here is my comment
RUBICON IS NOT DELAYED!!!!
NEVER FEAR, THE RUBICON IS HERE.
I HAVE BEEN ON CHRYSLERS WAITING LIST SINCE SEPT 2001, THEY BECAME AVAILABLE FOR ORDER SINCE MARCH 14TH. MINE IS SUPPOSED TO BE DELIVERD THE LAST WEEK OF JULY (CHANGED FROM THE FIRST WEEK OF JULY DUE TO A SUPPLIER PROBLEM WITH THE REAR AXLE) THAT IS SUPOSED TO BE ALEVIATED NOW. THEY COME IN ONE COLOR (FLAME ORANGE) WITH FULL HARD DOORS AND NO OPTIONS EXCEPT LOADED. I WAS INFORMED THAT ONLY 15000 WILL BE PRODUCED THE FIRST YEAR AND THEY WERE ALL SPECIAL ORDER. I AM CURENTLY LIVING IN NEBRASKA AND GOT MINE FOR RETAIL PRICE, AROUND $27,000.00 BUT I AM TOLD THAT OUT WEST, WHERE I JUST MOVED FROM, THE DEALERS THAT WERE LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET ONE ON THEIR LOT WILL BE SELLING THEM FOR AROUND $5000.00 OVER INVOICE. P.S. I ALSO HAVE A VIDEO FROM A CHRYSLER REP THAT SHOWS THE TESTING IN THE RUBICON OF THE RUBICON AND ALSO THE WILLY'S CONCEPT AND JEEP RENEGADE LIBERTY AND THE WRANGLER AXIS! I HAVE COPIES IF YOU CARE TO E-MAIL ME WITH A REQUEST OR IF YOU WOULD LIKE FURTHER INFO. THANK YOU, THE JEEP KING

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Kiwijeep
I agree with what you say, but that is not what most people beleave Jeep is all about. When you buy a Jeep you had a 4x4 which would go most every where, and if you require a softer 4x4 you got a
V or RAV. Landrover has gone soft as well.
It's a shame jeep replaced the XJ. The KJ is over priced for a soft 4x4. It will be interesting what the KJ sales will be like in a year from now. I beleave the WJ will increase sales over the KJ.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Ontario
Since 1979 I have owned a CJ7, 3 XJs, 3 W/ZJs, and now a KJ. Except for the CJ7 (which really was poory made), the KJ is definitely the most fun to drive both on and off road. I don't rock crawl and I don't do heavfy duty mudding, but I do use my Jeep for getting into off-the-beaten-track bowhunting areas. Is the KJ a four wheeler for truly hard-core offroaders? No. Is it a natural born rock crawler with its IFS? No. But is it a great 4x4 for those of us who need mild to mid-range off-road capability? You bet.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Kiwijeep
The KJ is one of Jeeps mistake's. We had a KJ with us on a trip in the South Island of New Zealand. There were 6 XJ's as well. All 6 XJ's came back with no damage. The KJ was badly damaged underneath. The ground clearance is very poor. It seems that the KJ is being sold now to non 4x4 drivers as most Jeep owners here would not trade there XJ for it.
I hope that the Rubicon comes down under as that will be my next Jeep. If not then I will look at a TJ Sport or a low milage XJ.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Mike Emery (New Zealand)
I disagree with comments about way out looks of the KJ. I've had one for 3 months now and my KJ has always attracted glances (of the right sort)and positive comments, and no one looks twice at it's predecessors. Good looks aside, cheap finish, dodgey American ergonomics, and the shocking right-hand conversion already noted have severely let the KJ down.

The KJ is littered with cheap quality plastics (even on the door panels) that give you the feeling of driving the first disposable Jeep.
On the erogonomics side, the radio that forces you to select between displaying the station or the time (never both) was the first thing to annoy the hell out of me. I have never seen any other modern vehicle in New Zealand that does this.

As if having all the window controls in the middle console wasn't mindless enough, fitting the doors with central locking switches where the window controls should have been was the icing on the cake - it confuses everybody who tries winding down the windows for the first time and it takes forever to get used to.
As for the cloth sides on the "all leather seats".. come on Chrysler, that just screams "WE'RE CHEAP AND SKIMPY"!

The bad right-hand drive conversion is not limited to the tailgate, the hood release is in the passenger footwell for goodness sake! And they couldn't be bothered moving the park brake and low range lever to the drivers side. It's a long reach to change from hi to lo and back again.

The absolute worst thing (for this auto KJ driver)is the footwell. For RH drivers the intrusion of the transmission into the footwell causes serious problems, particularly for people with longer legs. The footrest is too narrow, steep, and uncomfortable and the transmission intrusion means there is nowhere comfortable to rest your left foot. Most Jeep people I have spoken to here in NZ agree it's a shocking design. In the US this is probably not a problem as the "lazy" foot in automatics is on the door side where there is plenty of room and no intrusion - at least I think that's how it works?

Tall people (in any country) may find themselves staring into the front roofline instead of out the window with the ridiculously high seats - I'm 6'1" and often find myself having to duck down just to see traffic lights or hill horizons even though the seat is usually as low as it can go. And is it my imagination, but do the seats seem a little on the short side (from seatback to front edge)? Tilting the front of the seat upward for extra support seems to cut off blood ciculation.

For anyone down-under seriously considering a KJ, I would strongly advise a LONG test drive before hand. If it feels silly and uncomfortable at the time, chances are it will always feel silly and uncomfortable - time does not heel all things.

Am I happy with my KJ? No... but I still love it!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Guy

I am a Jeep/mopar nut and have been selling
new C-J product for more than five years at
one of Australia's largest dealers.
Australian management is ineffective at
convincing our US bosses of the significance
of their export markets. Whilst companies like
Toyota and Nissan have made great strides
by listening to the market, our American
friends bury their heads in the sand. It seems
that if a product is successful in the US it must
also be successful here. The KJ is a very
competent car that is constantly sold out (we
still sell every KJ over retail price), but it would
help greatly if:
1. we got more than 5 per month per dealer
(less for small dealers)
2. we had a diesel/auto (coming in 6 months)
3. it had decent quality shocks (can't keep up
with the springs)
4. four disc brakes (coming soon)
The tailgate is actually better the way it is.
Strangely, having it hinged on the "wrong" side
is better as the camber of the road will hold it
open. Ever tried holding the tailgate of a RAV4
or
V open while you put the groceries in
with one hand? The whole wheel-on-the-back
design is quite stupid but is driven by dopey
customers who want their station wagon to
look "tough". The basic architechture of the XJ
was much superior in many ways but
customers didn"t want it.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Bob
Libertys are as common here as are Honda Civics.
They're everywhere...

Bo

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Utah
I'm not a fan of the Liberty styling either, and anyone who has read my posts know's that I love my 2000 Cherokee Sport.

So...that said, I have to admit that I am seeing more and more Liberty's on the road here in Ontario Canada all the time.

At first....it seemed that the only ones that I saw were on the dealer lots.

But, just driving around today, I saw 4 and I saw 3 yesterday....and every day I see 4 - 6 Libertys.

So....maybe it will just take time in Australia, for it to catch on, which is what it took here in Ontario. Time for it to catch on.

That said...I still think they are funny looking. But...people seem to be purchasing them.
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