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MiscellaneousForbes.com Reports on the 'Sissy Jeep'
Posted by mike on 2003/8/8 0:00:00 (817) reads

Forbes calls out DaimlerChrysler for planning a low-priced Jeep model.

A recent article on Forbes.com titled, "Chrysler's Marketing Mistakes", lists the planning of a "sissy Jeep" as one of the top mistakes. Here's a snippet:

Let's be honest, it isn't easy being a Detroit executive in the new millennium. The Japanese are coming on strong in light trucks, the Koreans are gaining market share, and it's a buyer's market dominated by profit-sapping givebacks. Compounding these problems is Detroit's short-sighted emphasis on cutting costs at the expense of building better cars and trucks.

All these problems are bad enough, but I think that beleaguered Chrysler, the American division of DaimlerChrysler), has another serious shortcoming: How it markets and sells its vehicles. I'm not talking about whether it was a good idea to hire Grammy winner Celine Dion to sing up Chrysler. To me, Chrysler's marketing mistakes are far more serious.

The big issues:

1. Killing Plymouth.
2. Plans for a "sissy Jeep."
3. Moving Chrysler upscale.
4. Combining Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep showrooms.

...snip...

Chrysler is also in a quandary over what to do with its legendary Jeep brand. The previous management, the Americans, made the brand Jeep mean something. In order to wear the Jeep badge, every model had to make it across the Rubicon Trail, a 22-mile raw northern California trail. Only vehicles that could survive the toughest conditions--over boulders, across water and through sand--were called Jeeps.

With all the new sport utility vehicles on the market, it is no surprise that Jeep sales have softened since 1999, when the division sold 555,000 trucks. Still, Jeep sold 460,000 units last year, which is more than double the SUV sales of Toyota's Lexus division, BMW or DaimlerChrysler's own Mercedes. But Chrysler people figure they could sell lots more if they could make a lower-priced Jeep model--even if it might not crawl the Rubicon. (I call it the "sissy Jeep.") And it looks as if they will do just that.

I don't think that Chrysler should walk away from the growing market for "softer" crossover SUVs. But such SUVS could carry the Dodge or Chrysler name, or they could revise the old Eagle brand once used by the firm's dealers for such lesser vehicles. Otherwise, I fear that Chrysler runs the risk of eventually destroying the integrity of Jeep.
 

 

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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: MalcomXJ
Great editorial from Forbes, echoing what many Jeepers have been saying the last couple of years. For the sake of the brand, I hope someone is listening at DC.

Somewhat off-topic, but here are some purported pics of the H3:

http://www.lenta.ru/auto/2003/07/10/hummer/
http://www.edmunds.com/future/2005/hummer/h3/100301493/photos.html

Doesn't really look much like a Jeep (or it's big brothers the H1 and H2) beyond it's grill, and is rumored to be based on the S-10.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: REELLIOTT
I'm relatively new to Jeep. Bought a 95 Rio Grande 4-cyl in December and liked it so much that when daughter #1 hit a deer in an old high mileage Olds (she's OK but car is ruined) we bought a 2001 Wrangler Sport. And, it is just terrific. DC has definitely improved their quality.

I've been pondering the "marketing position" question as well. And it comes down to "Does Jeep stand for the ruggedness of the Rubicon Trail or the ruggedness needed for bulletproof dependability"? Of course, the "Sissy" Jeep and other dilutions are an attempt to position Jeep into the latter market and hopefully increase sales.

My personal opinion and recommendation to Daimler-Chrysler is to first understand what a
Jeep is, what it can do and the culture associated with it. Build on it. It is obvious
that not enough in the top ranks of DC understand
that. They might have dinner with Lee Iacoca as
he certainly understood it. They should take a ride over the Rubicon Trail and open a can of sauerkraut along the way and listen to what people are saying and look at what's going on.
Take a vehicle right off the line, too.

Daimler-Chrysler has it's head wedged when it comes to branding and marketing. I do have to say that the quality has really improved as our 2001 Jeep is solid and trouble-free.

Remember Packard? They ruined their brand by
feebled attempts to go cheap to sell their image. Look at a pre-WWII Packard and a 50's Packard. What a joke! You can name many other
brands that made the same mistake and also
include Cadillac who let their market totally slip away from them in a rather pitiful way, too, to the Lexus crowd.

Perception is everything. Chrysler as an upscale brand? Forget it. They will do a slow death with that philosophy. Who in their right mind is going to lay out big bucks for a car that has the same quality of design and manufacture as
as a Lexus and yet it is called Chrysler?

Would Mercedes make a Neon like and priced car?
Nope.

When the die-hard loyal longtime Jeep customers
realize the Jeeps they're seeing in the showroom
are rebadged Dodges, just as Mercury is nothing
more than a Ford with different plastic, the
game will be up for the Jeep brand. They can order the curtains at that point.

Daimler sat on their a$$ and let GM steal the top end Jeep market with the H2. What are they
going to do when GM decides to "back down the line" with additional Jeep-like models as Jeep dilutes its brand with "sissy" Jeeps?

My suggestion to DC is to just sell the jeep brand to someone who understands what the Jeep
brand means rather than ruin it.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: rich
Mr Flint is definitely right about the "sissy"
jeeps...but then again he's wearing an ascot...hmmm

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Caesar
You hit on a great idea, DC should sell the Jeep Trademark to Ford! Imagine, four wheel drive, short wheel base, solid axle's and transmisions, oh my! I'd buy one! By the way I own an '86 CJ7, the last of the real Jeeps (built for men, not women)!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Vince
I've often wondered if Jeep would be more successful if owned by Ford. At least strong axles would be nice for once! Jaguar, Volvo and Land Rover seem to have improved as a result of Ford's management and investment. Time will tell if the replacement Defender gets the 21st century dilution treatment.

I can't understand why a company spends a fortune on product placement in the Tomb Raider movie and then produces a special edition of the same product that looks nothing like the one in the movie. Maybe DC expect to make more profit from the 1/43rd scale toys than the full size version? Sissy Jeep, they already make one, it's the UK spec TR2 Wrangler special edition.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jethro
I think that Jeep should have their own showroom/dealerships like that of Hummer and Landcruiser. Those are by far the coolest dealerships i have ever walked into and im a big time jeep fan. show the jeep in its element have weekend excursions like landcruiser sponsers here in dallas, tx no less. they are really gonna kill the brand and what jeep means today for those that are buying looks like it will mean something totally different when my payments are finished on my new 2004 in 4 years.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Wyatt
here is my comment

The H3 still looks more like a Jeep than the 2005 Grand Cherokee which looks like a Dodge Durango.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: JR
Great observations, not only on Jeep, but also on Plymouth. If they want to build something "softer" put the MB handle on it on market it against the Freelander for those more interested image and "comfort" rather than capability. They should be looking at something beefier to compete with Hummer. A new Power Wagon/Wagoneer platform or a more basic G-Wagon.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: OR Bruce
Here, here. If D-C wants to sell "soft-roaders", they should carry another brand name. The Jeep brand should be reserved for vehicles with real off-road capability.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: T.C. Hertweck
here is my comment...I couldn't agree more. In a market dominated by "soccer mommie" SUV's, if Jeep moves its lineup further toward unbridled estrogen powered vehicles, it would be like Harley-Davidson pushing towards mopeds and golf carts. Jeep should continue to build on its tradition of rugged competence, not pander to the latest focus group marketing gurus. Don't turn your back on the one who brung you to this dance. We are loyal customers, we expect loyalty in return.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jamie Robinson
Yes! Amen to the article, amen to your comments! This
sissy Jeep has got to stop. What were they thinking with the
KJ? It's a Dodge Durango with a Jeep grill.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Brent
The Flint guy does seem to understand jeep brand identity. If DC what just get it through their head to let chrysler do the soft roaders and jeep do the offroaders all would be happy....the pacifica I think is a great idea....and yes def build a competitor to the H2........but please make it reliable, the H2 had like the worst problems per 100 vehicle of almost any vehicle made on the j.d. power surveys.......if jeep would just focus its efforts on truely superior offroad technology and innovation and reliability they might just see customers come back to their product.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: schmack
Actually, I'm pretty sure the H3 is going to be based on the new Colorado mid sized truck platform.

Looks like a toy :)

On a side note, I saw an H2 pulling a u-turn yesterday. It didn't have the turning radius to make it so he popped over the curb and blew a tire. I thought I was gonna pee myself laughing.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: ricj
Yes,..as I've said on 2 earlier posts, the
Hummer 3 looks more like a Jeep than anything
Chrysler has planned..no wonder they were whining
in court, instead of building true offroad vehicles

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: T.C. Hertweck
REELLIOT sez..."Daimler sat on their a$$ and let GM steal the top end Jeep market with the H2. What are they
going to do when GM decides to "back down the line" with additional Jeep-like models as Jeep dilutes its brand with "sissy" Jeeps?"

Aren't there plans for a downsized H-3 Hummer or am I hallucinating again? Sundog


Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: xjgary
Great story! I'm heartened to see that the mainstream press (Forbes no less!) sees things as we Jeepers do. Good comments also.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Rob
I could not agree more!! The article really hit home when comparing Jeep's sales figures to that of Lexus, BMW, and Mercedes. Please tell me that someone in the German Management is listening. Send them this story!!!!
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