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MiscellaneousJeep Models to be Segmented in the Future - Trail Rated vs. Non-Trail Rated
Posted by mike on 2003/10/28 0:00:00 (672) reads

Get ready for Jeep vehicles that won't be able to traverse the Rubicon...

We've been hearing rumors and seeing hints about DaimlerChrysler moving the Jeep nameplate towards more non-offroad vehicles, but a recent Autoweek.com article really lays everything out.

Here's the bottom line: DaimlerChrysler wants to expand Jeep sales, therefore, they're going to expand the Jeep lineup. Are they going to expand the lineup with more rugged 4x4s? Nope. They're going to expand their lineup where it will affect the bottom line the greatest, with the majority of consumers who don't take their vehicles off-road. Here's a snippet from this excellent article:

The Chrysler group plans to expand the Jeep line with SUVs that move away from Jeep's historic roots and won't be serious off-road vehicles.

"We have to extend our lineup" and offer Jeeps that will be used "99 percent of the time on-road," COO Wolfgang Bernhard said last week at a press event in Austin, Texas.

The decision comes as the Chrysler group is spending heavily to position Jeep as the "real 4x4" in a world in which the definition of an SUV is expanding.

Jeep has been wrestling with whether to offer smoother-riding, more carlike SUVs. The division now will try to straddle both worlds. It will keep its 4x4 models as "authentic" SUVs and will add a generation of less-rugged vehicles to compete against softer-riding sport wagons.

The Chrysler group needs to re-energize Jeep because the brand has slipped badly in recent years. Jeep held 19.0 percent of the U.S. SUV market in 1999 but only 11.2 percent in 2002.

...snip...

The Chrysler group is preparing to expand the Jeep line to at least six vehicles within the next three years. Scheduled to join the Jeep line are:

The Scrambler: A pickup derivative of the Wrangler due next summer.

A premium SUV: A four-door SUV based on the next-generation Grand Cherokee platform.

An entry-level SUV: Likely to be a Liberty derivative; expected in 2005 or 2006.

Bernhard did not say whether the premium SUV and entry-level SUV will be aimed at buyers who use their vehicle for trips to the mall, not off-roading.

"We do recognize what a treasure we have in the Jeep brand, and rather than leaving this nugget unearthed and without use, we will unearth it," Bernhard said. "We will maximize the value of the brand. We will expand the Jeep line and include vehicles that we haven't offered."

Be sure to check out the rest of this article.

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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: MalcomXJ
I'm not aware of a Jeepster concept. If you're referring to the Compass concept, it's based on the Liberty platform and will be 2wd if it makes it to production. Strictly for on-road use.

This puts it in Subaru territory, which has a more capable platform in the WRX (an all-wheel drive car with incredible performance at it's price point). The competition is massive in the autocross segment with the Far East manufacturers dominating. Will it compete? Probably not, if the rumored specs hold true. If I was in the market for such a vehicle, I'd be hard-pressed to choose the Compass over the offerings from Subaru, Mistubishi, or the other manufacturers in this market segment.

Ironically, the best evidence of Jeep's success in this market is Eagle. As a brand, it pioneered the concept that Subaru later adopted and ran with. The difference is that Eagle was a created as a seperate brand to avoid diluting the Jeep marque. Same engineers, and many cross-platform components. DCX is looking to cash in on what's left of the Jeep legend to garner sales to wannabes (my opinion). I think this is a mistake for the long-term health of the brand. More power to them, it's their brand. As a consumer I see no value in the offerings.

If Jeep sticks with the HALO products, I'll continue to buy them. I doubt that this will be the case and expect to see truly off-road Jeep vehicles to go extinct with the Scrambler/current TJ platform.

As for Jeep making a capable "off-road" IFS, it is possible. AM General (an off-shoot of AMC-era Jeep) did it with the HMMWV. The H2 is a joke on wheels, but the original Hummer suspension is a great piece of engineering. The Liberty platform doesn't even rank. It's a bit like using a screwdriver to drive a nail in. It may be a great screwdriver but all the marketing in the world won't make the nail go in easier. If they came up with an independent suspension along the lines of the HMMWV and made it affordable for the consumer market I'd be first in line.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: mmp
I think that it is OK if Jeep wants to add more car like vehicles to thier line up as long as they also continue to build traditional off-road vehicles.
In other words, I wouldn't mind seeing a Compass at a Jeep dealership as long as there could be a Rubicon next to it.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: jhodge
bad bad mistake, "unearth this nugget" ,"maximize value" the hell with that, Bernhard stay with the formula. Every Jeep should go down the rubicon!!!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: DothanTJ
Let's not forget about the Kaiser Jeepster made in the 60s, later to become the AMC Jeepster in the 70s. Look: http://www.off-road.com/jeepster/history/hist2.htm

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: rae
I agree w/ mmp, if all of you die hard Jeep fans hope to see the brand in the future, the dealers have to have something more to sell to the general public in order to "stay alive". Stay true to the brand AND expand their share of the market. Compass, great idea for all of those in mini vans that want to "feel" like they are driving something w/ a little more style! Hope to see it soon. Scrambler, great as long as Jeep adds to their line up and NOT continue to take away products, can't wait to see it! Whatever happend to a 7 passenger Jeep?

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Trent
ummm... i don't think rebadging four Chevy trucks to make fifty GM trucks is research and development

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

Because DC won't build Jeeps that compete with existing Dodges, Jeep sales suffer. Jeep has been able to survive by building nitche vehicles. I just think that car-like vehicles are tough sellers right now and car-like vehicles badged as Jeeps dilute the name. I think that a 3/4 size jeep pick up and four door Jeeps with a small bed may be the nitche type vehicles that save Jeep. It seems like with limited $, more and more people want all-in-one vehicles. GM is building vehicles like the Avalance, Trailblazer XUV, HUMMER H2 with the pickup bed, the new Caddy with the pickup bed. Granted GM has more $$ to do R&D than DC. I just think that Jeep can build them cheaper and tougher.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: DothanTJ
Here are a couple of sights on the Jeepster. The official Jeep site has it in the concepts page. These are more recent and the second has some good pictures.

http://www.wjjeeps.com/concept/concept.htm
http://www.surreyoff-road.com/magazine/jeepster.htm

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: MalcomXJ
"Jeep sold the Jeepster in the 60's and it did well. It was not much more than a car. I think a cool Jeep crossover would do quite well."

Actually, I think you're referring to the original Jeepster that would introduced in '48 and was only in production three years. This model was two wheel drive (The Kaiser Jeepster Commandos in the 60's and AMC Jeepsters in the early 70's were four-wheel drive).

The original 2wd Jeepster introduced in '48 was a sales flop, with only a tick above 19,000 sold over those three years.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Steve Visek
It's a smart move and exactly what I was hoping Jeep would do. DC has Dodge trucks that could be easily and inexpensively modified to be Jeeps. To those who don't think they would do this, just look at other manufacturers: Chevy and GMC with their pickups and SUVs, Ford/Lincoln/Mercury with their SUVs, Toyota/Lexus, etc. Jeep mid and fullsize pickups and SUVs based on them would be great offerings, maybe a little upmarket from the Dodges. If this helps them be able to afford to make more Wrangler Rubicons, great! Are there any of us who wouldn't rather by a Jeep brand pickup or large family SUV over another brand? Maybe some of you only buy rock crawlers, but some of us have other needs too. (And starting a separate new brand won't work. Remember Eagle?) And these types of vehicles are part of the Jeep heritage. Remember the full-size J10 and J20 pickups? The Comanche? The Grand Wagoneer? None of these were ever as capable as CJs and Wranglers off-road. Let's be honest, guys, there aren't enough die-hard off-roaders out there to keep Jeep profitable, and if the Jeep brand goes out of business because they marketed to only this small niche, then Jeep won't be around to make the vehicles we off-roaders want.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jon
I got to sit in the Jeepster at Camp Jeep this year and I thought it was way cool. As long as they outfit with those 20"+ size wheels and make it all-wheel drive I think it will do well.
I think everyone would of said Jeep would never produce a Rubicon type of Wrangler and they did. I wouldn't give up on them yet.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: XJKEN
I honestly do not know what the answer is. The purist think that all Jeep vehicles should have solid axles, low range gear boxes and be Rubicon ready.
A big part of me believes in those same principals. However another part of me believes that in todays market place those qualities just don't mean a whole hell of a lot to the vast majority of consumers. There is another segement within the Jeep hobby that thinks Jeep should return to building pickup trucks. Again, I would consider a Jeep truck if I was in the market but, I do not think a return to PU's is the answer either and I agree with another post here and do not think Jeep will ever build another pickup. That leaves the idea of car like
Jeep vehicles. If that is the way, and it appears it is that DC want to take the Jeep brand then I think they need to at least be all-wheel drive, two wheel drive
is just unacceptable. They also need to be very careful as to what car like Jeeps they want to bring to market. While the Jeepster, Compass and Willy's concepts
are acceptable to me, the Varsity and Treo concepts are not. I would buy the last Jeepster concept in a second if they produced it at a reasonable price. Thats just my .02.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: LIMBO
I dont think jeep will ever make a truck again. It would compete against itself with the dodge line. I think jeep would do well having its own showroom like landrover does. Just go into a landrover showroom and it feels like going on a safari. Many auto's are purchased on emotion, well put that to use DCX follow the lead of landrover and hummer. At one time u were the leader now just a follower and ya still dont get it........

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: JASON
I agree with Wyatt. There is no reason that Jeep should be with out a full size truck. In todays market place DC would have the best chance to bring the Jeep truck back in full swing. Everyones buying trucks and theres no reason why DC shouldnt be offering Scramblers,Comanches,J10s & J20s ! They would make a killing . Would somebody at DC please wake up!!!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: OlllllllO
If JEEP will stay with what they know that would be great. Im sure that im not the only one that would like dc to stop screwing with a wheel when it isnt broken but my opinion is if your going to want to offer a new line of vehicles why dont you put it in a different brand than JEEP kinda like a sub division why would you want a name like JEEP to be related to a strictly onroad vehicle when you think JEEP you think offroad. Now i do like the idea of a scrambler that would be sweet as long as they offer it with four wheel drive only i had a comanche and the only reason i got rid of it and i wish now i didnt is it was 2wd. what it boils down to is if your going to make a car that is soo much different from your standard line of vehicles put it under a "new" brand name and people will buy it just because it is new.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: DothanTJ
I apologize. My intention was that Jeepster Commandos were perceived as cars, capable or not. I think the recent Jeepster concept would be a viable fit for the brand. It looks like a car, but is actually a capable off-roader. The majority of people buying it would do so for the "unique" factor, but would be pleasantly surprised when they could get to work on a snow day. And let's hope that we can trust Jeep engineers to design a independent suspension that is capable of off-roading (if there is such a thing). If anyone can do it, they can.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: MalcomXJ
"Let's not forget about the Kaiser Jeepster made in the 60s, later to become the AMC Jeepster in the 70s"

I didn't. Re-read my original post. Those Jeepster Commandos were capable off-roaders with 4wd and thus not germain to a discussion regarding dilution of the brand.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: MalcomXJ
"The Jeepster was built in the 60's and did ok."

http://www.off-road.com/jeepster/history/hist1.htm

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jon
The Jeepster was built in the 60's and did ok.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: flanders
Well I'd say the majority consumer bracket is interested in quite a different type of automobile than they were 50+ years ago. 50 years ago the Jeepster was a flop.....in the current time, it stands to do very well.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jon
Jeep sold the Jeepster in the 60's and it did well. It was not much more than a car. I think a cool Jeep crossover would do quite well.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: OR Bruce
Sounds like it would be something to compete with the Freelander, Escape, etc. If it's supposed to be "Best in segment", it would be more like the Freelander, maybe an all wheel drive from the Liberty platform. Yippee. It'll be tough to compete with RAV4, Honda, Subaru, etc.

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

Jeep selling cars is a very bad idea. Ford, GM, and DC loose $ every year on cars. What makes DC think that people will buy a Jeep car?

U.S. automaker make the profits on pickups. If Jeep built a full size pickup and/or a Dakar like 4-door mid-size pickup, I believe they'd make a killing.

Toyota and Nissan seem to think that they can get a bite out of the pickup pie. Why not a legendary off-roader like Jeep?

It's just my opinion though.

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