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MiscellaneousHummers Leading the Way: It Didn't Have to Happen
Posted by mike on 2004/3/27 0:00:00 (948) reads

Jeep commentary from Edward Lapham on AutoNews.com

Longtime automotive industry reporter (and now editor of Automotive News) recently published a bit of commentary about Jeeps and Hummers and their relative positions in the off-road vehicle industry. Here's a couple of snippets:

The Jeep brand is in an unfamiliar position these days. For half a century, the Jeep name meant rugged, off-road adventure. Jeep lawyers jealously protected the brand name from those who used it as a generic description for off-road vehicles.

Jeep was the crown jewel when Chrysler Corp. bought American Motors in 1987 and again when Daimler bought Chrysler in 1998.

But times have changed. Today Jeep is trying to catch Hummer and recapture the hearts and minds of American consumers. That's no small feat. Hummer grabbed Jeep's long-standing position as the all-American off-road toy partly because of great marketing by Hummer and partly because of not-so-great brand decisions by Jeep.

It didn't have to happen.

...snip...

Today, Jeep's offerings don't stand out in the crowd. The brand is muffled and non-distinctive. The Grand Cherokee is long in the tooth. It bowed in 1999, hasn't been nurtured and has been surpassed by its competitors. Liberty is more civilized than the Wrangler, but civility isn't Jeep-like. Add to that all the marketing mumbo-jumbo about whether or not a given Jeep model is trail-rated, and the brand becomes even more unexceptional.

Meanwhile, Hummer has expanded its lineup, moving down in size from the H1 to the H2. The pickup-like H2 SUT debuts this fall and the mid-sized H3 a year later.

...snip...

Be sure to check out the entire commentary - it is worth the free registration that is required for the site.

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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: the Art director
You know the next model comming up is the Unimog that dwarfs the Hummer. It is non- agressive, docile, just a piece of machinery - Now knowing this, something should be done right away in the right room there by Jeep.
An ex- grand cherokee owner, back to driving a Cherokee '94.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Mike Mc
Interesting perspective, but I'm not sure I 100% agree with it. I think the Hummer brand got a boost from the Iraq war... you turn on the TV and you see the U.S. military... not in Jeeps, but in Humvees. Recent data, however, suggests that while Hummer got a boost, sales are declining while Jeep sales are surging. Granted, the Grand needs a refresh, but the Liberty has really penetrated some new markets. The Rubicon is a runaway success, etc. I don't think it's all black in Jeepland...

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: FullSizeR
Years ago AMC/JEEP owned AM General,
where the original Hummers were made
before GM bought the Hummer.
And now DaimlerChrysler/JEEP is trying to
regain it's ground and lead the way again.
To bad AMC/JEEP had to sell of AM General
when Renault took over AMC/JEEP.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Matt
As much as I love Jeeps, the article is right on the mark. Any vehicle with a beefed-up FULL FRAME, front and rear lockers, and 37 inch!!!!! tires straight from the factory is a REAL off-roader, whether they have Regis Philbin in their commercials or not. The problem with Jeep is that they want to sell a lot of vehicles. Hummer is content to sell a lot less, at a lot bigger profit per vehicle, and not dilute the brand's capabilities. From what I have read the H3 will be the size of a Grand Cherokee, but with 33 inch tires. That's 2 inches higher than a Rubicon. By the way, they are testing them on the Rubicon Trail with Jeep Wrangler Rubicons as their comparison vehicles. I highly doubt that Jeep used the Rubicon to base the new Grand against. If we are losing to Hummer, it's our own fault, and calling the H2 names doesn't help.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Sean M.
The people who know what it takes to be an off-road vehicle really know that Hummers are dressed up Chevy Suburbans. It's the general masses that Hummer appeals to with their multi million dollar commericals making the Hummer look like the most capable thing ever and the best gift to vehicle technology since rubber tires!

GM is merely riding a marketing wave that will sooner or later crash into the shore, when it does Jeep will still be there, just like they have been since WWII! As long as there are shallow, hey look at me in my BIG BAD tought "looking" truck, idoits that will spend their money on vehicles just so that people will look at them at the traffic light (no shortage of those folks!), Hummer will sell trucks like hot cakes. Hopefully the reign of Dieter doesn't drive the brand into the ground before he is replaced by an American who might understand what Jeep really is all about! Thank god someone else is taking over the helm at Jeep.

As far as the Grand not being nurtured, i don't know where this guys gets his information. I guess because it doesn't have an all aluminum V6 and independant suspension it is considered out dated? Sad thing is the Grand rides better than ANY other new SUV i've riden in, i just don't get all the hype over independant suspension, these are not cars people!

The Grand Cherokee model has seen the MOST revisions in the entire Jeep linup's history since 1941. It's just as, if not more, comfortable as ANY other truck/SUV on the market and still has the right stuff underneath to be called a true off-road vehicle, at least until they put independant suspension under it...

REALLY STUPID MOVE DC!!!!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Carter
From what I can tell, the h3 looks like it has taken one
too many design cues from the chevy avalanche and I
doubt very seriously that it will be anywhere near as
capable as a Rubicon. Potentially Hummer is a threat
to the Jeep brand, but GM isn't likely to guide its
development in such a way as to really be anything for
Jeep to fear. In short I think they will screw it up.


As an aside to DC I say this: I am one of many people
who preferred the XJ to all other vehicles. The Limited
is close, but put 4-doors on it so that I will finally have a
worthy replacement for my aging (gracefully) XJ. Oh,
and fire your marketing team. The "trail rated" ads
really are an embarrasment.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Matt
I just checked out AEV's website. They say that they are "very excited" about the new Grand coming out in September, and that they feel it is greatly improved, and will be "more capable" than the current Grand. Maybe we are all in for a very pleasant surprise.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jeeper
Competition. It makes or breaks a company. I think the next couple of years are going to be the most critical years in the history of Jeep. Either Jeep competes, or Jeep takes a seat in the back.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Theres Only One
"Today, Jeep's offerings don't stand out in the crowd. The brand is muffled and non-distinctive." ... yeah, who cant point out a Jeep at first glance if every suv made were lined up, seriously. Look at all those SUVs who have removable doors and complete removable top... thats right, theres nothing. Real "non-distinctive" if you ask me... My three year old cousin points out wranglers in parking lots as well as those driving down the road.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: DothanTJ
AEV is also excited about the Unlimited and are replacing their LWB conversions with the Unlimited. This should provide a lower cost for the conversion as they don't have to stretch it first. Put in a HEMI and you have yourself a vehicle.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: jarhead
rb, you got it... if jeep put out a really unlimited vehicle in the same design element of the defender then we might have something. Give me an unlimited rubicon with a turbo diesel engine (for better mpg and low end torque), toolboxes in the side panels, flat paint, aev-conversion improvements, wider stance, a rear seat that folds down flush into the floor, etc, etc, etc...

DC; are you listening?

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: KCarlYJ
DC should fully fund American Expedition Vehicles to take over all of their Jeep needs...

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: rb
i think you need to understand something: the guy in
charge of marketing the jeep brand is a former ford guy.
do you think off-road capability when you think of ford or
do you think of mass market vehicle? that guy is the
appointed embodiment of the jeep brand and we get things
like trail rated and other gimmicks that are so transparent
on first viewing it makes me puke. i'm glad i have my rubi
and don't look like a poser in an h2 but the truth is, the
jeep vehicles may be extremely capable, but they sure as
hell don't look the part. that's a major part of the h2's
draw. it looks big and imposing and tough but they're
always strangely shiny new clean on the roads. i think dc
has to stop diluting the jeep (and dodge) brands by sharing
design cues (have you noticed the rear taillights on a liberty
and new durango - LOL). they are costcutting and saving
their way into ford-land...where all things are the same.
there needs to be serious design leadership at jeep and i'm
not seeing it. the rescue looks like it'd tip in an instant on
a real hard core trail. enough games and time to make
some bada$$ vehicles again. i cringe at the thought of the
inevitable wrangler redesign. i'm so glad i'm not gonna end
up with one of those freakish jeep concepts like the treo.
maybe they should look at the land rover defender for
some hints too. that's a bad a$$ truck that always turns
heads at autoshows. i think i overheard more "where can i
get this" at the defender 90 exhibit this year than at any
cartoonish jeep display.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: too little too late
i guess my comments a few weeks ago were on the money...dieter are you reading? expand the line today what are you waiting on????

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Mike Mc
Interesting perspective, but I'm not sure I 100% agree with it. I think the Hummer brand got a boost from the Iraq war... you turn on the TV and you see the U.S. military... not in Jeeps, but in Humvees. Recent data, however, suggests that while Hummer got a boost, sales are declining while Jeep sales are surging. Granted, the Grand needs a refresh, but the Liberty has really penetrated some new markets. The Rubicon is a runaway success, etc. I don't think it's all black in Jeepland...

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Landy
My main gripe with Jeep, which I feel has to some extent diluted their reputation, is their offering of 4X2 vehicles. Most people who purchase Jeep vehicles do so because of their superb capabilities (when properly equipped, albeit), yet a vast number of U.S. vehicle sales are in two-wheel drive configuration (the TJ being the exception, of course). Most of these 4X2 Jeep buyers believe they are getting the utmost ability in their vehicles; however, most would be challenged to traverse a wet, grassy berm. Maybe the “Trail-rated” marketing campaign was created to educate those on the virtues of four-wheel drive. Conversely, because of “Trail-rated” I feel snobbery will now occur amongst 4X4 Jeep owners and 4X2 Jeep owners (especially those who reside southern states). This division will not fare well. Jeep should offer every model in four-wheel drive configuration. This would command more credibility among the likes of Land Rover and HUMMER, which only offer 4X4 models.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jeep Dude
Hate to say it, however, the article is right on the money......Jeep do something and quick or we may be purchasing our last jeeps in a few years.....Yes it could happen.......

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Another viewpoint
here is my comment
Could a tax break be the reason that we see so many H2's? If you recall, there is a tax break for vehicles with over a 6,000lb GVW. The Grand Cherokee is the only Jeep close, but it can not handle 6,000lbs.
With the end of the tax break coming, and ever higher fuel prices a certainty, the H2 bubble may be about to burst. Unfortunately, the damage is done.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: 2nd YJ
I bet he drives a Hummer....

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

I am amazed at how many Hummers are on the road, and how much more they cost than any of the jeeps. Of course, you know that probably 90% of them never even go on a gravel road, let alone a trail. They cost too much and no one wants to risk a paint scratch or a dent that will happen when you take it off the pavement. Jeeps will hang tough, as they always have. I agree, DC needs to go thru AEV for any real upgrade. Their vehicles are something else indeed!!
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