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LibertyLiberty to Be Spun-off - to Dodge Brand?
Posted by mike on 2004/6/1 0:00:00 (797) reads

For the first time, a Jeep product will be adapted for another nameplate

There's not too much we can add to this story - from AutoWeek.com:

Dodge will sell a compact SUV in two years built on the same platform as the Jeep Liberty.

Until now, the Chrysler group has not shared Jeep platforms.

The Dodge will have a different body style, says Nick Vuich, chairman of the Jeep unit of UAW Local 12 in Toledo, Ohio. "It will incorporate the look of a Dodge," Vuich says.

The company declined comment. But a company insider who didn't want to be named says the SUV will be shown at the Chicago Auto Show next February and go on sale in fall 2006.

"This is not a badge-engineered Jeep," the insider says. "These are two very different, very separate vehicles."

The Dodge is among four updated products the Chrysler group will build in its expanded Jeep assembly plant in Toledo, union officials say. Production of a redesigned Jeep Wrangler begins in May 2006.

Assembly of the Dodge SUV begins in August 2006. A re-engineered Jeep Liberty comes in the summer of 2007, and a Wrangler derivative follows in 2007 or 2008, Vuich says.

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: ScramblerKen
Liberty04,

I think you bring up a good point, Hummer (and Land Rover too) have been going for that special niche that Jeep seems to be abandoning. These 2 companies like to show off their abilities. Additionally, Land Rover has been holding ‘Camp Jeep’ type of events for their owners too.

The issue I have with Hummer and Land Rover is they build fine SUVs, but they are a bit pricy, and they still are missing the one factor that no one has been able to successfully duplicate. The Jeep Wrangler is still unique in the industry with its simple, reasonable cost, and highly versatile design. What other vehicle is as multi-purpose as the Wrangler or its predecessors (CJ and YJ)? In part, even the classic XJ was unique among the SUV world in that it too kept to simple basic principals.

Don’t misunderstand, the Liberty and Grand are fine vehicles, but they lack some of the original characteristics that made Jeep what it was. In some ways, Volkswagen was founded by similar ideals in that they produced a simple affordable and reliable car. As they grew, they expanded their line, but the symbol remained. Once VW tried to compete with others by building what everyone else produced, they flopped. Over the years, VW has come back, but they never attained the levels they had.

One of the other major appeals of the Wrangler is the relatively easy ability it has to be modified/customized. The design is versatile in that it can be an SUV, or a convertible, or a pickup truck. You sort of get 3 vehicles in one. Additionally, you can personalize it to be unique for your needs. How many other vehicles in the market can do that? There are so many aftermarket ‘goodies’ out there for the Wrangler, and how many owners out there spend hours just ‘drooling’ over the catalogs and thinking of new changes/upgrades they want to do to their Jeep? This is all part of the Jeep experience that deep down many of us really enjoy.

I realize Jeep engineers have to meet all kinds of safety rules in designing the TK, but hopefully the essence of what makes the Wrangler special does not disappear. The Wrangler is the symbol, and is really what we think of when we say ‘Jeep’. This is not a putdown on Jeep’s other products, but the soul of Jeep is still the multi-purpose Wrangler vehicle. What concerns me is that DC is missing this point. A Jeep is not just a 7 slot grill, or round headlights. Off-roading is a major factor in multi-purpose capability, but it is not the only factor of what makes a Jeep a Jeep. Jeep has been an affordable ‘General Purpose’ highly capable off-road vehicle that you can turn into what ever you want it to be. Who else actually makes anything close?

The direction DC wants to push Jeep seems to be away from this. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and hope that the TK is as good as or better than its predecessors. Time will tell. For now, like many things in life, if you have something you like today, enjoy it, because tomorrow, it might be gone.



Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: "sky is falling"
so what brand will all you guys start buying when Jeep "dies" as all of you say is what is going to happen?

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jon
I don't hear much about the current Grand and previous Grand Cherokee. These are very capable vehicles and although they are larger than the XJ was they still seem to perform off-road very well. People seem to forget that the first Grand was supposed to replace the XJ but they choose to keep both because they were selling well.
Is it because the current Grand is bigger than the XJ that people thumb their noses at it??
Just wondering.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: H3
Don't kid yourselves about Hummer being able to replace Jeep. The H3, while it may look like an off-road vehicle, it will still be built on a GM car/truck platform (probably the trail blazer) just like the H2 is just a Tahoe with a cool looking shell. If Hummer is successful, it would just prove Deiter's point that people don't care about what's underneath. I hope Jeep relizes, that this isn't true, while that may be OK for the Liberty and Grand, it will NOT hold true for the Wrangler. As ScramblerKen said, the Wrangler is the Jeep Brand Image.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: LGK
For all the capability my $25K TJ has I barely get to use it off-road. There are so many restrictions and closed off lands now that it will soon be impossible to use. On the other hand the small ATV's have their own designated trails readily available. Why doesn't Jeep build a three quarter-size 2-seat CJ-5 style vehicle and take on the ATV off-road growth market?

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: scramblejim
How about a Jeep grill on a full size Dodge pickup? We havent see full size anything from Jeep in years, The hood, front fenders and headlights already match the profile of the Jeep, just ditch the crosshairs for a 7slot grill. And the Durango too. The tailights already look EXACTLY like they were stolen from the Liberty.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: LIBERTY04
scramblerken,

to your remark someone else might take up the nich of jeep... I think hummer is doing just that.
The new hummer 3 comming out is looking more like a jeep.. I seen a proto type on the road the other day.. Reminds me a tad of the liberty.. they have the roundish lights in the rear and a spare tire on the back..
Seems like Hummer realizes that jeep is turning away from off road stuff.. SO they are taking advantage of this... It's getting to were you say off road people are starting to think hummer not jeep anymore.. That is sad..

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: KJNV
Will this be the Dodge Avenger concept that's been kicking around for a few years?

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: COMMENT
little by little the jeep brand keeps getting squeezed out by dc, what's next? i'll never understand dc's intention w/jeep, DOES ANYONE KNOW????

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Stan
One thing to think about with the redesigned Wrangler is it is going to have to come with side impact airbags, per congressional mandate. Where do you attach them? Gone are days of round rollbars and possibly half doors and even more probable the loss of removable doors. Hey they will probably abandon the simple tub design as well.
In truth, I can't believe Jeep even bothered to release the unlimited, after they dragged their feet and kept releasing teaser press releases, except a lengthened wrangler only costs them a driveshaft and some sheet metal.
Chrysler seems bound and determined to keep pissing away the brand. Once jeep was an inovator now they seem so cautious and timid when it comes to new products. The liberty's a joke, sure you can cross the rubicon in one (per Jeep) but you are going to make it dragging that damn plastic bumper. They were so secretive with new grand cherokee it doesn't even look that different.
And what about developing a pickup? Trucks are out selling passenger cars, Nissan has jumped into the full size ring, Why not a jeep pickup? I realize they worry about competition with Dodge, but per that new SUV crossover they don't seem worried about reverse competition. Besides jeep trucks pioneered 4WD and IFS in trucks. And finally they dropped the ball not picking up a Brute version wrangler, it would have been unique to the truck market. Most consumers I've talked with about the unlimited can't even see a difference between it and the short wrangler at first glance.

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

I bet the Grand Cherokee is not a bad off-roader but I decided on the XJ because the XJ is more reliable and light weight.

Because if the lack of vehicles out there with SFA, you'll probably see more and more Grand Cherokees modified for extreme trails.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: jason d
Most people buying jeeps today don't care to crawl over rocks, they want to do simple to moderate offroad, especially after spent 20-30k. I would expect the TK to be much like the 1997 jeep icon concept. Remember the H1??? With full IFS its the best offroad vehicle around, minus its HUGE size. Expect the next wrangler to be king of the trail!!!!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jeep Honcho
It was only a matter before Dodge and Jeep started sharing platforms. Now that the door is opened to Dodge to use Jeep platforms, it's only a matter of time before we get a Jeep derivative on a Neon platform....


Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: skramblewishes
I think Scrambler Ken may be right. I do hope DC will package their vehicles with a Rubicon or some similar package so rock climbers, fly fisherman ( like myself ), back woods travelers can purchase a vehicle with all the capabilities that Jeep customers have come to expect.

I wrote this before but I think it merits repeating:

Cadillac was once THE premier auto made in the world. During the eighties GM decided to cut costs and go after short term sales gains. They put a Cadillac crest on a Cavalier and called it a Cimarron. They "platform shared" other lower models (Buick, Chevrolet and Oldsmobile ) and got a short term sales boost and cut costs.

So where's Cadillac twenty years later? Trying to reestablish themselves as the premier car division that they were twenty years ago.

It wasn't all that long ago that the Chrysler division looked eye to eye with Cadillac and Lincoln as a premier division. In the 70's they decided to sell lower end models ( Cordobas and LeBarons ). They did get a short term sales boost but paid a heavy price in the process.

So where is Chrysler thirty years later? Trying to move the division back up as a premier division ( Pacifica, 300C, etc. ). The problem is there are now a whole generation of consumers who do not see the Chrysler division as a premier auto marque any more.

So now look where Jeep is heading. Soft roaders and platform sharing to boost sales. Mark my words; twenty years from now Jeep will be trying to become what they presently are; the premier off road, rugged SUV division.

I would hope Jeep would grow their division with a full size, off road capable SUV ( such as the old Grand Wagoneer ), a rough and ready Wrangler replacement worthy of its CJ heritage and, please oh please, a Scrambler or SUT.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: ScramblerKen
To "sky is falling",

I'm not saying Jeep will disappear, it's just the highly off-road capable vehicles we have been use to seeing from Jeep are likley to disappear. My guess is Jeep will survive, but the distinction between Jeep's and other SUVs will become less and less.

My guess is if you truly want a 'rock crawler', you will end up building it your self or going to company's like AEV. The days of having a versatile low cost multi-purpose vehicle you can drive off the lot are probably numbered. There is always the possability some other manufacturer will take up the niche that Jeep seems to be abandoning.

On the other hand, a lot of what Jeep makes will be fine for most consumers. The issue I see is it will not matter if you buy a Jeep or a Dodge, since basically they will be the same.

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

If Jeep is smart, they'll keep around a version of the current Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and Unlimited forever. Off roaders who like a vehicle that can be built and modified will always have it.

It will be a sad day if the TK is as 'wussified' as most believe.

I doubt that Jeep will keep the current Wrangler around though. It looks like they want to kill the 4.0 I6 and SFA for good.

If that happens, I no longer have a reason to buy a new Jeep. Hopefully my XJ will run forever.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: KJNV
But what if they use the Dodge to go after the WRX-led "soft-road" rally market...That's a segment that no North American manufacturer has touched yet. The Avenger concept looks a lot like the Mitsubishi Pajero.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Rob
I have always personally though that the Liberty should have been a Dodge all along. It would have been a lot easier to swallow the fact that it has IFS if it were a Dodge. They should have come up with a better, more masculine replacement for the Cherokee, and not done the damage to the image. It is way to soft for a Jeep. I don't know any "Jeep Guy" out there who likes the Liberty. I'm with the other guy above, I am scared to death at what they are going to do with the Wrangler. DC take notice, mess with the Wrangler like you have done other things, the Jeep brand will die. Period.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: ScramblerKen
There is another disturbing article on auto.com:

http://www.freep.com/money/autonews/dcx29e_20040529.htm

Essentially, DC is reducing the number of engineering groups for Jeep/Dodge/Chrysler down to just 3.

Also, what is the Wrangler derivative going to be? If they are going to make a derivative from the new TK, will the TK be less off-road capable so the derivative can be made? I'm worried the TK is just going to be another car-like SUV with a Wrangler body.

I also like the comment on the autoweek article:

snip...
One Jeep dealer who declined to be named says giving Dodge a small SUV will cost Jeep stores sales. Says the dealer: "You are fighting with your own sister franchises up and down the block, and it cheapens the brand."
...end snip

Sounds like the Jeep dealers are not pleased either....



Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: LIBERTY04
DC keeps building different suv's... why not just keep jeep building the suv's??? why blend brands soo much??? If you want an suv you buy jeep.. you want a capable 4x4 you go jeep.... Have dodge build trucks. Chrysler build cars.. and Jeep be the king of off road... IT sounds too simple... but when you start blurring the brands... Jeep has just lost credibility.. Now you can buy a dodge that does everthing the jeep does!!! What's next?? a dodge version of the wrangler!!
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