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Grand Cherokee2005 Grand Cherokee - More Civilized?
Posted by mike on 2004/7/30 0:00:00 (1019) reads

Marketing to focus less on off-road prowness

The Detroit News is running an article about the 2005 Grand Cherokee and how DaimlerChrysler is marketing the vehicle by focusing more on the "softer side". Here's a snippet:

U.S. car buyers are about to meet the softer side of Jeep.

Marketing teams at the Chrysler Group are readying a new and perhaps risky sales pitch for the redesigned 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee sport utility vehicle that will make the famously rugged vehicle a little more civilized.

In new advertisements launching with the Grand Cherokee in October, DaimlerChrysler AG’s Chrysler Group is expected to position the SUV as a vehicle that is as comfortable on the streets of suburbia as it is on the trail.

The all-things-to-all-people approach says a lot about the new challenges Jeep faces in marketing the Grand Cherokee, the once-dominant SUV that has lost ground to new competitors in recent years.

It’s the latest piece of a long-range effort, launched with the arrival of Chrysler CEO Dieter Zetsche in 2000, to find a wider audience for the Jeep brand. Three new Jeep vehicles are expected within the next two to three years to bolster the plan.

“The challenge with Jeep is two-fold,” said George Murphy, senior vice president of global brand marketing for the Chrysler Group. “One, is to continue to reinforce its off-road heritage and the other is to help us position it on-road.”

Both messages are expected to show up in advertising for the 2005 Jeep Grand Cherokee. For instance, Jeep will boast that the new Grand Cherokee is “Trail Rated.” Last year, the new off-road-ready stamp replaced the long-held claim that every Jeep has mastered California’s brutal Rubicon Trail and riled Jeep purists. But ads will also highlight cushy features never before seen on Jeep vehicles — such as a rear-seat DVD player and a navigation system. A V-8 Hemi engine option will also be available.

Be sure to read the entire article - <shameless plug>there's a quote in there from some dude named "Michael" who runs a Jeep Enthusiast Web site</shameless plug>

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Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: JEFF YOWA
I too, am concerned about what Jeep will continue to bring to the off-road table.
I am on my 6th Jeep (1 CJ, 2 YJ's, and my third TJ) and I love the little creatures. But I can't stand the fact that they even produce a two wheel drive anything. It hurts the heritage. Hummer is slowly overtaking the market (even with the wimpy h2) and someday soon people will think of a hummer as they once thought of a jeep. And jeeps as they once thought of a model t.
Change is good, but just don't get away from the basics. Only time will tell if chrysler wil water down the Jeep line completely.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: JEEPSELLER
As a Sales Manager for one of the largest Jeep dealers in Pennsylvania the new Grand Cherokee is both a blessing and a let down. The Grand Cherokee has been stale and remained pretty much unchanged over the past few years. It really needed an upgrade on many levels. I too hate to see the trailrated versions go wayside however, I have talked to many Jeep owners that wanted to buy something with the "new look" that other manufactures have offered. You have to admit, most of the Grand Cherokee owners have never driven off road. I'd like to see DCX have other vehicles that are trailrated and marketed towards the off road crowd, but to stay competitive things needed to change. I think DCX has done wonders with their Dodge and Chrysler line and they will do the same with Jeep. It just takes time. I've never heard a Grand Cherokee customer say anything about off roading. The true trail customer still pulls into our dealerships with their Wranglers or Cherokee Sports. If nothing else, I'd love to have the return of the Cherokee.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: WK
Douglas, I guess you are saying I am not a Jeep Purist? I currently own 2 Jeeps, a 1947 CJ2a and a 2004 WJ and my next purchase will be a Wrangler Rubicon. You can't get any mor Pure that a CJ2a! I have in the past owned a YJ, XJ, TJ, 2 ZJs and another WJ. The point of my post was that there always has been and always will be room in the Jeep brand for vehicles besides the classic Jeep (ie Wrangler). There is nothing wrong with expressing opinions on Jeep's direction and I too am concerned about some of the rumors abouth the TK, but right now they are just rumors. I am just sick of the "sky is falling" mentality every time Jeep comes out with a new vehicle or a new rumor surfaces. But the Liberty, I think, has proven to a very capable off-roader and I am sure the WK will be as well, IFS does not equal, can't go off-road. I do think Jeep needs to widen their focus a little to increase sales so that they can continue to build an affordable Wrangler.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: WTJ
Since rugged design simplicity (live axles, coil springs, body-on-
frame construction, etc.) no longer seems to be the major selling
point of 4X4s,—instead, favoring technological superiority and
overall ride quality—Jeep is faced with the need to make their
vehicles (excluding the SWB model) more advanced and complex
than ever before. I do not believe the new Grand Cherokee will
do much to further itself in this already tough market sector.
Before, the Grand Cherokee was a class leader because it
featured robust, trail-ready solid axles combined with a superior
four-wheel drive system. Now, excluding the Quadra-drive II
system, it is just another vanilla SUV—it is just simply not the
best. If a car company like Volkswagen can make a 4X4, which
combines great on-road comfort and off-road ability, then Jeep
surely has the abilities to do so, as well. I just struggle to think
why the new Grand Cherokee is not more like the new segment
leaders: the Volkswagen Touareg and Land Rover LR3
(Discovery 3).

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: comment
bravo for the most intelligient 2 responses so far...
my only concern is that dc is too slow in expanding the jeep line...

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: JeepnMD
Joesph wrote:

"These Germans are going to destroy the pride and image of a great American name. Kind of ironic isn't it?.....Jeep helps destroy germany in WWII......Germany helps destroy Jeep in 2004"

I used to wonder about this also. However I think the folks at Diamler showed that they don't have any residual animosity towards Jeep from WWII. They showed this by selling the Willys edition Wrangler which is painted and has graphics made to resemble a WWII era Jeep.

Diamler could quiet down a lot of the criticism if they would just build a Dakar off the Unlimited platform.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: MalcomXJ
"If ya can't handle change get outta the kitchen, LOL"

Someone who would mangle their aphorism to this extent probably isn't the voice of reason. Pretty vehicles that "look tough" will alienate Jeep lifers and erode the main marketing point of the brand. Liberty would just be a Dodge without the Jeep branding (and it doesn't look all that tough). I hope DCX has the sense to keep it's HALO vehicles.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: WK
THANK YOU RubiconTrail.net! Its good to see someone with a well researched and intelligent response on here instead of just the constant flaming of DC. Jeep has been in more than just the hardcore off-roading market for a long time. As an example, just look at the original Jeepster (only came in 2wd), the Commando of the 60s, and the fact that Cherokee limiteds came with Eagle GT performace car tires. A Jeep does not have to be Rubicon ready to be a Jeep, that concept didn't even come around until the 90s. Jeep has a very capble lineup right now and expanding that lineup will not hurt. As long as the true heritage is preserved with vehichles like the Wrangler Rubicon (which is the most capable factory off-road vehicle Jeep has built since the Original MB & early CJs) Jeep's reputation will be fine!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: RUBICONTRAIL.NET
Ironically enough, Jeep's heritage (through Overland) traces back to on-road ultra-luxury vehicles even before the creation of the famed Willys MB.

Jeep's history dates back to John North Willys purchase of the Overland Automotive Division from Standard Wheel Company in 1908. This company did not produce off-road vehicles. Instead it produced vehicles such as this 1927 Whippet.

www.detnews.com/joyrides/2000/orphanwillys/27whippetmitchell.jpg

It was not until after the Great Depression ebbed people's extravagent buying habits and not until WWII that Jeep began building off-road vehicles.

This is not to say that Jeep should go to building only on-road vehicles... but to show that building something more luxurious might be a step back towards Jeeps heritage, rather than further away.

Jeep has had a history of building vehicles that may be more luxury than brawn. The Jeep Grand Wagoneer of the 80's and early 90's is a great example. Rarely will you see one of these vehicles off-road but that does not mean that they can't hold their own. Without technological advances Jeep will go the way of Oldsmobile. Yet this should definitely be done with regard towards Jeep's heritage.

Change will occur, technology will advance, and those resistant to change are always encouraged to preserve history by restoring a vintage Jeep.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Jason
It's plain and simple, People want soft and smooth Suv's. I have only seen 1 grandcherokee and 0 liberty's on the trail. If you want a trail machine buy a wrangler. The grandcherokee is holding 4% of the suv market and the 4 runner and trailblazer is holding 35% of the suv market.
The new softer jeeps are needed to keep the brand alive..plain and simple.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Roy
here is my comment:
I am a 60 y/o long time Jeep fan. I've owned a '69 Cherokee, '88XJ and now a '99 Grand with the Quadradrive. My 3 sons own a '77 CJ, '97 XJ and '97TJ. So we kinda cover the water front. I don't admit to the rock crawling experience of off-roaders with highly modified TJs. But I've trailed with guys with mildly modified TJs and, frankly, my WJ puts them to shame. I end up pulling them out, watching them try a run over and over to get through where to my WJ its a no-brainer (I have 1-size up tires and a 2" coil-spacer lift; that's it!). If I were to modify a bit more, my WJ would be a serious trail contender as many already are. Meanwhile, it's a great ride for everything else, including towing and road trips. Bashing the hardest trails doesn't grab me much any more. Give me the challenge of some serious trails that have always been trails, complete with beautiful scenery. Chances are, I can get there as good as you. And I didn't trailer my rig to the trailhead to do it. Lets wait to see the new Grand. It'll smoke anything we've got on the street, and with the option of the Quadradrive with full lockers (as I've heard will be available) it should have great potential on the trail. Keep in mind, Wranglers without mods are nothing to brag about on or off the trail!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: XJKEN
I'm going to hold judgement on the WK until I see some actual behind the wheel tests. Maybe a head to head to head comparo between the VW, Rover and the Grand would be enlighting. Undoubtedly the automotive magazines will
come up with something, mostly dribble but something.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Douglas
I sure miss the '86-'91 Grand Wagoneer Limiteds.....awww the good 'ol days!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: JeepSmeep
If ya can't handle change get outta the kitchen, LOL....You hardcore jeepers need to learn to accept that things change and jeep is going to change whether you like it or not, good or bad. The true offroad Jeep is the wrangler, so whats the big deal if DCX wants to market the grand/liberty to a wider group of people. Most people never will go offroad even most wrangler owners. They want the look! Thats It plain and simple. I see more dressed up wranglers that are only used on the streets and thats fine. But to you 5% who do go offroad great, but the facts are 95% dont and this much larger group is whats going to keep jeep in business..........

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Douglas
No; WK....I was just afraid you were a TREO fan...So many people around me are driving RAV4's and Honda
V's that us old Wrangler dawgs are feeling a little extinct...LOL Kudos...WK!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Douglas
Well I guess the beating of the drum by Jeep Purists has been to no avail....I guess "WK" doesn't believe that by posting our thoughts about the beloved JEEP; and furthermore just spouting mindless blog is not a welcome read here.....apparently his view discerns that the other ten of our posts (mine included) are to no value or lack intelligence/proper research to be taken in the context of this site for all JEEP fans and owners to read,laugh or promote further discussion of. Dunno...he sounds like one of the first customers of the new Jeep TREO...and is patiently waiting for the day he can put his deposit down on one...LOL>>>>> I'll keep my 'ol school JEEP Wrangler; Thank-You. oogatz!

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: whocares again
I own a Rubicon to go where it get's really tough, but I also take my GC Limited (optioned out) Off-Road as well, so put your money where your mouth is. I buy Jeeps for there Off-Road capability, durability, and Off-Road prowess, period. The last of the Grand's were taken on the Rubicon when they were introduced to prove their capability. When I drive a Jeep (or did) I like to know what it can do stock Off-Road, regardless if I choose to do it or not.
I do agree the Wrangler is the true icon for Jeep. But watch out, it too will change soon enough, wait and see.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: XJKEN
I like most Jeep enthusiast am concerned in the direction that DC is taking with the Jeep brand. My biggest problem is that I do not see a clear direction, they seem to be all over the place. As for the fact that they will be focusing on the "softer side" when the WK is introduced is really nothing new. If you look back
over the long history of Jeep, every new model that has been introduced since the original MB has been touted as being more refined and civilized than the one it replaced. The jump from the WJ to the WK is not that big a jump as the one from the Willy's wagons to the Wagoneers was back in the '60's. The people running Jeep really do have a tough job in todays market. Trying to keep the people that got the Jeep brand to this point happy and to bring in new
buyers they need to grow and survive in the future is tough. I do hope they realize that the one constant has to be the Wrangler and up to this point I think
they have done a pretty good job (Rubicon, Unlimited and Scrambler). They need a Dakar and the Rescue to go with the new WK and the coming Grand Wagoneer or what ever they call it. I am not sold on the need for an entry Compass type vehicle.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Joseph
"Dieter’s comment in a past article that says people don’t care what is under the hood or underneath the body" - It's idiots like this Dieter that explain why Chrysler keeps going down down down and GM keeps going up. These Germans are going to destroy the pride and image of a great American name. Kind of ironic isn't it?.....Jeep helps destroy germany in WWII......Germany helps destroy Jeep in 2004

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: TJmudder
Good to see that MIKE'S site is being read by more than us JEEP freaks, hope DC reads it. I don't understand why Jeepers are so concerned with DC trying to deversify and compete on a broader basis. My wife and I both drive Wranglers and always will, but if DC wants to start making luxo-barges with the JEEP logo, so what? I do some serious trail riding and NEVER have seen a Grand or Libby on a difficult trail, only at JEEP jamboree's. People don't buy a Grand Cherokee to tackle the rubicon trail, they buy them for the same reasons as any other street friendly suv brand. It's just a matter of marketing and styling. If I were on the market for a nice looking luxo-barge, I'd order the one with the HEMI, Durangos are just tooo ugly. I like the direction DC is taking with the Wrangler, like the Rubicon and Unimited, and hope they add a Wrangler truck and diesel model.

The Wrangler is completely unique and has no competition as off-road King, and the whole world knows this. (H2's are a joke, I've seen em off road. LOL) As long as DC doesn't screw up JEEP Wrangler, and Wrangler derivatives, I really don't give a shit what other models they slap the JEEP logo on.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: skramblewishes
Like Scrambler Ken I too wonder just where DCX is taking the Jeep brand. When you are number three in sales ( like DCX is right now in the states ) you have to find and hit the niche markets. Chrysler thrived off of that for years ( mid size Dakota, introducing the mini van, bringing back the convertable, mid size Durango, etc. )

Jeep is the ultimate niche marque. People purchase Jeeps because Jeep is the go anywhere do anything feedom vehicle. If DCX is going to turn Jeep products 'soft' and try and compete directly with GM, Ford and the Japanese they may find themselves facing a sales disaster.

I am hoping that DCX will continue to use the Wrangler as a "halo" product for Jeep just as the Viper is to Dodge and the Crossfire is to Chrysler. They could use the Wrangler ( and any possible derivitives ) to hold on to their roots and remind customers why Jeeps are unique in the SUV market place.


Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: whocares
I own 3 Jeeps now which I consider substantial off road 4x4's. I'll keep what I have since Jeep want's to compromise what I (a multi-Jeep owner) regard as important in a Jeep to those who don't own one or never did want in a Jeep. You may get some new intrest but it's buyers like me who helped you get there. The Jeep will hold no significance to me when it's competition is lesser off road 4x4's. We'll see...............

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: ScramblerKen
I guess Mike’s web site is getting the recognition it deserves. Congrats to Mike for being quoted in the article.

I’m still wondering what directions DCX has for Jeep. It seems like they want both Off-Road and soft cushy luxury at the same time. Not sure you can do that in a single vehicle. If the plan is to expand Jeep to be present in both directions that too is interesting but will that really work?

The Unlimited and the Rubicon Unlimited hint towards maintaining off-road heritage to the Jeep. The Liberty, 2005 Grand with IFS, and the Commander are geared toward the softies. The Compass sounds more like a softie, but at least they still hint about either a Dakar or more likely the Rescue with the comment about a boxed in Wrangler as a future vehicle.

I’m still concerned what the next generation Wrangler will turn out to be. Also, what if they end up making the Rescue just a dressed up over-sized Wrangler that is soft underneath? Prototypes can be very deceiving. As the Jeep line expands to more ‘softie’, what will they use for components in the Wrangler? In the past, the Wrangler shared many components with the XJ Cherokee. This kept costs down for the Wrangler. If Jeep builds more ‘softies’, can they still afford to build off-road Wranglers?

Jeep keeps touting the, “Trail Rated” badge, but what exactly does that mean? What actual tests does a vehicle have to perform to be trail rated? In the past, Jeeps had to be able to cross the Rubicon trail, and that meant something.

Another concern I have is with Dieter’s comment in a past article that says people don’t care what is under the hood or underneath the body; they are more interested in looks. In part, Dieter is correct, except when it comes to the Jeep Wrangler crowd. Hopefully, this will not get lost in the expansion of Jeep. I suspect the next few years for Jeep will be very interesting.

Poster Thread
Anonymous
Posted: 1969/12/31 19:00  Updated: 1969/12/31 19:00
 Originally posted by: Douglas
So DCX wants the world to know the "Softer Side" of JEEP...uh-huh. Sort of like that old marketing program that SEARS had a few years back.."Come See the Softer Side of Sears"...And if I'm correct to say..Walmart is #1..yep,OK. Good one DCX...Now all those RAV4 and Honda
V owners will have more company at the mall parking lot. Now that the new M-Series Mercedes..OOPS ..err- I mean Jeep Grand Cherokee is a comin...Mom has a '93 Grand Limited...over 178k on er..yep that 5.2 still hums...She loves it..Now That was the Best Modern Jeep...(Concept 1) What a hit..so much so..it took GM 9 years to build a decent competitor..and what a carbon copy that TRAILERBLAZER is..right down to that Straight 6...LOL Just another nail in the coffin of Jeep..that new Ungrand Cherokee...save soft for the pillows DCX!
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