Liberty's Demographics

Date 2001/10/14 0:00:00 | Topic: Liberty

The Toledo Blade, the hometown newspaper for the Jeep Liberty's assembly plant in Toledo, Ohio, recently published an article about what demographics are buying the Liberty. The results are a bit surprising...

Average Jeep Liberty buyers are a tad older, are slightly more likely to be women, and make about $17,000 more annually than those who bought Liberty's long-lived predecessor, the Jeep Cherokee.

Still, the top reasons customers bought both Toledo-made compact sport-utility vehicles are the same: The SUVs are American-made, have four-wheel drive, and are off-road capable.

Such were the findings of initial customer surveys by DaimlerChrysler AG.

The average Liberty buyer makes $71,000 a year and is 41 years old, and half of the buyers are women, according to about 300 surveys returned from some of the first Liberty buyers in May and June.

Plus, fewer than 10 percent of Liberty buyers reported having quality problems, surveys found. The all-new Jeep came in first in overall satisfaction when compared with the Cherokee and seven competitors, including the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, and Ford Escape, said Michael Kane, director of Jeep global brand marketing.

"We're very pleased. It's almost as if we manufactured the results ourselves, but we didn't," he said. "We're actually quite surprised the [average] income was so high."

The Liberty is attracting "individualists" and what the automaker calls "yams," or young, affluent males, Mr. Kane said. The Liberty's design has proven to be important to buyers, he said.

"The Liberty buyer has been more concerned with styling," said Ralph Mahalak, Jr., sales manager at Monroe Dodge Chrysler Jeep. "The Cherokee buyer was just concerned with payment and capability."

About 5 percent of Cherokee buyers were off-road enthusiasts, 20 percent appreciated Jeep's off-road prowess, and the rest found it was an inexpensive way to get into the Toledo-born brand, Mr. Kane said.

It's too early to tell what the long-term demographics for the Liberty will be, especially because incentives are not being offered, said Dave Doster, Jeep sales manager for Sylvania Township's Yark Automotive Group.

Payments drive a lot of auto sales, and low lease payments, for example, helped the Cherokee and attracted younger buyers, Mr. Doster said.

Demographics are likely to look different for the Liberty next year, Jeep's Mr. Kane said. Toledo Jeep Assembly will begin making the cheaper 4-cylinder Liberty Sport models next month.


Be sure to check out the entire article for more info...

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