It wasn’t that long ago that top Chrysler executives spoke of the minivan as the corporate crown jewel. There were nothing but glowing terms for a family of vehicles that accounted for more than 8 million sales and net an average $6,000 in profit per unit.
But times change.
Many of those executives have left the company, the minivan has lost some of its luster, and the new top executive of the Chrysler Group has a decidedly different eye when it comes to jewelry.
Jeep is the gem that dazzles President and CEO Dieter Zetsche. And he’s convinced there are far more cuts from the stone possible. “We’re convinced that Jeep has considerably more potential than we are bringing to fruition to date.”
To that end, the car maker has aggressive expansion plans for the brand for the ’04-’07 model years including two entry level products and a high-end Grand Cherokee variant.
Much of the focus is on snagging young buyers, based on research showing kids, even before they are old enough to drive, recognize the brand name and covet one.
The idea is to offer affordable Jeeps (under $14,000), both for the urban driver who just wants to get out of the subdivision following a storm and the true Jeeper who wants to get off-road as soon as affordably possible.
Once snagged, the idea is to ensure there are enough products, including an upscale variant off the Grand Cherokee platform, to keep these customers through the various stages of their lives.
The article goes into further detail about Chrysler's possible plans to expand the Jeep lineup with the Compass and/or Willys2 concept cars. Be sure to check out the entire article.