AutoWeek's Editorial Director Blasts Jeep, October Jeep Sales

Date 2003/11/4 0:00:00 | Topic: Sales

The guy who publishes AutoWeek implores Jeep not to dilute the brand.

Keith Crane, the chairman of Crain Communications, Inc., publisher of "Automotive News" and "Automotive News Europe" as well as Editorial Director of "Automotive News" and "AutoWeek" recently wrote an editorial in AutoWeek magazine blasting the decision by DaimlerChrysler to make a "less-capable" Jeep.

Here's a snippet:

A few weeks ago, the COO of the Chrysler group sent out the first hint that the company will change the Jeep.

Not every Jeep has "to go down the Rubicon Trail," Wolfgang Bernhard said at a press event in Texas.

But Chrysler just doesn't get it.

Whether every Jeep goes off-road doesn't matter. Every Jeep that is sold to a consumer anywhere is expected to have certain traits and characteristics, including the ability to go anywhere the driver wants. Anything else will cheapen the brand and destroy much of the value that it has developed over the past 60 years.

Many products exceed the demands of the consumer: watches that are far more rugged or of a higher quality than the user ever will need, boats that outperform the expectations of the buyer.

The success of the Jeep brand has been exactly what Chrysler seems intent on destroying.

Unfortunately, it wouldn't be legal for us to reprint the entire article here, and the article is only available to subscribers to - sooooo, if you want to read the rest of Mr. Crane's blasting of DaimlerChrysler, you'll have to register (it's not free).

Jeep October Sales Up

Finally, there's some encouraging sales news out of the Jeep division - while Liberty sales where flat compared with October, 2002, both the Grand Cherokee and Wrangler posted significant increases over October of last year (8% and 60%, respectively). Here's the numbers:

       DaimlerChrysler Corporation U.S. Sales Summary Thru October 2003
                                Month Sales   DR %      Sales CYTD     DR %
              Model           Curr Yr  Pr Yr Change  Curr Yr   Pr Yr  Change
  Wrangler                     6,485   4,052   60%    58,163    54,984    6%
  Liberty                     14,815  14,792    0%   133,364   139,314   -4%
  Grand Cherokee              18,968  17,626    8%   163,718   178,801   -8%
    JEEP BRAND                40,268  36,470   10%   355,245   373,099   -5%


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