|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 www.autonews.com - 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%