Interview with DaimlerChrysler VP Regarding the Compass

Date 2006/1/17 2:00:00 | Topic: Compass

The Rockford Register Star is running an interview with Joe Eberhardt, DaimlerChrysler executive vice president of global sales and marketing. In it, he talks about the target market of the Compass:

I think thereís a lot of people out there who like the Jeepness and feeling of freedom and adventure and authenticity, but they werenít really willing to trade off and compromise in the areas that come with extreme off-road capabilities.

Take a Wrangler. You need to put weight in the axle, you need a covered underbody, you need a ground clearance, you need different wheels and tires. Thereís a lot of things needed to make this vehicle as off-road-capable as it is. Which at the same time compromises some other areas like comfort, fuel economy. Thereís just tradeoffs you have to make.

There are customers we believe who want the Jeepness but are not willing to compromise those tradeoffs, and we believe Compass is the vehicle for them. It still has the overall brand aura and feel of a Jeep, but it does add the on-road aerodynamics, the comfort, the fuel economy, making it really a more urban, city type of vehicle.

It has a different style. It's not as, for a lack of a better term, as boxy as a traditional Jeep.

With that we decided we wanted to enter the compact SUV segment. We took a couple of different vehicle design concepts to a clinic. The Compass really scored very highly with a different target audience. It was much more female, younger to a certain extent, much more style-oriented. Thatís why we feel it will be a success. Whatís cool about it is a Jeep in a new, call it urban, package.

In addition, it has the new drive train, fuel economy, the practicality, functionality. Thereís a lot of new features built into it, from the detachable flashlight to retractable speakers in the hatch. They are not big, high-tech innovations, but they are everyday, practical, customer-centric innovations that will make it a very usable, different type of vehicle.

The interview continues with some interesting Q&As regarding the Compass's role in the Jeep brand, what women and urban professionals will like about the Compass, and other topics.

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