Jeep has established itself in the field of off-road vehicle performance. But now it seeks to appeal to a broader market to cover young enthusiasts. He is determined to capture the needs of both young and old using the charisma of the new Wrangler.
However, by expanding the automaker’s target market, some Jeep purists are expressing their disagreement. They think the brand has become too soft than expected. “Everyone is concerned that Jeep will lose its name,” said Cefali, vice president of the Great Lakes Four-Wheel Drive Association and also a Jeep consumer. “I would hate to see that Jeep is not in the foreground of the off-roader.”
The Jeep Wrangler, the successor to the World War II Jeep, is a small sports utility vehicle that debuted in 1987. It was first updated in 1997. The next modification occurred in 2007 and the last one is for this model year. The new Jeep Wrangler is equipped with a number of new features including power windows and door locks. In the automaker’s 65-year history, this is the first time it has offered such features.
“It seems they are coming out with some things that are not really off-road capable,” added Cefali. Such sentiment is why it was crucial to talk to Jeep purists when the new Wrangler was just a sketch, said Jeff Bell, vice president of Jeep, a division of the Chrysler Group of DaimlerChrysler AG. He added that with competition from newer brands like the Hummer and rugged midsize SUVs like the Nissan Xterra, a modern Wrangler had to be built. But the looks and features wouldn’t offend four-wheel loyalists.
The Jeep Wrangler now comes with a flip-up windshield and removable and convertible tops. The exterior of the new Wrangler was designed with its heritage in mind, said Trevor Creed, Chrysler’s senior vice president of design. Kerry Ann Griffith, a Wrangler fanatic, is happy to learn that the electrical features aren’t stopping hardcore Jeep fans from removing the doors for summer adventures. “I don’t care what they do with the Jeep brand as long as they keep the traditional Wrangler,” said Griffith, who hits the trails at least once a month.
“Once people see the new Wrangler, they will be in awe of how it looks and what it can do,” said Tom LaSorda, Chrysler CEO.
Jeep sales rose 11.5 percent in 2005 and the automaker is eager to further ease sales with its new Compass, Liberty Diesel and seven-passenger Commander. “That’s a big thumbs up for you to be able to grow a Jeep,” said Bell.
The Jeep Compass is a crossover sport utility vehicle introduced for the 2007 model year at the 2006 North American International Auto Show. The vehicle uses a 172 horsepower 2.4-liter GEMA I4 gasoline engine for the market. Australian and European. Now that the vehicle is being modified to cater to a larger market, it comes with many promises and surprises. The automaker said the vehicle is designed to offer more fun, utility, freedom and capability, as well as the potential for exceptional fuel economy and interior flexibility without compromising affordability. However, the automaker considered significant modifications, proven parts such as EBC brake rotors will remain on the model.
The automaker expects the 2007 Jeep Compass to be designed in urban style to attract new buyers in the compact SUV segment that is projected to double to 568,000 units in 2010 and triple to 814,000 by 2016 from 297,000 units in 2004. The Jeep Compass is designed to appeal to single women and newlywed professionals between the ages of 20 and 40. The automaker is also targeting an upper-tier demographic with a median income of $ 60,000.
The new Jeep Compass features the signature Jeep brand seven-slot grille, round headlamps and trapezoidal wheel openings, and a new silhouette that features a steep-rake windshield. Side curtain airbags are standard and it is equipped with the new 172-horsepower 2.4-liter worldwide engine produced by Chrysler, Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co.
The Jeep Liberty Diesel, on the other hand, is a compact sport utility vehicle that features 2 new PowerTech engines, a 150 hp 2.4 L I4 and a 210 hp 3.7 L V6, a 2.8 L VM Motori turbodiesel engine that is available. in the CRD model. and disc brakes on all four wheels. In 2005, it took the title of best-selling compact sport utility vehicle.
The Jeep Commander, a 7-passenger midsize sport utility vehicle introduced in 2006, features 3 sunroofs, square sides, an upright windshield and very distinctive styling. It also offers a basic V6 engine with two optional V8s and a new Hemi. In Europe, the vehicle offers a Diesel engine developed by DaimlerChrysler with BlueTec technology.
According to Rebecca Lindland, an analyst at Global Insight Inc., Jeep needs to keep in touch with the changing tastes of buyers, particularly the younger generation. “A lot of the younger consumers on the market are premium-oriented,” Lindland said. “They look for premium brands, so a brand like Hummer is very attractive to them. What Jeep needs to do is become very attractive to that market. They are trying to expand the appeal of the brand as a whole without alienating the main buyers. They need to get younger buyers interested in Jeep. “