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Wranger keeps afloat struggling Jeep division

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Soaring Wrangler sales anchor slumping Jeep division
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David Aguilar | Associated Press | Link to Original Article @ DetNews


DETROIT -- Apparently, the Jeep Wrangler is rugged -- and capable of hauling an entire division out of the swamp.

The popular two- and four-door sport utility is coming off its best-ever May while buoying a slumping Jeep division beset by declining sales.

According to Autodata Corp., Jeep sold 12,332 Wranglers in May, up 114 percent compared to the same month last year. For the year, 54,699 Wranglers have been sold, an 85 percent increase compared to last year.

Strong Wrangler sales also helped fuel an overall 20 percent May sales increase for Jeep and a 12 percent year-to-date increase compared to last year.

"The Jeep Wrangler is the icon of the brand," said Chrysler Group spokesman Markus Mainka, adding that no incentives have been offered since the vehicle was redesigned and released last September from a retooled Ohio plant.

Based on Autodata figures, the Wrangler accounted for about 29 percent of Jeep's total May vehicle sales and 27 percent of the division's 2007 sales to date. Wrangler's strong showing last month also boosted the Chrysler Group division's market share of U.S. light vehicles from 2.4 percent to 2.7 percent last month.

For 2007, Jeep's market share increased from 2.6 percent to 3.0 percent.

Industry analyst Alex Rosten said redesigning the Wrangler was the key to Jeep's recent success.

"Now they can't make enough of them," said Rosten, an analyst for EdmundsObserver.com. "It's always better to expand existing product lines than create a new one."

But the Wrangler's success contrasts with slumping sales for other Jeep products.

According to Autodata, every other Jeep vehicle for which comparative statistics were available posted negative marks, led by the Liberty's 39 percent sales decline compared with May 2006, and its 28 percent year-to-date decline compared to last year.

Grand Cherokee sales fell 18 percent in May and 20 percent for the year to date, while Jeep Commander sales fell 9.7 percent in May and 10 percent so far this year.

According to Jeep officials, May sales for the Compass totaled 3,735, while 4,505 Patriots were sold. In 2007, Jeep has sold 18,812 Compass models and 10,336 Patriots. Both vehicles are in their first year of production.

"We develop each vehicle to appeal to a different kind of customer," said Chrysler spokesman Dan Bodene.

He said introducing the Compass and Patriot was an attempt to enter new markets by leveraging the company's recognizable nameplate. Bodene said Jeep will work harder to deliver the message about its core products and may offer new incentives.

Rosten said that might not be enough. He said the Grand Cherokee is "too old," while new models like the Compass and Patriot are "too redundant."

"Jeep has shot itself in the foot by releasing the Patriot and the Compass," he said. "By doing so, they have cannibalized other products, like the Liberty."

On Tuesday, Jeep canceled its scheduled announcement of a new advertising campaign developed by Cutwater, a San Francisco-based advertising agency. Chrysler officials said the postponement until later this week was due to a scheduling conflict and had nothing to do with recently released sales numbers.
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Man, I would love to have a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon. That name is a mouthful, say that as fast as you can. I know they stopped taking orders on 07s and pushed everyones orders over to 08s. They just can't build enough of them, it was funny though, yesterday I saw a 2-door Wrangler with an M-plate on it broken down on the side of the road just before the Chrysler Tech Center.

Jeep needs to stop flooding their own brand I agree. There are too many models it seems, I think they need to strip away the fat before its too late.

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I hope the Wrangler's success speaks loud and clear to Jeep's product planners. This is what people want out of Jeep! I'd also guess that the 4 door Wrangler is the reason for the Liberty's slump, which itself was a pale replacement for the Cherokee. The few Compass/Patriots being sold are probably being bought by first-time Jeep buyers, I can't see a repeat customer stepping down to those crappy twins. Edited by ocnblu
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Good, maybe the Compass will be canceled and the Liberty can become a true Cherokee while the Patriot becomes the Liberty.

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I hope the Wrangler's success speaks loud and clear to Jeep's product planners. This is what people want out of Jeep!

It should also speak loud and clear on how to properly redesign a vehicle. Jeep needs to at least ditch the Compass, if not both vehicles because they have 3 vehicles (the Liberty) competing for the same customers since they are all close in size. The new Liberty's cheap interior, and same powertrain despite it's weight can is not going to hllep it. If they fixed those problems it would do fine.

The GC is indeed, old, and one can only hope the MCE is enough to help it...most people like it less than the previous gen.

The Commander, while being a pure Jeep, is just too big, heavy, and not right for these times if downsizing.

On another note, I love the way the 4-door Wrangler looks.

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I don't mind the Patriot, my girlfriend was looking at one a while ago and they aren't too bad for a softroader. They did offer a midly decent offroad package for it, even though it would be limited to what it could. And then I read an article through an offroad magazine that put it to it pretty good and they were even surprised. Dump the Compass, I'm not a fan of the Liberty and maybe say so long to the Grand Cherokee. The Commander can do everything that the role the G/C plays, as far as passenger capacity and load hauling ability. They need to come out with the JT concept that thing is very very cool!!

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The Wrangler is an all-around good product...that's why it's selling. Looks great, nice interior, capability, options galore, priced right.

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I just paid off my 03 Grand Cherokee, and was considering trading it for a Patriot with the off road 4 wheel drive package, but I just can't justify doing it for a lot of reasons, but I think Ocn has hit the nail on the head, It's too hard to imagine myself in even a Liberty or Patriot, let alone a Compass...I think the next Grand Cherokee needs to have seating for seven and be more luxurious, the liberty needs to step up and be a real replacement for the Cherokee, and then the Patriot could be a good softroader for the company because it is decently useful and looks like a Jeep should. The Wrangler is just gorgeous...a pickup version would be awesome, and the Commander although very nice, just doesn't fit in well...it is redundant

Edited by PONTIAC06
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I just paid off my 03 Grand Cherokee, and was considering trading it for a Patriot with the off road 4 wheel drive package, but I just can't justify doing it for a lot of reasons, but I think Ocn has hit the nail on the head, It's too hard to imagine myself in even a Liberty or Patriot, let alone a Compass...I think the next Grand Cherokee needs to have seating for seven and be more luxurious, the liberty needs to step up and be a real replacement for the Cherokee, and then the Patriot could be a good softroader for the company because it is decently useful and looks like a Jeep should. The Wrangler is just gorgeous...a pickup version would be awesome, and the Commander although very nice, just doesn't fit in well...it is redundant

So trade it for a Wrangler Unlimited :AH-HA_wink:

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So trade it for a Wrangler Unlimited :AH-HA_wink:

I've thought of doing that with my '00 Grand Cherokee.. it's got almost 80k miles now, but still is in great shape. I think I'll keep for winter and off-road use and buy something else in the next year for a daily driver..

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I've thought of doing that with my '00 Grand Cherokee.. it's got almost 80k miles now, but still is in great shape. I think I'll keep for winter and off-road use and buy something else in the next year for a daily driver..

I always liked the 2ng gen Grand Cherokee, the interior is very nice and it looks great on the outside, plus it's an offroad machine if you want or need it to be. ^_^

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I just paid off my 03 Grand Cherokee, and was considering trading it for a Patriot with the off road 4 wheel drive package, but I just can't justify doing it for a lot of reasons, but I think Ocn has hit the nail on the head, It's too hard to imagine myself in even a Liberty or Patriot, let alone a Compass...I think the next Grand Cherokee needs to have seating for seven and be more luxurious, the liberty needs to step up and be a real replacement for the Cherokee, and then the Patriot could be a good softroader for the company because it is decently useful and looks like a Jeep should. The Wrangler is just gorgeous...a pickup version would be awesome, and the Commander although very nice, just doesn't fit in well...it is redundant

Why would you do a 7-seater Grand Cherokee when the Commander has seating for 7 already, that seems redundant in itself. Like I said before get rid of the crap, G/C, Liberty, and Compass. Leave the Wrangler, add the JT concept, leave the Patriot and the Commander.

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Ditto on the get rid of the crap thing, Niche marketing is where it is at. Mazda is good at building small cars that handle well, it needs to stick to that. Ford is good at building the Mustang and trucks, they need to focus on that. Jeep is good at building rugged 4wd off road vehicles, they need to stick to that.

Chris

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no, the opposite is true. people buy the patriot or compass as opposed to other brands. they would not buy a liberty otherwise. the nitro cannibalizes the liberty.

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So trade it for a Wrangler Unlimited :AH-HA_wink:

That would be nice, but alot of the same reasons for not buying a Patriot come into play

Why would you do a 7-seater Grand Cherokee when the Commander has seating for 7 already, that seems redundant in itself. Like I said before get rid of the crap, G/C, Liberty, and Compass. Leave the Wrangler, add the JT concept, leave the Patriot and the Commander.

My statement wasn't clear. I would rather the Commander be done away with then the Grand Cherokee. The Grand Cherokee is supposed to be a more luxurious Jeep, with all the offroad capabilities of other REAL Jeeps. I think if they really need a 7 seater then make the Grand Cherokee that vehicle as well as the luxurious offroader. The Commander is redundant because all it offers that the Grand Cherokee doesn't is seating for more than 5 people. Plus, the Grand Cherokee is more attractive and has WAY better name recognition.

I think the ideal Jeep lineup would be: Patriot (useful softroader), Wrangler (2-door, Unlimited, and JT), Liberty or Cherokee (compact offroader), Grand Cherokee (midsize offroader in 5 and 7 seat configurations).

It would also help if succeeding generations were improved instead of a step backwards like the 2008 Liberty, and to an extent the current Grand Cherokee.

Edited by PONTIAC06
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Keep Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, and Patriot(get rid of the turd World engines). Redo the Liberty to be like the old Cherokee and change its name. Get rid of the CompASS and Commander

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The Commander is going away, good riddance..it's ugly, and not big enough inside for a 7-seater..leave the 7-seaters to the Durango and Aspen.

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I always liked the 2ng gen Grand Cherokee, the interior is very nice and it looks great on the outside, plus it's an offroad machine if you want or need it to be. ^_^

I still prefer the interior and exterior design of the 2nd gen to the 3rd gen. I've sat in several 3rd gen GCs and think the design and materials of the 2nd are nicer..but I'm biased since I drive my '00 nearly every day..

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