Flexibility is key for Jeep in 2015

The Jeep Renegade will arrive in Australia in 2015, filling a gap at the bottom of the company’s range. It will enter a difficult market, competing with models from Ford, Skoda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and Suzuki.

That was said by Jeep CEO Mike Manly at the recent Detroit Auto Show. For traditionalists, that’s good news, as the Wrangler is one of the few truly iconic vehicles and possibly the most recognizable of all.

Changing it would cause problems that would affect the popularity of the Wrangler and Jeep as a whole. Let’s face it: Complaining about new models is a Jeep thing to do, but if the Wrangler were to stop being a “proper” wrangler (yes, TJ owners, the JK is a proper Wrangler!), The complaints would be deafening.

The rest of the Jeep range? Do you know how the new Cherokee differs from anything that has been around before? Expect more of that, because Manly said Jeep was going to be a lot more flexible with its shapes.

Pointing to Cherokee KJ, KK and KL as examples, he said Jeep had experimented with flowing lines, went boxy, and now with the KL, a completely different look, all to broaden its appeal.

He said the cars will remain recognizable as Jeeps, but the appearance will evolve. “You’ll start to see how flexible we can be,” he said.

Given how well jeeps have sold in the last year, you may be in for a winning formula, and you certainly have a bit more leeway to experiment.

Chrysler could be gearing up to offer just what you’re looking for: the Pentastar UpGrade (PUG), which will add a turbo to the Pentastar 3.6 and 3.2 engines. Not only are they putting in a turbo kit and calling it a day, but they are reworking the engines to add direct injection and variable valve timing as well.

The changes will bring higher production and lower fuel consumption to engines and help Chrysler meet its CAFE obligations.

The “new” 3.6 V6 may make its first appearance sooner rather than later, and is rumored to be installed in the 2016 Grand Cherokee, due out later this year.

We’ve been watching Jeep’s successful 2014 closely, and what a year it was!

A host of solid products, new and old, have propelled the company to its largest number of vehicles sold worldwide – 1,017,019 (692,348 of them were in the US). That beats the previous record year, 2013, by 39%.

Globally, the breakdown by vehicle was as follows: Grand Cherokee – 279,567, followed by Cherokee – 236,289, Wrangler – 234,579, Compass – 134,629 and Patriot – 122,387. The Renegade, although it officially went on sale in Europe in September and has reportedly done well, does not appear in the figures.

In Australia, Jeep has done particularly well, selling 30,408 vehicles (Chrysler sold 17,422 more). For Jeep, that’s an impressive 37% year-over-year increase, and the company even made it into the top ten for the first time in September when the Cherokee was launched. The Grand Cherokee made it into the top ten best-selling vehicles for the first time in May.

The Grand Cherokee remains a particularly good seller, with 16,582 sales, giving it 15.4% of the market in its size segment. This compares favorably with its supposedly more popular rivals in the size range: the Prado with 16,112 sales and 15% of the market, and the Kluger with 11,484 sales and 10.7% of the market.

For the sake of comparison, the Landcruiser sold 9,067 units and the Patrol 1,859.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *