Wolf is looking forward to the next phase of releases that will get the brand over the 1 million mark. The long-awaited Gladiator pickup is on the way in the second quarter, and down the line, a three-row Grand Cherokee and Grand Wagoneer could join the lineup.
With so many more global markets and segments to tap into, Foster said, Jeep hasn’t reached its full potential. He thinks there’s room for another crossover below the Renegade, and maybe even a line of all-wheel-drive cars one day just in case consumers get tired of utility vehicles.
He just hopes the brand remains accessible with its pricing, especially on the Wrangler, which some dealers say is getting too expensive.
“There is a market for a lower-priced Jeep,” Foster said. “That’ll bring in a flood of buyers.”
Even the Wrangler does that job, as a halo for the brand and a symbol of versatility, said Fisher, the Consumer Reports tester.
“When you look at the Cherokee and some of the other Jeeps, and even for the Wrangler, it’s not about using it for off-roading,” he said. “It’s about the image of what Jeep brings. I think all of the products are benefiting from this Jeep image.”
IMG02Fisher noted that the Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade are essentially the same under the skin, but the 500X hasn’t come close to matching its Jeep counterpart in sales. Fisher compared Jeep’s appeal to that of Harley-Davidson. Harleys, he said, aren’t necessarily more reliable than other motorcycles or better-performing. Yet people are drawn by the Harley heritage and design.
“Maybe the Wrangler is the flagship that gives them the image, but is there more appeal to a Jeep Cherokee just because of the Jeep name? Absolutely. If the Jeep Cherokee was called the Chrysler Cherokee, would it have the same image or the appeal? I don’t think so.”