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Jeep Readies Concepts for Moab Trek

Sales rebound straining SUV brand’s production capacity.

by on Mar.27, 2012

picture credit: Jim McCraw

The Jeep Wrangler Apache, with its 6.2-liter Hemi, can power over almost any obstacle. All photos: Credit Jim McCraw.

Update: photo credits were inadvertently omitted; all photos: Jim McCraw.

The folks at Jeep are used to overcoming some tough obstacles – like the ones on Utah’s grueling Moab Trail, which serves as the site of the maker’s annual Easter Safari.

But even as Jeep officials rolled out an assortment of SUV concepts specifically designed for the Moab run, they acknowledged they’re facing some even tougher challenges in the months ahead.  But it’s not all bad news.

“We’re selling out of every model, every month,” said Jim Morrison, director of Jeep Brand marketing, during a Tuesday new conference.

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In fact, it’s a problem compounded by Jeep’s increasing popularity outside the U.S., Mike Manley, president of the Jeep brand, told reporters at corporate headquarters in Auburn Hills, Michigan.  Jeep is not only short of vehicles in the US but also in Australia, China and Europe where demand for its vehicles has been very strong.

“We’re still running ahead of the industry,” said Manley, who noted Jeep sales are up 37% worldwide this year.


Jeep Has Attitude – Make that “Altitude”

Name chosen from 100,000 entries.

by on Mar.27, 2012

The Jeep Compass Altitude, one of three new models to wear the new "Altitude" badge.

Jeep is adding a new array of blacked-out, limited-edition models to its line-up, dubbing them the “Altitude” edition, a name chosen from 100,000 entries in its “Name My Ride” contest.

There will be three models bearing the new altitude badge, versions of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Patriot and Compass SUVs.  The public got a first look at the “production intent concepts” – and an invitation to come up with a name – at the Houston Auto Show, last January.

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“The fact that well over 100,000 consumers entered our ‘Name My Ride’ contest reinforces the passion behind the Jeep brand, and its position as one of the most recognizable and popular brands in the world,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “These new Jeep Altitude editions will clearly have a broad appeal among consumers, especially those looking for something distinctive, edgy, and just plain cool.”


First Look: 2011 Jeep Compass

A Baby Grand Cherokee?

by on Dec.13, 2010

A Baby Grand Cherokee? The 2011 Jeep Compass.

It’s become conventional wisdom that Chrysler is sitting out the 2011 model-year, waiting until it can line up an assortment of new models with its Italian partner, Fiat.

While it’s true that some of the most significant launches, including all-new midsize and full-size sedans – many based on Fiat platforms – won’t debut until 2012 or ’13, it turns out the coming months will see a significant number of important updates from the various Chrysler brands.  That includes a revised Dodge Durango and the new Chrysler 200 (Click Here for a review.)

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Now add the redesigned 2011 Jeep Compass which, as they pictures illustrate, comes across as a Baby Grand Cherokee – the Jeep flagship which also went through a complete redesign for 2011.

While Jeep may be the benchmark for off-roadability it hasn’t done a great job of taking advantage of recent trends in the overlapping SUV and CUV markets.  Compass, in particular, failed to live up to initial expectations, whether due to the prior generation’s stodgy styling or less than exemplary manners, on and off-road.