Most people like the car they drive. It could be for any reason, like high performance, a quiet ride, great fuel economy, or just plain old reliable value for their vehicle dollars. Automakers advertise their vehicles as points of personal pride with campaigns like “Swagger Wagon” and “Yeah, that’s a Buick.”
Then there are brands that inspire passion. Get a big cup of coffee before asking a Porsche owner why they love the brand, because you’ll need it. Same with Corvette drivers and especially those who drive less popular but quirky vehicles like Citroens or Fiats.
If you’ve spent time among enthusiasts, you’ll know that a lot of drivers appreciate their vehicles and enjoy showing them off, but no one is prouder than a Jeep owner. When someone buys a Jeep, they become part of a passionate community with unspoken bonds of friendship. They also enter a unique culture with hierarchies, secret waves and rubber ducks.
To learn more about Jeep culture and community, Extreme Terrain off-road outfitters surveyed 398 Jeep owners about Jeep traditions, participation in Jeep events, and personal Jeep preferences. They also surveyed 755 non-Jeep owners about how they view Jeep culture and community. What follows is what they discovered.
The First Rule of the Jeep Wave Is Always Return the Jeep Wave
One example of the strong community within Jeep culture is the Jeep Wave: a secret signal Jeepers give each other as a sign of camaraderie. With multiple signals and a hierarchy of who waves first, the Jeep Wave is far more than a simple “What’s up?”
When you see another Jeep, it’s polite to wave and there are multiple waving options to choose from. You can do a full five-finger wave, a two-fingered peace sign wave, or a two-fingered wave while keeping your hand on the steering wheel. If you’re driving a doorless Jeep, you can even stick your bare foot out the door (preferably when your vehicle is at a complete stop).
If you want to learn more about the Jeep wave, you can talk to other Jeepers at Jeep meetups, like Go Topless Day. Events like this are attended by about one-quarter of owners. You also attend Jeep Jamboree adventure drives and events to learn about Jeep modifications, including how to up your Wrangler’s street cred.
The most classic of the Jeep models, CJs and Wranglers are revered above all other Jeeps. But if you want to up your Jeep Cred, you’ll need to add some mods. The most popular mod is a wheel and tire upgrade for serious off-roading. You can also add LED lights, a lift kit, or roof racks to trick out your Wrangler. Gen Z was especially keen on LED lights and was 43% more likely than millennials to want to add them to their Jeep.
Everyone Wants to be a Jeep Guy
The strength of the Jeep community is extraordinary. Most vehicle owners keep to themselves behind their glass windshields and steering wheels. But Jeep owners have a deep sense of camaraderie and a unique culture — no other vehicle brand has a community like it. How do non-Jeep owners feel on the outside of this culture club?
According to the folks at Extreme Terrain, close to 1 in 7 non-Jeep owners felt envious of Jeep culture and community, and 29% wanted to adopt similar customs and traditions within their own vehicle brand communities. Even fancy Tesla owners (47%) wanted Jeep-like culture and started Tesla meetups to try to build a similar community. Unfortunately, it hasn’t worked, as Tesla owners led the pack of vehicle brand communities wanting to create a Jeep-like culture.
The most Jeep-culture-envious vehicle owners were the following:
- Tesla (47%)
- Chevrolet (39%)
- Ford (30%)
- Toyota (27%)
- Honda (27%)
Non-Jeep owners were so eager for Jeep’s sense of community that 36% would consider a Jeep Wrangler for their next vehicle. Drawn to their off-road capabilities (54%), resale value and durability (46%), and iconic design (45%), drivers were ready to jump into a Jeep and start waving at every Jeep owner they could find. Even 1 in 4 EV-inclined Tesla owners would consider a Wrangler, and even more might be tempted by the upcoming EV Wrangler.
The vehicle owners most interested in considering a Jeep Wrangler for their next vehicle were:
- Chevrolet (53%)
- Ford (43%)
- Toyota (35%)
- Honda (28%)
- Tesla (23%)
It seems no matter how big your truck is or how much gas your EV saves, it’s still not enough to keep up with the allure of the Jeep brand and the community it has spawned.