I was at the Detroit Auto Show in 2005 with clients from Jaguar/Land Rover, and they were poking fun at the then-new, Jeep Commander, making fun of how “boxy” it was. I know, Land Rover guys making fun of a “boxy” Jeep?!
The Land Rover guys were also making fun of Jeep and the new Trail Rated line that had been introduced in 2004. The Trail Rated scheme, I call it, had been established to allow Chrysler to utilize their car platforms for new Jeep models. This scheme gave birth to the Dodge Neon based Compass and Patriot.
I argued at that time with the Land Rover guys that at least Jeep maintained a “real off-roader” with the Wrangler!
I get it, Jeep, like any automaker is in the business of selling as many units as they can, and expanding the brand with these “fake Jeeps” helped to catapult the brand’s sales numbers. To Jeep’s credit, they have maintained the Wrangler line, even stepping up with the offering of the Rubicon line.
However, I cannot help but to cringe, and be concerned for the long-term identity of the Jeep brand with the announcement of the High Altitude trim being available on the 2020 Wrangler and Gladiator models!
The High Altitude trim has been available on all other Jeep models for some time, beginning with the new non-Trail Rated “fake Jeeps”, however, does Jeep REALLY have to water down the Wrangler/Gladiator line?!
The new 2020 Wrangler and Gladiator High Altitude models were introduced this week at the Chicago Auto Show, and ironically, Jeep seems to be going in the direction of Land Rover, with “luxury off-roaders”!
Again, I get it, it’s about selling units, however, I cannot help but think that this is another step towards the end of the Jeep brand as we have known it!
What’s next, an all-electric, Bro-Rated Jeep?!