TTAC - For the Love of Jeep

Discussion in 'OT Driven' started by TriShield, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    Fans of the brand understand– and expect– a Jeep to be a simple, uncluttered and dependable machine with a can-do spirit.

    [​IMG]

    By Brad Kozak
    July 24, 2007

    The love of all things Jeep ranks high in the automotive pantheon of passion. Porschephiles, ‘Vettistas, Hemiheads, Scuderia– they ain’t got nothin’ on Jeepaholia (Hi, my name is Brad and I love Jeeps.) Jeep devotees are a hardy breed, born to be wild. Other than domestic and commuter runs, they ALWAYS take the road untraveled; sneering at mud, chuckling at chuckholes, belly laughing at boulders. Hummers, Land Cruisers, 4Runners and other four wheel-drive pretenders to the throne are equally capable in certain situations, but they lack Jeep’s visceral appeal. So what is it about the brand that keeps the faithful faithful?

    It’s in the genes. When Willys and Ford produced the first Jeeps for the military in WWII, the go-anywhere, do-anything vehicles earned millions of soldiers’ unlimited respect. Some 600k Jeeps proved their worth in the harshest possible environments, from Malaysia’s steamiest jungles to Norway's frozen wastes. When American G.I.s returned stateside, more than a few had developed a taste for those tough little trucks with the Go-Devil engines. An iconic brand was born.

    Jeep purists will tell you that the only “real” Jeep is a CJ. Don’t believe them. Today’s Wrangler is every bit as trail-capable as the CJs of yore, and it sits at the brand’s heart. By the same token, pay no heed to those who suggest that anything other a Wrangler is not a “real” Jeep. While Jeep DNA says outdoors like an Armani suit says espresso bar, Jeeps have not always been trail-ready. In its storied past, Jeep has made pickups, sedans, proto-SUVs and station wagons. Ever since hostilities ceased, the company has stretched the brand’s original remit like Turkish taffy.

    In that not-so-great tradition, Jeep’s current brain trust have recently moved the brand away from its mud-spattered proletarian roots. Given that the public thinks Jeep = Off Road, it’s amazing that Jeep’s Detroit masters have felt so free to swim against a powerful, profitable and powerfully profitable current.

    In 1992, the suits torpedoed the Jeep Comanche, a utilitarian little pickup truck that kept the brand in touch with its working class pedigree. Meanwhile, they gave the bloated Commander the green light. While the Commander was probably a focus group knockout (what do you guys think about a Jeep with a third row?), the realization of this marketing “dream” was too slow and thirsty for urban work, too uncomfortable to comply with the Geneva Convention, and too ugly for Medusa.

    Jeep’s handlers also killed the original Cherokee and replaced it with the Liberty, answering a question no one asked. Saying that, the U.S. market responded positively; the Jeep Liberty hit the “cute ute” sweet spot, luring many women into the Jeep fold. (The four-door Wrangler is an attempt to woo back disenfranchised Cherokee fanboys back into the fold.)

    Jeep Inc. then launched the twin brand-engineered demon spawn of the Dodge Caliber. The Patriot and the Compass were a hit and miss affair (literally). While the Patriot reeks of Jeepness, the Compass does not. The Powers That Be also passed on the Rescue concept (a Wrangler-on-steroids over a RAM 2500 frame/drivetrain) and the Gladiator (the long-anticipated Comanche replacement).

    The Wrangler-based Gladiator was a slam dunk. The pickup would have reconnected Jeep with its working class base and given Chrysler/Jeep dealers a nice little truck to sell. Even better, the Gladiator would have seven-slotted into the underserved small pickup niche, where the outdated Ford Ranger reigns supreme.

    As a brand, even Jeep’s wins cause angst. The four-door Wrangler is a huge hit– which the company can’t produce quickly enough to meet demand. Things are so backed-up in Mopar-land that Jeep has stopped taking orders for ’07 Wranglers. and won’t begin accepting deposits for ’08s until summer’s end. Jeep seriously misjudged demand for both the four-door models and both flavors of the Rubicon. Oops.

    Surveying the brand’s recent track record, it’s clear Jeep still represents a “back to basics” meme which resonates deeply and uniquely with a large segment of the car buying populace. Fans of the brand understand– and expect– a Jeep to be a simple, uncluttered and dependable machine with a can-do spirit. Granted, the bar on “simple and uncluttered” has been raised a bit since Willys’ glory days, and dependable no longer means you can fix it yourself on the fly, but the Jeep brand still stands for something authentically American.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, Wranglers are to SUVs what minimalism is to art, and what Stickley is to furniture. To remain an iconic brand, Jeep must keep their eye on the ball, and that ball is clearly marked “Trail-Rated.” Jeep’s new owners should rid themselves of the Bloatmobile (Commander) and the Tonka-Toy (Compass) and build the brand around respectfully extending the real icon – the Jeep Wrangler. Now that, anyone can understand.

    http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=4323
     
  2. IslanderOffRoad

    IslanderOffRoad Do you even lift kit? OT Supporter

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  3. Ronin

    Ronin Guest

  4. CastorTroy

    CastorTroy New Member

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    I love those 4 door Jeeps, really thinking of buying one in the down the road. IMO it's something they've needed for a long time to be more practical instead of more niche like.
     
  5. Cheeks

    Cheeks New Member

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  6. bubbaZR2

    bubbaZR2 i poop too much, then i get tired... OT Supporter

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    Jeep FTW. Even if TTAC is completely worthless
     
  7. IslanderOffRoad

    IslanderOffRoad Do you even lift kit? OT Supporter

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    It is? Tri-Shield seems to have a hardon for it lately
     
  8. bubbaZR2

    bubbaZR2 i poop too much, then i get tired... OT Supporter

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    read their reviews. They consist of "that thing is very good at stuff." They sound like they were written by a middle school kid. They have no facts and just say stupid crap that anyone else could pull out of their ass.
     
  9. P7

    P7 You have something on your tongue, let me get that

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    Jeep people are pretty close knit. I didn't realize why people were waving at me for a few weeks after I got my WJ. I was driving through the soft sand at the beach the other day and there were 2 pickup trucks stuck and I pased by a guy in a wrangler going the other way and that's whan I realized what the wave was for.
     
  10. TriShield

    TriShield Super Moderator® Super Moderator

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    So film critics must cite a film's budget in their reviews? :rofl:

    TTAC, Dan Neil, and Jeremy Clarkson are among the best automotive reviews you will find on the Internet.

    They tell it like it is from a real-world perspective without sugar-coating the vehicle to death. They answer the fundamental question we have when we read reviews - is it good or bad? A vehicle could have the best "facts" on paper and it can still be complete garbage to own and drive.

    That's why I don't post many reviews from mainstream US publications. They rely on automakers for their advertising dollars and their reviews generally reflect it.
     
  11. Read more...

    Read more... SPQR

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    Why the fuck would they pass on the Gladiator when it would have stolen 100% of the market from the Ranger?
     
  12. IslanderOffRoad

    IslanderOffRoad Do you even lift kit? OT Supporter

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    The same reason the Comanche was axed.

    It would steal market share from the Dakota.

    Shit, the 94 Ram was originally an AMC design for a replacement J-Truck... look at the body lines, they match more with the old fullsize Jeep pickups than the Dodges.
     
  13. copeland

    copeland smarter than you

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    For jeep to be successful all they need to do is listen to the demands of there customers it seems....

    As soon as the TJ came out people wanted 4 doors - remember that one tan concept that was done, people when bat shit crazy to have one...but instead it took 7 years to get a LWB jeep, and finally ten years after the fact, a 4 door has appeared...
     
  14. Read more...

    Read more... SPQR

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    Hasn't the Dakota gotten significantly larger in the last 15 years?
     
  15. IslanderOffRoad

    IslanderOffRoad Do you even lift kit? OT Supporter

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    the dakota was always at the larger end of the compact/mid size truck segment, even when it first debuted.

    anyone remember the Ram 50 (aka Mitsubishi Mighty Max)....
     
  16. Checker-Stripe

    Checker-Stripe Survey says...

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  17. Gobi

    Gobi New Member

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    The part I don't get.. is why would they not have produced the Gladiator even if it would have taken from dakota sales. That's still money in their pocket regardless of which one they were selling. But it would have taken away from competitors sales as well. Come on.. the ranger is a piece of crap. The Gladiator (or hopefully the JT if they really do make it) would take away a ton of sales from Ford and Chevy both. Who wants a Ranger or an S-10 when you can have a freakin Jeep truck?
     
  18. RobsMob

    RobsMob Guest

    More Cherokee resurrection, less Compass
     
  19. SupraMan1990

    SupraMan1990 New Member

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    Too bad they fucked up yet again. With a 2WD base unlimited, thats real trail ready.
     

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