Monday, June 15, 2015

Jeep Luxury Model to Compete with Range Rover

Perhaps it’s a sign of the times. Despite its humble roots as a basic form of transportation for the U.S. Army during World War II, Jeep is developing a luxury model to compete with Range Rover and other luxury SUVs, such as Mercedes and Lexus.

The luxe model, which may be unveiled during the 2018 model year, could cost as much as the Range Rover, which has a sticker price of $100,000. Currently, the most expense Jeep, the Grand Cherokee, has a base price of about $30,000 but can sell for twice that when loaded up with options.

Fiat Chrysler, the maker of Jeeps, has enjoyed outstanding success with the brand. Sales of its Jeeps have more than quadrupled worldwide since 2009. But Sergio Marchionne, chief executive officer of Fiat Chrysler, said during the opening of a new dealership in Canada in May 2015 that Jeep should tap the luxury SUV market.

Marchionne has refused to release any details of what the new luxury Jeep will look like or what kinds of features it will offer. The new model hasn’t been included in Jeep’s five-year plan either, although Marchionne told a Bloomberg reporter that it wasn’t in the plan because the company didn’t want to let competitors know what it had in mind.

Jeep is arguably the first and oldest brand of SUV in the U.S. and in the world. From its bare-bones Army Jeeps of World War II and its Spartan Willy’s Jeeps of the 1940s and 1950s, it gradually began to unleash more comfortable, family-style four-wheelers in the 1960s, beginning with the Jeep Wagoneer. That trend has continued today with increasingly comfortable, user-friendly Jeeps, such as the Grand Cherokee. The trend appears ready to accelerate even more by 2018.


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