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Old 02-09-2015, 04:14 PM
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Competition Is Good -or- Look Out, Jeep

From autoextremist.com:

JEEP ENJOYS ITS MOMENT IN THE SUN – FOR NOW.
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 9, 2015 AT 03:35PM
By Peter M. De Lorenzo

Detroit. As we’ve witnessed Fiat’s rescue from the brink of insolvency - thanks to the True Believers at Chrysler – and watched as sales of Jeeps and Dodge Ram trucks (they will always be Dodge Ram trucks) have propelled the newly named “FCA” enterprise to heights never before imagined by the perpetually and historically downtrodden Italian car company, one question is being asked more and more often in insider and “off the record” conversations throughout the industry.

And that is, how long will it last?

Suffice to say you can categorically dismiss any “official” comments coming out of FCA about the company’s upward trajectory because those views are warped by prosciutto-colored lenses, which doesn’t always jibe with the prevailing reality. Besides, to have troops in the trenches openly questioning The All Knowing and All Powerful Leader’s view of the automotive world would not only be sheer folly, it would be bordering on the treasonous.

But I can assure you that the monopoly that FCA has in the market with its Jeep brand – particularly with the Wrangler – is coming to an end, and sooner than most in this industry may think, I might add.

Let’s not forget that at one point not too long ago, GM’s Hummer brand had Jeep fighting for its very life in the market, before the gathering hordes of the politically correct mustered their pitchforks and demanded that Hummer be neutered or eradicated for egregious sins perpetrated against all mankind. And during the GM bankruptcy process, no one in the Obama administration would have been caught dead defending the existence of Hummer, so it was an easy decision to put the brand to sleep.

But imagine what would have happened if Hummer had been allowed to go dormant only for a while, with plans to resurrect it when GM was free of the restrictions that came with the bankruptcy, and the economy pulled out of its tailspin. The H2 had already been killed, the H3 had become the mainstream Hummer, and the H4 – the scintillating concept that took dead aim at the Wrangler and bristled with both more style and vision than the Jeep – was targeted to become a reality. The table was set for Hummer to be an even more formidable competitor for Jeep, and I daresay we would have been looking at a different landscape in the market today, one with an ultra-competitive Hummer brand armed with an array of products – including even smaller vehicles with advanced powertrains (H5 anyone?) - taking the fight right to Jeep at every turn.

That’s not the reality we live with today, however. Jeep remains unchallenged and unfettered by serious competition of any kind, and FCA is raking in cash by the bushel full from the profits. In fact they can’t even count it fast enough. But anyone who thinks that other manufacturers will continue to sit on the sidelines allowing Jeep to have a segment of the market all to itself while FCA blithely continues to suck up the profits is kidding themselves.

There are two manufacturers in the deep planning and development stages to build a direct competitor to the Wrangler as you read this. And a third has taken a program off of the shelf, dusted it off and is now planning to accelerate the development of its own Wrangler beater.

Now, some would argue that there’s not enough money in the segment to justify a new product program investment, but in this era of advanced vehicle architecture orchestration - and the efficiencies that have grown up surrounding the practice - that argument simply doesn’t wash. New thinking, new approaches and new vision – and real competition - are exactly what the segment needs.

Jeep has made the most of its singular opportunity in the market, but as we’ve seen over the decades, nothing in this business lasts forever, and things can change in an instant. “Hot” companies can grow stone cold through a loss of focus, or because the wrong executive got promoted, or from misguided product and boneheaded marketing strategies, or by just simply taking their eye off of the ball.

And no company is impervious to it either.

There’s nothing tougher for a manufacturer in this business to deal with than to have a vehicle segment all to itself - with all of the endless profits that go with it – while at the same time figuring out how to keep the troops motivated, focused and on the top of their game so that complacency doesn’t set in.

And there’s nothing more motivating for other manufacturers in this business than to see a competitor have a direct line to a mountain of profits, without anyone at least giving them a real run for their money.

Jeep is enjoying its moment – and the immense profitability that goes with it – in the sun.

But the competitive storm clouds are brewing, and some major turbulence is about to disrupt the friendly confines out in Auburn Hills.

And that’s the High-Octane Truth for this week.


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Old 02-09-2015, 04:28 PM   #2
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So basically some writer is stating things that are common sense to anybody that has half a peanut in their cranial turrets.

Quote:
but as we’ve seen over the decades, nothing in this business lasts forever, and things can change in an instant..
No shit? *Yawn*

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Old 02-09-2015, 05:58 PM   #3
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What good ol' Pete D' Lorenzo doesn't talk about is how tough it is to maintain a single vehicle segment when the segment doesn't even have a name. This is why Wrangler's get lumped into the SUV categores like the likes of Muranos and RX's. In spite of that the Wrangler has been able to survive for almost 75 years. The competition existed in the past they just could't cut the mustard. The pseudo-segment has been available for a long but the competition knew they couldn't compete when total annual sales were 60-70K vehicles per year. But now that the sales will surpass 200K and growing rapidly, all they need to do is capture 20% to justify initial production. They should be targeting the new Defender because the Wrangler is already on firm ground.

By all means bring on the competition. It will validate the Wrangler, keep it's price in check , force Jeep to improve it and most importantly it will provide justification for keeping it close to its roots (worth the CAFE penalty). Options are always good.
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Old 02-09-2015, 06:09 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by n3tfury View Post
So basically some writer is stating things that are common sense to anybody that has half a peanut in their cranial turrets.

No shit? *Yawn*
X2

Maybe this guy should write wine reviews. I think he is more impressed with his own vernacular, than article content.

I read a better article that did a good job of explaining GMs concept vehicle, and the thoughts behind it. I can't remember where the article came from, or I'd post the link.
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Old 02-09-2015, 06:23 PM   #5
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That entire article was a trip to nowhere. For example, just who are the three manufacturers that will be coming out with challenges to the Jeep and what do they look like? What will be different about them? The same? Will they really be direct challengers to a Jeep, or some sort of soft-roader masquerading in a similar box-y design but with none of the advantages of a Jeep?

I'm all for competition, by the way. I love the old Defenders and FJ40's. If Toyota came out with a real FJ40 re-boot, I would seriously consider switching back to Toyota. I've seen the so-called Hummer concept and the Ford Bronco concept that comes up on this site periodically as if it is news but neither one excites me at all...nor do they appear to be direct competition - at least to a Wrangler.
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Old 02-09-2015, 06:35 PM   #6
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Old 02-09-2015, 06:36 PM   #7
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Old 02-09-2015, 06:38 PM   #8
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Old 02-09-2015, 06:38 PM   #9
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Yeah...no thanks.
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Old 02-09-2015, 06:39 PM   #10
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Old 02-09-2015, 06:43 PM   #11
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yeah...no thanks.
+1
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Old 02-09-2015, 06:44 PM   #12
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If, and I say if, a new Bronco comes out it will be similar to a 2 door explorer in my opinion. Now an SVT Raptor version would be enticing but not with the ecoboost they have planned for the 2016 model. If I had the spare cash to get something like that, I would want the dino fuel hunger of a big, blown V8 under the hood not a boosted 6.
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Old 02-09-2015, 07:34 PM   #13
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Hopefully some "competition" would lead to improved stock headlights.
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Old 02-09-2015, 07:37 PM   #14
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Wranglers have a couple of things going for them. First, brand loyalty that's been cultivated since the 1940's. Second, they have a deep aftermarket that would take years, if not decades, to evolve for a competitor. Plus, some of the designs just aren't as modular as the wrangler making it even harder for mom & pop manufacturers to get in on the action.

Plus the article has a splashy headline but nothing to back it up except pointing out that fading brands are the way of things. Thanks for the in depth analysis We already know some PC bean counters can kill the Wrangler at anytime by turning it into your typical crossover.
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Old 02-09-2015, 09:15 PM   #15
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I feel like I should write a thank you to the government for forcing GM to quit making the Hummer so my Wrangler would survive.
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Old 02-09-2015, 09:52 PM   #16
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Jeep got competition...from Nissan Xterra and Toyota FJ Cruiser.

Toyota pulled the plug this year, Nissan reportedly will be next. Meanwhile, Wrangler sales hit all-time high.

Competition? Bring it on!
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:14 PM   #17
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Wranglers are Jeeps plain and simple. If you want a Wrangler then you buy a Wrangler, if you want a truck then you buy an F150, Siverado, Ram, Tundra or whatever Nissan makes. But there is no substitute for the Wrangler, it is unique. My last 4 vehicles have been Jeeps: 2 Grand Cherokees, 1 TJ and now a JK. I love and trust Jeeps and never plan on owning anything else. So competition is only good if someone wants something different, but as for me Jeep is all I want. I only want competition to keep prices in check.
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Old 02-09-2015, 10:25 PM   #18
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I tend to agree with jterry69. Reality check for competitors; a tub on a frame = bolt together machine. Unibody = junk yard when rust comes to call. Just say'in.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:00 PM   #19
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Stopped reading after about the 13th spelling error. Pretty much garbage.
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:10 PM   #20
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Unless it's doors and top come off... it will never compete
Why all others fail, is they use too much logic... nothing about a Jeep makes sense, and that's what makes it so awesome
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Old 02-09-2015, 11:10 PM   #21
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