Thanks, ACX, and that is a good thought. Like you, I kind of agree, that if the axe does actually fall, the Compass will be the first to go.
It may seem narrow minded so to speak to keep the Jeep brand "small," but Jeep is an icon, and has a tremendous following. I am kind of too old for the license plate game while driving, but where I live, for every car I see, there are at least 2 pickups and 3 Jeeps. The Liberty is very popular as is the Grand Cherokee. The Commander, yeah I liked that one, too, but form didn't really meet function there. I agree, the mid-size segment is dwindling, so in Jeep's case, keep it simple should be the rule of thumb, small but capable Wrangler (in all of its versions), compact but versatile and agile Compass, and bling but still functional Grand Cherokee. There you have it, small, medium and large.
For me, the difficult part is, I love my Compass, but I can also see where the Jeep purists are coming from, because I am a bit of one myself. That was my original thought with this one, was that times do change, as do people and their needs in a vehicle. Truth is, I was familiar with the Compass concept, but I never really saw this one coming, kind of found myself blindsided, so to speak. Jeep does not need to grow their brand as much as others do, because classic Jeep is what Jeepers are after, which is why they have such a cult following. They can have a narrow range of offerings, and still sell cars. I would be interested to see what the Compass/Patriot offspring would look like, but the '08 Liberty, now that is a looker. Why didn't they just do that in the first place??? Perhaps if they had, I would have bought that one. Unfortunately, besides its looks, the Patriot doesn't have much going for it, either, due to the watered down engine/tranny combo. Granted, those things work great in the vehicles they are designed for, but since when did people start buying Jeep for the mpg? They are still advertising the 30mpg, but time will tell.
Yeah, they re-vamped the Ill. plant, but have they really gotten all their money's worth? My thought, no. Truth is, if Jeep did dilute the brand, they did it in a couple of ways, first, by introducing what they took to be a forward thinking and progressive vehicle, i.e. the Compass into unsure territory, beyond the initial focus groups, but also by doing so at such a low base price with no options. What really gets my goat is that "Dr. Z" was all for the idea of the Compass/Caliber/Patriot, and now that he has seen how much it cost DCX in lost sales and reputation, now he is just ready to ditch it? I say leave the outside investors out, and leave Jeep to do what Jeep does best, build quality vehicles that people want.
kwc, as far as dealerships where I live go, typically Dodge dealers also sell Jeep, but dealerships down here, while they may specialize in one brand or other, sell pretty much anything. My dealership was Chrysler, Dodge Jeep. Not to say it is not different elsewhere, but one without the other is almost an oxymoron.
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My 2007 Jeep Compass Sport, Bright Silver Metallic, 26E, CVT II, Driver Convenience Group, Sunroof, Trailer Tow Prep Group, 4x2
1991 XJ Cherokee Sport 4X4 4.0 H/O I6
2008 Dodge Ram 1500 ST, SWB Reg Cab, Bright Silver Metallic, Trailer Tow Package
JEEP - Just Enjoy Everything, Period.....