Jeep to tackle its 'Hoover predicament'
We've all heard people calling any vacuum cleaner a Hoover, all hot tubs Jacuzzis and even referring to any all-in-one bodysuit as a Onesie. These are, of course, trademarked names that have entered the English lexicon to refer generically to any equivalent product, regardless of its manufacturer.
Jeep has fallen foul of this trend too. Millions of people around the globe know the name Jeep, but they do not necessarily know what a Jeep is, according to Luca Ricci, European product manager for Wrangler, Cherokee and Grand Cherokee.
There is a tendency for the motoring layman to use the term 'Jeep' to refer to any 4x4 vehicle.
"They will point to a Toyota Land Cruiser or a Land Rover and describe it as a Jeep," says Ricci.
To address this, the manufacturer is trying to boost its reputation outside of North America with the launch of the new Grand Cherokee, which comes with a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox. The vehicle is due to go on sale in the UK from July.
Following this, Jeep will release a new Cherokee, which was given its global debut at a show in New York in April and is due to get a European premiere at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The 4x4 is built upon the Alfa Romeo Giulietta and comes equipped with a ZF nine-speed automatic gearbox that has featured before in the Land Rover Evoque.
Lastly, Jeep is to release a B segment SUV towards the end of next year, which will be around the same size as a Skoda Yeti and based upon a Fiat platform.
Nigel Land, Jeep's brand director, believes the manufacturer is close to cracking the UK market, and the established dealer network it already has is helping it achieve this. He added that focusing on more European technology and design styles with help from Fiat is also improving its changes.
At the moment, the UK Jeep network of dealerships stands at 57 and another eight will be added to this by the end of 2013. "Our optimum number will be 87 when we have the full range of Chrysler Jeep products," Mr Land continued.
Posted by Craig Salter