European Influence Slowly Ruining Jeep Brand

by Larry Morton

2014 Jeep Cherokee

2014 Jeep Cherokee

The recent announcement from Jeep is the new 2014 Cherokee which has created quite a stir among Jeep enthusiasts and "progressive" European designers.

Those of us who really understand the history and the essence of what the "Jeep" badge stands for are appalled at the seemingly endless cookie-cutter designs of most vehicles influenced by European design.

What is the European design look? Well, just try this out for yourselves. Pick out 10 European designed vehicles available in the world, especially in the SUV market.

I'll leave it up to you to make your call, but as for me they all look like they came from the same automotive DNA with only a few variations. The grille, headlight, parking and tail-light configurations are just about all that distinguishes each model from the other.

Just a few years ago it was simple for most automotive enthusiasts to see a vehicle from a hundred yards or more away and tell you the year, make and model. These days when I see a newer SUV right next to me I have to look for a manufacturers emblem or badge to even identify who made the silly thing.

Well, Fiat/Chrysler/Jeep has been doing the same with its SUV's for some time now and it just seems to get worse each new model year. Did these European designers really think that by adding a faux 7-slot grille the 2014 Cherokee would have any
semblance of being a real iconic Jeep? I personally take it as an insult.

The European designers of this so-called "Cherokee" suggest that we not "judge a book by its cover" and should look more at the functional internals of this All-Wheel-Drive SUV. Again, pick any European based SUV, with AWD, and you end up with the same or similar looks of the new Cherokee. So what will distinguish the 2014 Cherokee from other SUVs? Not much that I can see.

How simple would it be to use the "Jeep" formula that has worked for over 70 years to create a tough image look and a tougher drive-train, and build on the success that has made Jeeps great?

The Europeans may like to cater to the wine and cheese crowd, but loyal Jeep owners and lovers of the brand, like myself, know what makes Jeeps great. It is not style over is style AND substance.

In a perfect world Jeep should have never been allowed to be influenced by Renault, Daimler or Fiat. The Jeep is part of our United States of America heritage and history. Shame on us for letting outsiders decide what we as Americans want or need.

I will surely know that the future of Jeeps will be lost if and when the Jeep Wrangler is compromised like so many other great American vehicles. That will truly be a sad day.

Larry Morton, Owner/Editor

Comments for European Influence Slowly Ruining Jeep Brand

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by: Tonwantonga

I have to agree with you. Part of what makes a Jeep a Jeep is its unique look. The new 2014 Cherokee has an appeal to someone, I guess, or they wouldn't have built it. But that someone isn't me. Putting the Jeep name on a European crossover doesn't make it a Jeep, just like calling a cow a duck doesn't make it a duck. Put this in the reject bin with the Compass, and try again.

I've been a total Jeep fan since I bought my first CJ in 1984, but I have to tell you, I am not interested in any of the current new Jeep offerings. I guess if I want a new Jeep I'm going to have to build my own.

The European market
by: Marcel Bink

You are absolutely right about the Jeep Heritage. Over here it's unfortunately a bit different. The market for a Wrangler (unlimited) my favourite Jeep, is extremely small.

Jeep has to compete with on the lower side of the market with Kia and Hyundai and on the upper side of the market with BMW, Mercedes and Range Rover. This is only possible with a "car"-look SUV with smaller and diesel engines and a big list of optional equipment. Road handling at high speed are important, off road capabilities not, for we hardly have any unpaved road over here and when it's unpaved we are not allowed to drive it.

A couple of years ago Porsche entered the SUV market. For the Porsche enthusiast that was really undone. Because of the success of the Cayenne, Porsche was able to survive and could continue to develop its icon, the 911.

There is only one thing that I hope. If the newer European design of the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee is successful over here, Sergio Marchionne will keep investing in the Wrangler model line (with the current success of the JK in North America and Canada), he certainly will.

Larry's Reply: Good points Marcel. It's good to hear your comments from a European perspective.

I have consistently written (and belly-ached) about the Jeep brand being absorbed into the SUV/car classifications world-wide.

Since "Jeep" is a branch of Chrysler, I would rather see the Dodge and Chrysler SUV/car products emphasized for European consumption, especially as you said that there are few off road opportunities available in Europe.

I would like to see Jeep remain true to its roots, but when it comes to real world market competition and manufacturing politics I may be fighting a losing battle.

However, I am not giving up. Thanks again for your great comments.

Change in Jeep body design is JUST WRONG
by: JeepNewDesignBAD

I was shocked and appalled and will likely never buy another new Jeep.

We have purchased a couple older models (Traditional) Grand Cherokees and put into storage for use later. That is how much the horrid new design horrifies us.

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