Few new vehicles have as much riding on them as the upcoming 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. As Chrysler slowly reinvents itself, all eyes will be on the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The Grand Cherokee itself was once a dominant player in the midsize SUV segment. But with a flood of new models in this category, the Grand Cherokee lost ground to newer crossovers and often more refined competitors such as the Nissan Murano, Ford Edge, and Toyota Highlander.
“It would be an understatement to say that the SUV segment isn’t a growth segment anymore. It has migrated to a more sensible, calmer personality, and that in itself is the real trouble for Jeep,” said Erich Merkle, president of the consulting company Autoconomy.com in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
But according to Monroe Dealerships, the new Grand Cherokee goes beyond reclaiming former glory in its own segment. The Grand Cherokee also represents one of the few all-new products to emerge from Chrysler since coming out of bankruptcy. Not only must the Grand Cherokee perform well among competitive crossovers, but it also must serve as the new face of the Chrysler brand. Jeep Hartford says “Our sales staff is anxious to show the public what our revitalized brand is capable of, and the new Grand Cherokee should let our customers know Jeep means business.”
The more rugged SUV offerings have faced plenty of challenges in recent years, particularly as buyers gravitate towards more car-like offerings. However, there’s still hope for the new Grand Cherokee, as many brands and dealers still see a market for well-rounded, capable vehicles. For example, dealers of Nissan Pathfinder Seattle WA models continue to appeal to buyers with active lifestyles, and the Grand Cherokee may give the Pathfinder and other SUVs a run for their money when it launches.
Despite the lofty expectations that the industry as a whole will place on the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mike Manly, CEO of the Jeep brand, has complete confidence in the vehicle.
“I’m not concerned about it at all,” Mike Manley told the Associated Press recently. “Having lived with this vehicle, now, as the head of Jeep for almost a year, we have a winner. Absolutely.”
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