Jeep Re-Builds UK Dealer Network In Advance Of Cherokee Launch
For a brief stretch of time, Jeep did business in the UK as a purveyor of authentic American SUVs. The Cherokee, Wrangler and Grand Cherokee had a respected niche, even if they didn’t sell in particularly large numbers. And then it all went down the tubes.
According to Just-Auto, Jeep lost over half their dealer network in 2012, creating a problem for Jeep’s UK division. Major ad campaigns were useless, since it was impossible to advertise when franchises could be situated far away from major population centers.
But with the introduction of the Grand Cherokee, Jeep has rebounded. Sales are up 70 percent, and by year end, there should be over 70 dealers in the UK. The next step is the launch of the Cherokee, which Jeep is ambitiously positioning as a rival to the Audi Q5 and BMW X3, as well as the smaller Renegade. Sound crazy? Perhaps. But don’t forget, these are premium vehicles in much of the world.
Kill it with fire!
The "premium vehicle" reputation makes me wonder how Sergio expects to sell so many Cherokees in India, much of Asia, South America, and Africa. A less-expensive, smaller AWD Panda based Jeep would be more appropriate.
"But with the introduction of the Grand Cherokee, Jeep has rebounded" Grand Cherokee?
UK customers aren't stupid. We know the non-premium origins of this car. Interior quality is a big deal in the UK, particularly if attempting to compete against the BMW X3. Brits will buy any old junk, so long as it has nice soft touch plastics on the dashboard. American manufacturers have a reputation (deserved or otherwise) for cheap crappy interiors, and the Cherokee will have to be as good as or better than the competition in order to dispel this. It will also need a very good diesel engine to compete in the premium market, and I'm not sure if the 2.0L Fiat/GM diesel will measure up against Audi and BMW's offerings.