Petition Demands That Sergio Spin Off Jeep in Order to Save It

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

A group of Jeep fans wants Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne to make a Sophie’s Choice-style decision to save their beloved offroader.

To avoid the destruction of the storied brand at the hands of its parent company, FCA must cast it loose, the group states in a strongly-worded Change.org petition.

“As owners and fans of Jeep vehicles, we are calling on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to separate Jeep from FCA’s stable of failing brands and debt,” the petition states. “We urge FCA to execute a spinoff to save Jeep.”

The group claims the strong-performing Jeep has FCA’s 6 billion euro debt hanging over its head like a guillotine, while its association with owner Fiat risks undermining the brand’s reputation for rugged quality. By spinning off the brand like FCA did with Ferrari, Jeep could survive as an independent, they claim.

The group goes on to say that although Jeep (like Ram) is one of FCA’s chief money makers, its sales performance is being taken for granted by Marchionne, who is using the brand as a cash cow to reduce his company’s debt load.

“FCA’s plan is not to honor the Jeep brand, but to cannibalize it,” they claim.

The petition was started by Michael Turk, a Virginia resident and life-long Jeep aficionado. Turk’s first vehicle was a 1985 CJ7, and he’s since bought two more Wranglers, with a 1953 CJ-3B project vehicle awaiting restoration.

In an email to TTAC, he acknowledged the extreme unlikeliness of his petition swaying the head of FCA into cutting loose one of his top revenue generators. Turk sees it simply as giving a voice to the “undercurrent of concern” for the brand among Jeep loyalists.

“I started the petition because I am concerned that the headwinds for FCA spell disaster for Jeep,” he said, adding that the issues afflicting the brand concerns more than just corporate debt.

“The coming increases in emissions standards spell trouble for a company that sees most of its revenue from light trucks and SUVs. Unless they make significant changes (and its not clear they have the capital to do so) the stream of cash from Jeep sales may soon run short and that will leave few good options for the brand.”

Turk said he’d like to see the petition become a “rallying point” for Jeep lovers, and hopes it compels FCA executives to start seeing its customers as people, not market share.

TTAC reached out to Jeep public relations officials about the petition, who chose not to comment on the matter.

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Stevenj Stevenj on Apr 13, 2016

    Someone here already nailed it...... "Jeep’s success at this point is fashion-based, not rooted in intrinsic value or durability of product."

  • Zackman Zackman on Apr 13, 2016

    I have a very simple solution for Jeep: Sell it to Ford. After all, Ford was really the only other major manufacturer, and they certainly have the ability to fix once and for all the nagging quality problems with the brand and make it a real winner in the market, far better than it is even now. FCA can wither away and die for all I care. Most of their products don't matter anyway, and my impression is that they turn to junk far quicker than any other OEM.

    • Vulpine Vulpine on Apr 13, 2016

      Ford would go out of their way to make it a Ford and probably name it Bronco.

  • 3-On-The-Tree I don’t think Toyotas going down.
  • ToolGuy Random thoughts (bulleted list because it should work on this page):• Carlos Tavares is a very smart individual.• I get the sense that the western hemisphere portion of Stellantis was even more messed up than he originally believed (I have no data), which is why the plan (old plan, original plan) has taken longer than expected (longer than I expected).• All the OEMs who have taken a serious look at what is happening with EVs in China have had to take a step back and reassess (oversimplification: they were thinking mostly business-as-usual with some tweaks here and there, and now realize they have bigger issues, much bigger, really big).• You (dear TTAC reader) aren't ready to hear this yet, but the EV thing is a tsunami (the thing has already done the thing, just hasn't reached you yet). I hesitate to even tell you, but it is the truth.
  • ToolGuy ¶ I have kicked around doing an engine rebuild at some point (I never have on an automobile); right now my interest level in that is pretty low, say 2/5.¶ It could be interesting to do an engine swap at some point (also haven't done that), call that 2/5 as well.¶ Building a kit car would be interesting but a big commitment, let's say 1/5 realistically.¶ Frame-up restoration, very little interest, 1/5.¶ I have repainted a vehicle (down to bare metal) and that was interesting/engaging (didn't have the right facilities, but made it work, sort of lol).¶ Taking a vehicle which I like where the ICE has given out and converting it to EV sounds engaging and appealing. Would not do it anytime soon, maybe 3 to 5 years out. Current interest level 4/5.¶ Building my own car (from scratch) would have some significant hurdles. Unless I started my own car company, which might involve other hurdles. 😉
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  • ToolGuy Those of you who aren't listening to the TTAC Podcast, you really don't know what you are missing.
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