By on April 9, 2016

Jeep Wranglers Coming Down The Line In Toledo

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.

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109 Comments on “Petition Demands That Sergio Spin Off Jeep in Order to Save It...”


  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    Paging Pete DeLorenzo!!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      FCA needs to focus on building American muscle cars, trucks, exotic Italian super cars and Jeeps. Kill off everything else.

      Kill off Chrysler brand, make the new van a Dodge. Combine the trucks with Dodge again, send Fiat back to Europe. Just a few changes I’d make right away.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Disagree across the board, but I do agree some changes needed. Chrysler needs more identity and making it more ultra-lux could do it. Dodge can be their mid-grade cars while Fiat stays as compact economy. However, Fiat needs more variety. While their 500 is an iconic style, it is too niche, just like the Mini. They need to bring their other models in as their mainstream cars of which they have several I’m sure would be quite popular. Jeep is definitely going global and the Cherokee and Renegade are proving popular both in the US and globally. Meanwhile, Ram needs a much broader spread of classes from the Strada compact truck all the way up through the class 4, 5 and 6 medium duty models.

        • 0 avatar
          RobertRyan

          “Jeep is going Global” seeing 80% are sold in NA, it needs to address the reliability glitches first. Must admit of all the NA brands it has tried to build to a Global audience

        • 0 avatar
          MoDo

          You disagree and think Chrysler should go “ultra lux”? Do you know how long that would take to pull off? Probably about 20 years. Never mind the fact that they already have Alfa Romeo AND Maserati to fill the luxury void, the last thing they need is a 3rd luxury brand. FCA doesn’t need all these brands – they simply cannot afford all the new product required to make them all work. Combining everything said under Dodge would save hundreds of millions in marketing dollars alone on an annual basis.

          Signed, a guy that has worked in auto for 20 years.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            Chrysler as a brand needs to go. Let Jeep and Fiat carry the mainstream banner. Dodge for performance, Alfa as entry level performance luxury (probably shared platform with Dodge) and Maserati for high end luxury. Lancia should finish going away too. Dodge to Alfa to Maserati might make a nice product progression.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Dear “guy that has worked in auto for 20 years”.

            Where did I ever say it would be a quick solution? Quick solutions tend not to be solutions at all but rather to have the exact opposite effect. I don’t care that it would take 20 years or more to create that ultra-lux paradigm but as we can clearly see, it took a lot less than 10 years for Daimler to destroy Chrysler as a brand.

            Alfa is not an ultra-lux brand and Maserati, while now running on some of the same platforms as the Chrysler, is barely moving in the US simply because it is so little known here. And even the Maserati is being marketed as a luxury performance car, not an ultra-luxe car.

            You may have worked in the auto industry for 20 years, but that doesn’t mean you understand it. You understand traditional methods and quite bluntly traditional methods aren’t working.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            what do you mean they “already have Alfa Romeo?” Alfa barely exists as it is, and is a pointless waste of money for FCA. It’s IMO criminal that they’re bleeding off so much money to try to resurrect a brand nobody cares about.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            The reason they’re spending so much on Alfa, and the Giulia in particular, is that they need the platform to replace the LX. You want a new Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger? You need the Giulia to base them off of.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Message from Cluetown to Jeep owners: in the real world that’s not how corporate governance works.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      They should hire that lawyer who is suing the NFL to restore their #1 pick in the draft this year, which was stolen over the deflategate scam.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Yup. Jeep is the unguent that holds the Christless mess that is FCA, together.

      It’s their one cash cow in an otherwise declining and debt-ridden amalgamation of disparate brands and manufacturers. There is NO WAY they’ll separate the one success from the flailing other operations. They will try to subsidize the others; when the numbers no longer work, they’ll close other divisions. Perhaps bankrupt the parent company to escape debt and then sell to another mega-motormaker. Renault, Round 2?

      Jeep’s success at this point is fashion-based, not rooted in intrinsic value or durability of product. And as with Hummer, that can fade and can fade fast. And in this age of ever-more expensive-to-meet regulatory demands, Jeep can never again stand alone as a company.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

        Except youre forgetting Ram, as far as “failing” goes, its far from it.

        Youre 100% correct in that they will never get rid of Jeep unless some major reversals took place.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          Uh…”FLAILING,” not “failing.”

          Some of the FCA cars have been workmanlike attempts. More of them are the right cars at the wrong time. But they seem rudderless – all over the place, steered as much by politics as by business demands.

          Perhaps it was a gift from the gods that Sergio Marchionne declined Billy Ford’s invite to head up Ford’s “rebuilding.” Marchionne seems less Lido and more Charles Ponzi, as this low-comedy plays out.

      • 0 avatar

        “Christless mess that is FCA,”

        How it can be – it is Vatican’s and particularly Pop’s favorite brand.

      • 0 avatar
        pragmatist

        There is the CAFE problem: Corporate Average fuel economy is something that Jeep cannot afford without destroying the brand. It NEEDS those high mpg econo Dodges and Fiats in order to sell Jeeps.

        Thanks to our beloved Uncle Sam, Jeep cannot stand alone.

  • avatar
    Syke

    This brings up an interesting point regarding the myth that Jeep has killed every automobile company that has ever owned it. Actually, Jeep has been owned by a series (Willys, Kaiser, AMC) of weak companies that were essentially kept alive by the Jeep brand. Willys and Kaiser are the best examples, but by the buyout of AMC by Chrysler, the Jeep brand was the only healthy marque left. And the reason Chrysler bought it in the first place.

    Here we go again?

    • 0 avatar

      The effects of the 2008 recession are still being felt to this day and will continue to be felt – if not worsened – by the coming economic crisis. A Bunch of “kids” coming of age who are buried in student loan debt, living in momma’s basement – having essentially lost around 10 – 15 years of their lives to the economy.

      Jeep will suffer just like everyone else will, but their product continues to be competitive in the North East and Asia.

      I know another economic turmoil is coming. I just don’t know:

      #1 How bad it’s going to be
      #2 The future price of tires and rotor pads for my Hellcat.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        btsr, I agree with your synopsis of the coming future. Over the past 70 years of my life I have found it best to

        1. Plan for the worst, and hope for the best
        2. Hedge all your bets, primarily by converting holdings in to cash, where you can
        3. Bet on the constants:
        a: people always need to eat
        b. people always need a place to live
        c. people will always need to be buried after they die

        In your case, stock up now on tires and rotor pads for your Hellcat

        • 0 avatar
          zerofoo

          “Hedge all your bets, primarily by converting holdings in to cash, where you can”

          This is terrible advice. By converting to cash you’ve ensured that every year, inflation will rob you of your retirement and leave you working until you drop dead.

          Index the markets and go more conservative as you approach retirement. This way your money grows as the economy does.

          In the event that the entire economy goes tits-up TEOTWAWKI style – the cash you’ve saved will be worthless anyway.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            zerofoo, it works for me and millions of others before me.

            SOME people do not need to work anymore, nor do they need their money “to grow” since they already have an unending stream of money coming in every month. Often more than they can spend on themselves.

            Yours is a working man’s view of the financial world. When I was a member of the working class, I may have shared your observation. But since being promoted to the leisure class, as many entrepreneurs and business people eventually do, converting to cash what I can and prudently applying it where I need it, is the way to go for me.

            Do you think that Bill Gates or Warren Buffett worry about their retirement? No. They think of all sorts of things to give away their accumulated wealth, often times in the form of cash.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I would recommend the exact opposite, zerofoo; the price is low enough that I would consider it a buy specifically because of what FCA is doing to Jeep, Ram and other brands. FCA’s global market share has risen significantly to where it’s one of the larger global players out there compared to well-known brands like even Mazda. Yes, they’ve still got a few issues on the horizon, but their growth for now looks capable of defeating those issues.

      • 0 avatar
        RobertRyan

        Not , Asia, primarily NA, 80% of sales in NA

      • 0 avatar
        mr.cranky

        What in the hell are you talking about? You’re parroting some of the same crap that Trump has been saying about the economy. You’re just as clueless.

        Plus, do you really need to make a dig at college graduates? That just proves how juvenile this place can get at times.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          The irony is that this is his vision of America if Trump wins, but he’s still a big supporter.
          On the positive side, this hell scape can be avoided if he loses, I guess. At. Least that seems to be the operative logic.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Well, that’s an interesting take on it. The reality is, Jeep as a brand, as a format, represented – in its early years – a market too small for the Big Four to want to mess with. Both Ford and ChryCo had experience with military light trucks with four-wheel-drive; and since Ford was actually MAKING MB army jeeps, had they wanted to fight for the right to market them to the public…they would probably have won. Just ask Harry Ferguson, who got enmeshed in a similar proprietary-rights fight with Ford.

      But Jeep was what KEPT those weak companies going. Willys was too cash-poor to put together a credible passenger-car entry; and when they did, finally, the stench of death over the company had potential customers fleeing. Kaiser, the new entry, was similarly cash-poor; and Henry Kaiser didn’t understand the finer points of marketing cars to the public. Kaiser got his business acumen as a contractor, and then selling equipment to the War Department. Consumer-goods sales is far different.

      Kaiser and Willys came together with Henry Kaiser’s purchase of the failing Willys-Overland; and both the Aero-Willys and Kaiser lineup were dropped. It was the Jeep-derived products that kept both going.

      Kaiser-Jeep was sold to American Motors in what might have been an aborted attempt for Kaiser Industries to BUY AMC and once again enter the passenger-car market. Evidence for that was the slow, steady purchase of AMC stock by Kaiser interests – they had a significant share of it when Henry Kaiser died in 1967.

      Kaiser’s various holdings were liquidated to pay Estate Taxes. That included Kaiser-Jeep – which Kaiser interests used their interest to promote AMC’s purchase of and vote approval of.

      And once AGAIN…Jeep FLOURISHED while AMC, in the Malaise Years, withered away, Studebaker-style.

      And Chrysler was anything but weak when they purchased what was left of AMC. They were on the rise; the smallest but the most profitable and with solid financial controls and imaginative product.

      So…it wasn’t JUST that Jeep had weak parents. Nor was it that Jeep drained resources. Somehow Jeep continued to be ever-more profitable and send more money to parent organizations, while always, it seems, its owners shrivel.

      • 0 avatar

        Might have something to do with Jeep having always been building “SUV”.

        Before it was cool.

        After it was cool.

        Long After it was cool.

        When I got my first SUV: a 2002 Expedition, my girlfriend called it a “Jeep” simply because of the way it looked. It’s a brand name. A household name.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          I believe it goes back to right after WWII. When I was growing up in Huntington Beach, CA, during the fifties and sixties, all the Life Guards on the beach used WWII-surplus Jeeps, painted in Bright Orange.

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            A lot of it goes back to the war. My old man was, after V-E Day, a general’s driver. In, of course, a Willys Jeep. Time went on; he got out; was successful; and twenty years later he wanted a rig to get to the place he was building a hunting cabin.

            He of course thought Jeep, first. As he learned to his sorrow, it wasn’t the same company – GM engines at the time, management late of Kaiser-Frasier, a superb but flawed chassis – the J-Series Wagoneer. And before the warranty expired, the whole company became part of AMC – a company my father hated worse than death, from experience with Ramblers.

            But…yeah. For a whole generation after peace, Jeep managed to exist in its niche from GIs’ experiences, and from the indestructible surplus Willys jeeps that were everywhere for a time.

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff S

        Thanks for the history of Jeep. You did forget Renault’s failed ownership of AMC/Jeep. Renault was a ball and chain around Jeep.

        When the dust settles the Jeep brand might end up being owned by the Chinese.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          Actually, I left it out – it was the one corporate parent that didn’t die from Jeep ownership. ALTHOUGH, they DID fail and withdraw from the American market,

          I wouldn’t call their ownership “failed” as far as Jeep went. It was Renault’s people who designed the XJ – the only new product between the J-Series (SJ) and the flurry of new bodies in the 1990s. Somehow the same bunch that so failed at Americanizing the R9, with its fragile components…the same guys smashed one out of the park with the XJ, using off-the-shelf AMC equipment.

          The XJ, more than anything, made Jeep relevant for another generation – and probably was the only reason AMC continued to exist as a corporation/subsidiary long enough for Iacocca to buy it.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff S

            True AMC didn’t die but they were close to death and Renault didn’t help them except the XJ (the Alliance and LeCar were not very good). If anything AMC being bought out by Chrysler saved them. It is as shame to see Chrysler failing–they have produced some really good vehicles in the past along with some breaking technology.

          • 0 avatar
            DC Bruce

            If memory serves, it was under Renault that the new Cherokee/Wagoneer was developed and launched in 1984. With a boxy station wagon design, 4 doors and standard 4wd, it was the original designed from the ground up SUV that was not based on a pickup truck. By any measure, this has to be considered a big success. It was in production for at least 10 years. I bought one new in 1984 and we kept it as the family vehicle for 8 years until a 3rd kid arrived. Despite solid axles front and rear, it rode reasonably well.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    Jeep is like that dusty Picasso your great aunt left you in her will. Even if you don’t like it, you hang on to it for dear life because you know the name is worth a fortune. Spin off as an independent? Not likely. Sell to someone else for a truckload of cash? Maybe.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    Oh, an online petition. *Those* always accomplish something.

  • avatar
    gasser

    Sell the cash cow?? Not likely. Just wait until the rest of FCA drags down the whole company. (As soon as gas prices spike and trucks/big SUVs are not in style.) Then either FCA sells Jeep, or the bankruptcy trustee will. Hopefully Jeep will still be a brand by then, not just a logo and a lot of hopelessly out of date models. If not, marketing will present us with a “Jeep” model of a Terrain or of an Explorer.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    I think the following slogans are available- “Jeep Lives Matter” / “Occupy Toledo” / “Bring our Jeeps Back” / “Feel the Burnout” …

  • avatar
    Joss

    Clueless here.. would FMCO be better off with Jeep than Lincoln? Then Tesla might pop up around the same time making it a difficult call…

  • avatar
    Pch101

    It’s nice that a bunch of people who have no concept whatsoever of cost amortization and economies of sale decided to parade their ignorance in a petition. Ain’t technology grand?

  • avatar
    Quentin

    34% of Jeep’s sales this past month were from Fiat platforms. 22% were from their old Compass/Patriot platforms. 44% were from what I would say this guy considers “real” Jeeps. The FiatJeeps won’t sell nearly as well without the Jeep name on the nose. Jeep’s sales would be screwed with the next time gas jumps up without the Fiat platform cars. Separating them doesn’t insulate the Jeep brand… especially when Jeep would be paying Fiat a not-insubstantial amount of money to build 35% of the Jeep brand product.

    • 0 avatar
      derekson

      What percent were the Daimler platform the Grand Cherokee rides on?

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      I agree completely. I love it when Jeep fans speak of the brand as though they ONLY build the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee. It just goes to show how clueless a lot of them are. The Compass/Patriot is probably the worst new vehicle(s) currently for sale (now that the old 200/Avenger is gone), yet somehow Jeep justifies keeping them around because they arent unprofitable yet.

      This guy is a prime example, stating that Fiat will ruin Jeep’s legendary quality. Wait a minute, hold up, back the truck up a second. When has Jeep been known for excellent quality and reliability? Excellent off road, yes, but nobody compares the Wrangler with a Lexus or Acura when talking about quality, longetivity, reliability…unless their point is to bring up exact opposite ends of the spectrum.

      The 4.0 I-6 was long lasting (although they seemed to leak oil from day one), but everything else about the vehicles it powered was sub-par at best. Ask any Jeep owner from the 80s-2000s about failing electronics, transmission failure, cooling system issues, fuel leaks, oil leaks, interior that falls apart before 100k miles, and lets not forget the awful paint.

      Chrysler didnt kill Jeep with awful quality issues back then, I dont think Fiat could possibly do much worse these days.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    They should ask Mazda how going it alone to “protect the brand” is working out.

    Jeep on its own doesn’t have critical mass or economies of scale.

    The whole idea is absurd.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      That lazy trope again. Mazda are making a profit and have managed to completely overhaul their engineering base – platforms, transmissions and engines in 4-5 years. That was a big expense which does not need to be repeated for some time.

      • 0 avatar
        jthorner

        Yeah, Mazda is doing great. Sales down on 27% for March in the US market: http://insidemazda.mazdausa.com/press-release/mazda-reports-2016-march-sales/

        But, at least MX-5s will be available in an exclusive “Premium Gray” color: http://insidemazda.mazdausa.com/press-release/mazda-mx-5-rf-feature-machine-gray-premium-color/ . If I didn’t see that press release on the official Mazda website I would have thought it was satire.

        Mazda is in trouble in the USA.

        • 0 avatar
          mike978

          Way to take one month’s data out of context. Mazda’s sales have grown in line with the market for the past few years – look at the market share figures.

          Financial profit/loss data matters more than sales data.

          I note you didn`t disagree about the engineering changes.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Mazda doesn’t make much. It doesn’t generate enough earnings to fund the sort of initiatives that would help it to be competitive.

            Companies in this sort of business have to grow or die, and Mazda doesn’t have many growth prospects. There’s more to business than not generating a loss.

          • 0 avatar
            npaladin2000

            Mazda serves a profitable niche. In order for them to grow they’re going to have to move into someone else’s market and steal share. That could be risky, they may already be alienating some of their current customer base with some of their statements.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Maybe Mazda needs to bring back their B1500/B2200-series trucks. They were once quite popular and would be again in this day of compact- to mid-sized cars and CUVs.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Mazda is a reasonably healthy goldfish swimming in a tank of piranhas.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            PCH – I don`t accept your statement – “Mazda doesn’t make much. It doesn’t generate enough earnings to fund the sort of initiatives that would help it to be competitive.”

            They have completely updated their engineering platforms – engines, transmissions and chassis and rolled out an entirely new lineup (with updated designs) over the past 4-5 years. That is making something and it is certainly class competitive if not class leading.
            Should they be selling more – sure. But they are surviving and other companies come to them to spread development cost – Scion and FCA. Also they now have a North America production plant which should help improve profitability and reduce the dependence on Japanese made vehicles.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            I’ve already explained it. Small companies in an industry like this can’t keep up and eventually become irrelevant.

          • 0 avatar
            mike978

            Small companies are at a disadvantage, but obviously for now Mazda is keeping up as seen from the Skyactiv tech refresh. This is not something that will fade over the next few years since those platforms are usually fairly long lasting. They obviously have sufficient R&D expenditure to cover the costs of developing competitive vehicles.
            They seem to be open to working with other companies and developing vehicles for themselves and partners. That will be an important bolster to their revenue.
            Time will tell if they go into irrelevance, but you will be waiting a while for that to happen.

  • avatar
    Superdessucke

    Sure. Let’s see if they’re singing the same tune after the CUV bubble bursts and they need the sales of the hot new Cordoba to prop THEM up.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    Jorts need to make a comeback, but I’m not going to be the one to pioneer it, but yea, especially the really short jorts.

    This post would be funnier if everyone knew how almost-hipsterish I can look. Minus the face hair.

  • avatar
    tylercee

    Who would ever(and I mean ever) use the words ‘Jeep’ & ‘Quality’ in the same sentence? Maybe Jeep and poor quality…but c’mon, they’re dated, and unreliable as f- according to most sites/books.

    • 0 avatar
      Lucas718

      I have to agree. Of all the vehicles I’ve owned over the past 30 years, the only one that ever had to be towed in for repair was my ’08 Wrangler. Twice.

      Never again.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        Never once had to have my ’08 Wrangler towed in for repair. Yes, it did have problems but that was due to the Daimler design and build quality which was abysmal. FCA has gone out of its way to fix those issues. (Pot metal handbrake lever? Really?) But I never needed it towed for repair. It managed to get there on its own every time.

  • avatar
    johnny ringo

    Good luck on that, a big chunk of the money to keep Fiatsler going comes from sales of Jeep vehicles along with Ram trucks. I don’t see FCA parting with Jeep anytime soon.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I would not sign that petition if the group paid me a million dollars cash to do so. Such a spin-off would ruin Jeep as a company simply because they would not be able to retain all the customers Jeep has gained over the last ten years and wouldn’t even try to keep some of their best-selling models.

  • avatar
    Whatnext

    LOL, a petition from owners of the ultimate poser brand. What percentage of Jeeps ever go offroad? Owners put up with so many subpar traits just to convince the Joneses that thy are “rugged”.

    • 0 avatar
      runs_on_h8raide

      Whatnext…with the US crumbling infrastructure (especially in suburban/urban areas) Jeeps come in quite handy for a lot these potholed roads. Also, I don’t think anyone buys/leases a Jeep to convince the Joneses they’re rugged.

      Now, if you want to talk posers…I’ll point out all the douchehammers that buy Ram trucks. Those are posers.

    • 0 avatar
      raph

      Is it the ultimate poseur brand? I thought that was reserved for the “Ultimate Driving Machine”

      “I own a BMW!”

      “Cool, why did you buy it?”

      “Its a luxury car.”

  • avatar
    an innocent man

    If they get 100,000 signatures, doesn’t the White House have to respond?

    • 0 avatar
      Xeranar

      ‘As President, I have no direct authority over a foreign automaker and its business practices. We appreciate your input of a beloved American brand but poor management and a desire to cut labor costs in good years instead of reinvesting that money as more liberal economic countries did led to this decline. Please stopping asking us to bring back the McRib as well…’

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    Jeep can’t survive as an independent company. No way. Their engines and platforms are all coming from Chrysler and Fiat. They will NOT be able to engineer independent platforms, not enough scale to make it worth it. And where will they get engines and transmissions?

    This is a constant wet dream of Wrangler and CJ fans that long for the days when that’s all Jeep made, and they somehow think the company can survive making only those. Never happen.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      If you look at Jeeps through their history, they have been a mish-mash of parts from nearly every automaker at one time or another; even some of the more famous CJs made with GM engines and Ford transfer cases or vice versa in the same car. Jeeps have almost never been an homogenous vehicle and even after Chrysler took over there’s been an interchange of parts where the JK has a Dodge engine and a Mercedes transmission. Going independent would not improve the matter.

      You want a true Jeep descendant? Consider Mahindra, licensed by Kaiser to build Jeep-like vehicles on the original chassis design and even their newest models not all that far from that original design in all but appearance.

  • avatar
    Xeranar

    The issue here is that there is no value to spinning Jeep off on paper unless they could get substantially higher stock prices on shares sold. Then use paper shuffling to hide costs and treat it as a wholly owned subsidiary. But since that’s technically illegal on several different fronts actually spinning as an independent make is stupid for all the above stated reasons.

  • avatar
    jerseydevil200

    oh please… why the hell do they think he bought that company? for their stable of awesome sedans?
    Jeep and Ram get international exposure. USA gets Fiat exposure. I wish them luck.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      Actually, he didn’t buy it. It was given him, in a bankruptcy procedure of dubious legality. He obtained it from a promise to produce and market a small car, the 500 – the kind of car that Washington politicians so love to see their subjects forced to buy.

      The real draw to him was the dealer network – Fiat of course had none and even when they were in the States, their dealers were weak and few and generally storefront. That and the American plants, which could be tooled up to build all those 500s that San-Fran Nan told him Americans were so ready to buy.

      Sergio, being European, may not even have realized what explosive growth would await the Jeep brand. Certainly Cerberus didn’t see it, or they’d have held on a few more years, poured more money into it. As Venture Capitalists, that’s what they DO.

      • 0 avatar
        Xeranar

        Nope, not even close. Fiat purchased Chrysler in a legal deal that resolved to keep a large industrial employer in the United States. Bankruptcy court and the Federal government aren’t prohibited in purchasing private industries under any law. There have been numerous times that the federal government has purchased the bulk of goods and companies to keep them from collapsing on themselves.

        Calling it dubious is partisan chanting at its pettiest. Nobody within the legal community worth their salt doubted the legality of the proposition. Frankly even making a sing-song assault on somebody you dislike kind of makes your talk ironic in the sense of dubiousness….

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Chrysler Financial was the reason Cerberus purchased Chrysler from Daimler, and they kept CF as part of the deal to offload the rest. I believe taking the whole company, and not just the financial arm, was part of the deal with Daimler. Neither Cerberus nor Daimler seemed to realize how valuable Jeep is/was as a brand. Perhaps Fiat did?

        I’m not as well versed on Fiat’s motivations to even get involved, but I do recall Fiat was gifted $1.3 billion cash along with I think 50% ownership of the Chrysler assets. Then they were to meet certain guidelines in order to have permission to buy Chrysler stock from I think the Treasury until they purchased all outstanding shares about 2013ish. Even if the Treasury were out say $10 billion on costs, it was $10 billion well spent in hindsight (of course the Treasury shouldn’t be spending its money on privately owned institutions but well… that’s not free market capitalism for you). So far in sixteen years two successive “elected” administrations have spent $19 trillion and might have a trillion dollar’s worth of actual assets to show for it. Let’s not even get started on the Military Industrial Complex’s inability to produced a fricking fighter jet that works while the Soviet Aircraft Industry produced one for less than 1% of the estimated F-35 cost *to date*. Even if the F-35 was superior, it could not possibly be 1500% better.

        “Program cost US$8–10 billion (est.)”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi_PAK_FA

        “Program cost US$1.508 trillion (total with inflation),”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_Martin_F-35_Lightning_II

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          FIAT got Chrysler for basically nothing, including Jeep, and they had the (well received) 2011 product lineup finished and ready to go. FIAT just had to keep the lights on in Auburn Hills long enough for them to hit the market.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      A lot of RAM products are rebadged Fiats anyway. RAM Pickups are really NA relevant

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Great, a group of enthusiasts turned armchair CEOs. Have’t seen that before…

    “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.”

    These people have no idea how any of this works. For example, it’s easier to get a Jeep Cherokee to meet CAFE than a 200 with a similar drivetrain. Besides, if these guys were to run Jeep, they’d dump all the low fuel consumption stuff in favor of reviving the XJ.

  • avatar
    JonBoy470

    This is rich. Jeep is a symbol of quality?! That’s rich. FCA’s problem is they haven’t been able to engineer a new car that isn’t garbage. They’re afloat because, quite honestly, trucks are held to a lower quality standard by the buying public.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      No, Jeep is a lifestyle badge – not a symbol of quality. Owning a Jeep says you’re rugged-outdoorsy…even if you’ve never engaged your four-wheel-drive lockup; even if you’ve never left macadam. Or even the city limits.

      Quality hasn’t been part of the Jeep image for many decades. The Willys Jeeps had the quality of anvils – painfully primitive but indestructible. In the Kaiser years, with production sped up on one ancient assembly line…with parts-bin engineering, using GM and AMC parts by lowest bidder…quality of assembly did suffer. Engineering was actually superior but it all got lost by slap-and-dash assembly.

      The AMC years were best forgotten. Everyone loves an underdog, but only on television. Car sales in free-fall; no resources to meet coming emissions standards; no waivers and no bailouts; and Renault circling like a vulture waiting to grab the carcass.

      The Chrysler years were of great improvement, believe it or not. I had a YJ Wrangler, a 1994, and it was the best American car I ever owned. And I bought it with 90,000 miles on it.

      Daimler came in with all the leadership skills of a concentration-camp staff. EVERYTHING that Iacocca and Castaing had done to get Chrysler growing, had to be dismantled. That included killing the excellent AMC engines which identified Jeep: the 4.0 six and the 2.5 four derived from it. The Neon engine went into Wranglers from 2005 – and a more-sorry matchup could not be imagined.

      Now, Fiat. “Fix It Again, Tony!” Quality and Fiat have never had even a nodding acquaintance; and nobody in his right mind is going to buy an FCA car expecting anything better than, at best, average quality.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “Fix It Again, Tony” is an obsolete meme and needs to be forgotten. Compared to what Daimler did to Chrysler, Fiat is a miracle worker in what they’ve done to restore Chrysler, Ram and Jeep even though Chrysler itself is weaker than it should be. But all of the current issues with Dodge specifically is based on that obsolete reputation and, unfortunately, a single, one-year-only version of a car that is actually remarkably good if people could only get past their prejudices.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          ” “Fix It Again, Tony” is an obsolete meme and needs to be forgotten.”

          And yet, CR and other surveys show higher-than-average problems on FCA products – across the way. Just above, Jeep was noted as not having a stellar quality reputation.

          It’s fine to be rooting for your team; but at some point the discussion needs be grounded in reality.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            meh. when “Fix it again, Tony” was coined, an unreliable car would just conk out randomly on the road, wouldn’t start at all, would puke its coolant out on the ground, burn an exhaust valve, or any number of mechanical failures.

            in 2016, an “unreliable car” has a touchscreen which is weird sometimes, or an error message popped up in the cluster, or there was a rattle somewhere.

            The absolute “worst” car on the market today is a million times better than the *best* car on offer in the 1970s.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            JimZ, I won’t disagree with you. However, the old reputation is what people bring up when they read such a review, despite the fact that it is 40 years obsolete.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            CR has been proven over recent years to not exactly be unbiased. Even if they’re not paid by manufacturers to perform their tests, individuals can and will be biased. They’ve given high marks to cars that have needed excessive maintenance and low marks to others that were at worst, average.

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            CR has had covert agendas; but the aggregate of reliability surveys are pretty hard to jerry-rig.

            The touch-screen example needs to be taken a step further. As with some German roundel brands…when the touch-screen goes wonky and things stop working and Tony figures up the repair bill in the high four figures…it no longer matters that the car didn’t burn valves. It burned diodes and processors – which are just as expensive or more so.

            So the shiny low-mileage Fiatsler winds up with the shiny low-mileage Three-Point-Stars and People’s Cars. In the shadow of The Crusher – economically a dead end to fix.

            Not where I want to put my money. Even if they were exciting cars, which they are not.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “High four figures…” Where are you getting these ideas, JPT?

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            ““High four figures…” Where are you getting these ideas, JPT?”

            From the number of structurally-sound, relatively-young German models that pop up in wrecking yards.

            People don’t toss out expensive cars lightly – only when the cost of repair is more than the value of its serviceable life or probable used sale-price.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You were talking about Fiats though, and I don’t see no “high four figures” in repairing the infotainment stack in one of those.

            And yes, I’m purposely using ‘hick’ language to make my point. Too many people are relying on obsolete memes to make modern vehicle choices. As for CR and others, I’ve simply learned not to trust them because they tend to exaggerate the negatives while minimizing the positives on some brands and models.

          • 0 avatar
            JustPassinThru

            “You were talking about Fiats though, and I don’t see no “high four figures” in repairing the infotainment stack in one of those.”

            Electronics aren’t cheap to repair. Not in a M-B and not in a Toyota. Difference is, the Toyotas tend to not break.

            The German high-dollar units DO break, have electronic failures, roughly about the same time the warranty expires. So they’re quickly traded, have little resale value and get scrapped early.

            Now, Fiats – which also break early on. Automobiles are not cheap to fix in this era of fuel-injection and multiple processors controlling myriad functions. Either an application is reliable, as it is with some Japanese brands, or it will be expensive when it is found to not be so.

            Fixing cars with crescent wrenches and $20 worth of NAPA stuff, just doesn’t happen anymore.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You’re still making assumptions, JPT, and exaggerating costs. I again quote you for saying “high four figures’ for repairing the infotainment stack; the device itself is easy enough to replace and while in my Jeep it MAY be expensive, it barely cracks $1000 which is LOW four figures. I have no idea what one for the Fiat 500 would cost but I find it unlikely it would be as expensive as one for a Jeep Wrangler which has to put up with a lot more shaking and vibration. Oh, and the one in my Wrangler hasn’t died yet, either, so I have no idea what that would cost; I’ve only priced a high-end third-party replacement for it.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      “You’re still making assumptions, JPT,”

      I wasn’t making a consumer claim, [email protected] I’m just taking this where a reasonable, informed counsumer facing a purchasing decision would go.

      Electronics cost. Repairing them costs MUCH more than getting the dwell set on the Studebaker at Goober’s Garage. Anyone who doubts that has not had a modern car in for a repair when the Yellow Beacon of Death, the CHECK ENGINE light, goes on. Or when the emissions-test certificate is due – and the car fails, due to silicon gremlins deep in Processor Purgatory.

      I understand what fanbois are but this isn’t about fandom or cheerleading. This is about expensive cars made by mega-manufacturers with track records of past products not holding value or delivering long service. And there’s nothing to suggest that anything has changed or will, in present or future offerings.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        The point is that you don’t know. As such, your argument was not reasonable or informed; it was a guess only.

        Yes, electronics do cost; but nothing like what they used to except in certain classes of cars. What used to cost $2,000 or more to replace is now relatively cheap, though dealerships WILL gouge you when they can. Sometimes just taking your car to a different franchisee may be all it takes to save tens or even hundreds of dollars. Knowing what you can do for yourself will help as well, though admittedly that’s getting more difficult. An OBDII trouble-code reader is relatively cheap and makes it easy to determine the general extent of a problem light. Most of the time the quick fix is to just replace a sensor but sometimes it is an indicator of something more severe.

        But what you really need to consider is the cost and value of the vehicles being discussed. A Fiat 500 doesn’t carry the same price tag of even a Mercedes C-class. It doesn’t have the cache to carry a repair price that might run to 10% the price of the car brand new. You could easily buy two and maybe even three Fiat 500s for the price of one Mercedes. As such, the repair costs have to run pretty much scaled down to the vehicle, no matter the component discussed.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    The Jeep aficionados will probably get their way in a way. Everyone has a death wish for Chrysler, from FCA executives, industry leaders and auto journalists to Joe Consumer. Don’t get me wrong, I like Jeep, but Chrysler is just as important as Jeep. As far as Dodge is concerned, it was best left the way it was before the Ram separation with muscle, mainstream and trucks all under the same brand.

    Chrysler has equity that many brands could only wish for. Kia, Hyundai, Lexus…they’re all relatively new to the game. They haven’t been nearly as innovative and dynamic as Chrysler. Most of their popular products are copied in some way (Lexus was born when Toyota reverse-engineered an S-Class) and will be forgotten after twenty years. Chrysler’s equity and potential isn’t being exploited in the way it should have been. As a result, they now only have two models (down from three when they axed the 200) and there’s talk about badge enginnering the 200 replacement.

    That said, if Chrysler goes, I will be more than disappointed. I have owned nothing but Chrysler-made vehicles and have been really happy with them.

  • avatar
    turf3

    Jeep: Rugged, yes. “Quality”? Definitively not! I spent too much of my life dealing with Chrysler “engineers” both at Jeep Truck Engineering and at passenger car engineering. My favorite story involves a supposed “senior engine design engineer” on a plant tour of our plant:

    “Why does the part turn and the tool stand still?”

    [my colleague, after realizing the question was for real]

    “Ummm, because it’s a lathe…”

    …and I am not surprised to read above that the Chrysler era was actually the time of best Jeep quality.

  • avatar

    Spin Jeep off into what? The arms of some multifarious Chinese steel/shrimp-processing conglomerate? No thanks.

  • avatar
    stevenj

    Someone here already nailed it……

    “Jeep’s success at this point is fashion-based, not rooted in intrinsic value or durability of product.”

  • avatar
    Zackman

    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.

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