Going It Alone: One-brand-only Jeep Dealers Grow in Numbers
Slowly but surely, a phenomenon is spreading across the United States: standalone Jeep dealerships, as well as Fiat Chrysler dealers with Jeep showrooms.
Located where the buying public is most receptive, these types of stores could play a larger role in the brand’s future, especially as Jeep prepares to add three new models to its lineup next year.
Such retailers are often given free reign to construct a store in their mind’s eye, and at considerable expense, all with FCA’s blessing. As Automotive News reports, the effort can pay off. Jeep Only, a dealership in Las Vegas, sells 100 Jeeps last month, despite the city’s hard-hit status arising from the pandemic. An associated full-line FCA dealer across the street saw half as much Jeep volume last year, in non-COVID times.
Co-owner John Grant said the mood and decor is different at his store, which opened in March — and even the dress.
“In the standalone store, these people are fun, they wear blue jeans, they wear T-shirts, they are definitely in the upper-income model. It is amazing what people will do and what they spend personalizing these vehicles,” Grant said. “You would almost say it’s insane.”
He added that an en enthusiastic global Jeep boss Christian Meunier visited the store before its grand opening. The idea is one he encourages.
A dealer that sells exclusively Jeeps implies to the customer that the people inside know their stuff. Mike Downey, vice president of Fort Collins Jeep in Colorado, said as much. “It just sends a message that we’re all about Jeep — we’re into Jeeps, just like the customers are,” he said. “I think it gives them a little more confidence in us.”
Between 2016 and 2018, a dozen standalone Jeep stores opened in the U.S., with two more coming online last year. In total, FCA says 59 dealerships are either standalone Jeep stores or feature a dedicated Jeep showroom. The latter option is the cheaper one, and it could prove increasingly popular as the brand continues to grow. Next year, Jeep plans to start production on an unnamed, three-row model related to the next-generation Grand Cherokee, with the Wagoneer and pinnacle Grand Wagoneer arriving to secure Jeep’s place in the full-size, body-on-frame SUV segment.
After adding a Gladiator pickup variant to the Wrangler family last year, Jeep’s Jeepiest model is set to gain a plug-in hybrid variant, as well as a potential V8 model. These, plus the brand’s Renegade, Compass, and Cherokee, makes for a crowded get-together at a full-line dealer. Going it alone allows the models room to breathe and an opportunity to shine.
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]
JLGOLDEN on Aug 20, 2020
Image is a strong driver of consumer interest, enthusiasm, and sales. There is some magical resonance hovering around the Jeep brand, despite some models being of mixed heritage. Not everyone is comfortable with a brutish and capable Wrangler for the daily commute. Hell, if needed, FCA could graft a few Jeep styling cues and logos onto a Pacifica, add chunky tires and wheels, and this would be all the "JEEP" that a Mama needs. Ride the wave of popularity with minimal investment.
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