By on August 19, 2020

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]

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31 Comments on “Going It Alone: One-brand-only Jeep Dealers Grow in Numbers...”


  • avatar
    MrIcky

    I went into my dodge/ram/jeep dealer yesterday to service my truck and I could see them spinning the jeep portion off. The store front was almost all jeeps lined up. The drive into the lot was basically a wall of jeeps. They had half a dozen dealer spec model complete with graphics called the ‘lost river edition’ with some mopar/jeep accessories pre chosen and installed that were all displayed prominently. Out of all the jeeps there I’d say more than half were rubicons, the next largest group was the lost river edition, hardly any other models. The whole aftermarkets parts desk may as well have been just jeep upgrade parts, tshirts and hats. They had a new AEV in the lobby.

  • avatar
    highdesertcat

    The hottest thing Jeep’s got right now is the Gladiator Mojave, and with the New Grand Cherokee and Grand Wagoneer coming out relatively soon, One-brand-only Jeep Dealers are a safe bet (just like Cadillac-only dealers were in decades past. My dad bought from Marvin K. Brown Cadillac)

    Then again, I would venture that the owners of such a One-brand-only Jeep dealerships have other-brand corporate dealerships as well on their balance sheets.

    I would look for Larry H. Miller dealerships and Perkins Motors to diversify that way in my area, while still offering the other brands on their other lots.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Meanwhile, the Fiat dealers who spent $1 million in 2012 for standalone stores are presently being starved out by FCA. Building such stores appeared foolish even then. It’s sad.

    But Jeep is hot, and having Jeep-only stores makes a lot of sense for some areas.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Yeah, but that’s the Fiat brand, affectionately known as “Fix It Again Tony” since the end of WWII.

      Jeep is a little bit different. Jeep and RAM are Fiatsler’s money makers, the corporate Cash Cows.

      • 0 avatar
        Yankee

        Yeah, except for the fact that the Renegade is completely a fiat and the other vehicles are basically Chrysler/Fiat products. There hasn’t been a true Jeep made since the 50s, but just like crappy Harley-Davidson motorcycles made from Vietnamese parts, lemmings will pay anything for a label, regardless of what it really is. Let the dealers make hay while the sun shines on people used to paying for way more than they are getting. The rest of us who actually care how reliable our vehicles are and how they’re put together will look elsewhere. If the price of gas goes up again these dealerships will end up like all the domed-roofed Hummer facilities; the one near me now says “Subaru” on the front of it.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Yankee, you’re right about Fiat riding on the Jeep’s name and cache with the Renegade but everyone knows it is only a wanna-be Jeep.

          Jeep Aficionados are a discerning bunch. My experience with my wife’s 2012 Grand Cherokee, and my son’s 2012 SRT8, has been excellent. No problems.

          We passed down both of them to his daughter and her new husband in 2015 at their wedding. Those Jeeps have been doing daily-driver duties from Surprise, AZ to Luke AFB, AZ, ever since.

          I suspect they will trade the Grand Cherokee for a new model when it comes out, but will hold on to the SRT8 because of its uniqueness.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      My local FIAT/Alfa dealer is adjacent to the Chrysler Dodge dealer and when I was over getting a tire Monday I noticed all of the jeeps were parked on that lot.

      Incidentally some poor bastard had a ram hybrid that the battery wouldn’t charge on. They told him they couldn’t get the part for 3 weeks and he’d get a rental. Dude was reasonable. They brought up a crossover and he politely and calmly explained his income depended on towing 7000 pounds and that wouldn’t do. A Silverado 2500 showed up just before my car was done. Sucks, but props for taking care of the dude I suppose.

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    This seems like a fantastic idea!

    It also makes me wonder if there’s any OpEd’s about what the health of the FCA umbrella would be without Jeep seemingly single handedly printing money to keep the rest of the company afloat. Even Ram, which does *ok* relative to their cross town rivals, couldn’t hold the whole shebang aloft on its own.

    It seems to me that this could be counter-productive for FCA. While it separates the Jeep guys from the rest of the FCA crowd, it also prevents the “Sorry we couldn’t get you into this Gladiator, but we have a financing special that might get you into this Ram.”

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      That’s the irony right there.

      “Sorry Sir we can’t finance you for this $60,000 Gladiator but we can get you into a Ram Classic 4×4 for $35K once the discounts are applied.”

      • 0 avatar
        CoastieLenn

        Right. It seems to me that while sales of Jeeps and their accessories might increase a bit, a relative decline in Ram/Dodge sales from all being in the same place alone might offset that gain, at least to a certain degree. FCA can’t afford to make moves that detract sales numbers. Ram and Jeep might be strong enough as standalone entities (Ram is questionable but Jeep is a sure thing for now) but the entire corporation as a whole needs as much exposure as they can get.

        • 0 avatar
          CoastieLenn

          Something else I just thought of- if FCA lets FIAT flee from the US (again), what happens to the chassis that the Cherokee, Renegade, and Compass ride on? Highly doubtful those will continue on in production, right? If those go out, how strong is Jeep still if those are no longer?

          IDK, there’s so much turmoil and instability in FCA to judge whether this is a good idea or not. That said, I’m no financial analyst.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            No reason they would have to drop those models because they are based on Fiat developed platforms just because they stop selling vehicles under the Fiat badge since they aren’t going away.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Do they have a plan when Jeep sales start to go down?

    • 0 avatar
      CoastieLenn

      It would appear that there’s not a bean counter in the FCA HQ building that sees past next week. Almost all of their lineup is niche market vehicles that happen to be selling well for the moment. Their core products that should be able to keep profits coming in during bad times are either dead completely (Dart), withering into nothingness (Pacifica), or morphing more into that niche vehicle segment (looking at the Charger here).

      • 0 avatar
        NoID

        CoastieLenn, what you see as a weakness I see as a strength and hedging their bets. The FCA large cars (Charger, Challenger, & 300) collectively lead the segment in sales (actually the Charger alone trounces the next closest competitor by nearly double), and with GM (Impala, Lacrosse) and Ford (Taurus) bowing out it will only drive more of the customers who remain in that shrinking segment to the Dodge and Chrysler showrooms. Likewise, the minivan segment is shrinking but the Pacifica is near the top of the sales charts and I predict it and the budget-oriented Voyager will reign supreme once the Grand Caravan is no longer available on dealer lots. You imply that FCA is letting this product wither but they just finished a facelift on the model and are coming out with an AWD version to steal more sales from the Sienna.

        The Dart and 200 were not selling, the plant was down to one shift. Now the plant is running like gangbusters building trucks, which is good for FCA and good for Detroit. What would you have done?

        You really don’t have any idea what you’re talking about.

        • 0 avatar
          CoastieLenn

          @NOID- easy now. I thought this was a place to have automotive discussions but by your last statement, you’re clearing bringing emotion into this conversation.

          Here’s what I’m getting at. Look at EVERY SINGLE other manufacturer in the United States and Canada. Every one of them has a wide array of vehicles that can provide buyers with a sense of enjoyment, and a wide array of vehicles for people who don’t want the enjoyment but want a simple, efficient (or “green”), small vehicle. Also, the global fuel economy standards are rapidly squeezing out V6’s and V8’s in cars. What does Dodge/Chrysler have (once FIAT is out of the picture) in the US that can meet these restrictions and demands once they are forced to no longer offer their mighty 6.4L V8? They have absolutely nothing. They’re developing NOTHING. The smallest engine in ANY passenger car (not truck/suv) is a ticktickticktickticky 3.6L V6. That’s it. There’s no small SUV’s. There’s no midsized sedan. There’s no small cars. There’s NOTHING to hold them over once they can no longer offer that. They’re not even bothering to test the waters in offering anything. That tells me that the Dodge brand as a whole is either being lined up for execution at some point, or they’re the worlds best incognito product developers… which they’re not.

          This move to separate Jeep from the rest of the family tells most people that aren’t (for lack of a better term) blind loyalists that there’s trouble afoot for the FCA brands that aren’t Ram or Jeep. Not too distant past articles are WIDELY available to support this claim, but there’s nothing from them to support that they’re working to fix this.

          Seriously. Consider it for a second. If the 6.4L goes away, how many Charger/Challenger sales go with it? What’s the percentage take rate on the 3.6 in those two cars (which are the only two cars in the ENTIRE corporate umbrella) vs. the V8 outside of fleet sales?

          They have aboslutely nothing that can average out the increasingly tight standards and there’s no indications that they’re working on an EV/Hybrid version of any of them aside from the Pacifica- which if it’s still even offered, isn’t a large percentage of it’s sales.

          • 0 avatar
            CoastieLenn

            And do answer “What would you have done?”- were I to be tasked with the unfortunate job of trying to turn that long-game ship around for FCA, since the world seems to LOVE small SUV’s now, I’d be taking some of those small Jeep vehicles (Renegade and Compass) and developing a vehicle that wears the Dodge badge to bring at least SOME people back in the door. I’d also be working on a small plug-in hybrid city car to sneak some sales away from the Prius that wasn’t as stylistically obnoxious or image tainted as the Fiat 500e. They have the some of the products already, they’re just very short sighted in what to do with them.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            They merged with PSA. They’ll be fine. Stellantis will have tons of small, high efficiency and plug-ins available for sale if needed and even more importantly France and Italy won’t let them get into too much financial trouble.

            The old products like the Charger and Challenger (and maybe the entire Dodge brand) has no long-term future but their role was to bank cash, lower debt, and make the overall company attractive to a partner. That’s what they accomplished and that was the plan all along.

          • 0 avatar
            CoastieLenn

            @ajla- I know that the merger will take time to yield cross-branded products, but how likely would it be that- since back when FCA was looking to unload the entire MOPAR structure and it seemed that basically every prospective buyer solely wanted either Ram or Jeep or both without any of the rest of the “baggage”, that this merger has set into motion the demise of everything MOPAR that’s not Jeep or Ram?

            I know it sounds like I’m looking for nothing but doom and gloom for Dodge products, but to me, it’s sad because even as a Ford man, there’s nothing sexier than a black on black Challenger SRT 392 and I think Dodge has right tools to be great long term, but I just don’t see how that can work in its current form.

          • 0 avatar
            ajla

            “that this merger has set into motion the demise of everything MOPAR that’s not Jeep or Ram?”

            That’s probably going to be the case, but that’s also what I think the plan was all along. After FCA got financially roasted on the Dart/200 they went with the “make cash, spend nothing, get bought” strategy. Big development money wouldn’t have been congruent with that plan. And it seems like it might have worked out for them.

            I like the Challenger 392 too but by your own admission there isn’t a regulatory future for such a car. Maybe there will be a re-grilled Citroen.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Fred, that’s a long way off yet. I believe before that happens, once we get past this Wuhan China virus pandemic, automotive sales in the US are going to take off like rockets. Pent up demand and all, plus a US economy about to expand enormously.

      But this all depends on the outcome of the US General Election of Nov 3, 2020.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      They won’t, not until there’s a sea change back to car ownership which nobody in the industry sees on the horizon. Jeep’s transformation into a full range SUV/CUV brand has rode the wave of the market’s shifting preference, and its new products are only solidifying its standing.

      And regarding negative comments about the baby CUV Jeeps: No, they will never seriously compete with the Wrangler for off-road supremacy, but each and every one is best in class for off road performance and generally not by a small margin. Jeep is absolutely dedicated to that claim, on all the vehicles they sell, and I think it’s a testament to the brand’s commitment to its heritage.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        I also believe that it is important for Jeep to protect its heritage, considering they are currently the best they have ever been after the rocky and inconsistent journey they were on since WWII.

        Neither AMC nor Chrysler did Jeep any favors. But Daimler? That’s where their fortunes changed for the better.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    The acquisition cost of a Jeep is high, but this is offset by the high running costs.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    “Such retailers are often given free reign (sic)”

    I’d like to be king for a week too, run the GTA the right way. Gotta let all those horses have free “reign”, what?

    Spelling or even an understanding of language is not a forte of TTAC writers, oops, editors.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      Henry Ford, for example, attended school for eight years and was not known for his amazing literacy skills. If you choose to limit your automotive interactions to literary giants skilled in American English, you are going to miss out on a lot of automotive pioneers, customers and mechanical geniuses.

      (There is a whole big world out there. Or as Joe Dirt once said, “Life’s a garden, dig it?”)

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    I thought all Chrysler/FCA marques -except Fiat- were merged in 2009? Doesn’t that make the most sense?

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    The FCA US organization is entirely dependent on 2 brands – RAM and Jeep.

    FIAT is in its death throes, Alfa never was, Chrysler sells a minivan and a sedan that’s over a decade old, and Dodge sells a handful of models, most of which are also a decade old.

  • avatar
    JLGOLDEN

    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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