By on May 5, 2022

 

With the house of Stellantis constantly exploring the upper echelons of what customers will pay for a rig with a Jeep badge on its nose, it seems that placing six-figure Grand Wagoneer L models next to entry-level Ram work trucks has become passé. If some corner-office dwellers have their way, Jeeps – or at least the snazzy ones – could earn a place in their own showroom.

It’s a trick as old as the auto industry itself, of course. Witness the spectre of Lincoln showrooms bifurcating their way through Ford stores like a caramel-colored slice of sweet cake. Separating the wheat from the chaff is a common way of catering to customers planning on splashing out the big bucks – especially if they are new to the brand and trading out of a legacy luxury brand. Jeep wants in on this action.

According to Automotive News, brand CEO Christian Meunier expects that more than 300 dealers will be adding Jeep-only sections to their premises over the next two calendar years. He anticipates these spaces will house rigs like the Grand Wagoneer L mentioned above, plus the forthcoming all-electric SUVs from the off-road brand. Some, like the Michigan-based LaFontaine dealer shown at the top of this post, jumped on the idea way back in pre-pandemic times, reserving (and branding) a wing of their new facility solely for the purposes of hawking Jeeps.

Notice nowhere in the missive does it suggest a stand-alone dealership for Jeep. GM went down that road with the Hummer brand 15 years ago, leaving many of the inventively designed buildings high and dry when The General smothered the brand with a pillow during an embarrassing sojourn through bankruptcy. Still, there’s an appetite to cleave Jeep just slightly from the typical Stellantis dealer hive.

“Because of the product plan and the growth opportunity for Jeep in North America in the next five years, the dealers are going to be, I think, very much engaged,” Meunier said in an interview with Automotive News. This author recently spent a healthy amount of time chatting with the Jeep CEO during the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab and can confidently say the man is all-in on pushing the Jeep envelope both in terms of product and price.

Will dealership groups and retailers be on board with this idea? Knowing the thought processes of dealer principals, we can confidently say they’ll jump only if they see the return on investment – or a change in their allocations, of course. It’ll be interesting to see which ones pick up the gauntlet versus who continues to pack six-figure Grand Wagoneers cheek-to-jowl with stripped-out work vans.

[Image: LaFontaine Automotive Group]

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20 Comments on “Jeep Trick: Top Brass Advocate for Separate Jeep Showrooms...”


  • avatar
    ajla

    I’ve experienced the “Separate showroom” concept with both Scion & Genesis and I don’t really get the appeal. It’s the same service center and the same sales/finance people. If you are a snob then it doesn’t go far enough and if you aren’t then it doesn’t do anything for the purchase or ownership experience.

  • avatar

    This will be a waste of money and effort. Jeep people by and large aren’t snobby in that way, or they’d purchase something else. The limited number of people who are going to go for the GW after its initial 1-2 years will be minimal.

    And like Ajla said above, if you’ve got the same absolute garbage CDJR service center and the same Mike Foursquares, it makes no difference if there’s nicer tile under the wheels of the GW and wood pillars around it.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    If Chevy won’t do this for the Corvette, then Jeep shouldn’t do it, either.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    It’s a bad idea. Part of the reason upscale trucks work so well is because it’s a way for people with high incomes to buy something that still fits in with the people they do business with and in their community. I think Jeep is far more likely to have success with that crowd than trying to separate themselves. Overall Stellantis have done some good things with Ram and Jeep- They need to concentrate on their current dealer experience now.

  • avatar
    Syke

    Well that explains the addition to the Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep/Ram dealer on the west side of Richmond. Haven’t had any reason to drop by, but their additional showroom opened about four months ago.

    And yeah, I can see where it’s necessary if you’re determined to pull in Land Rover capture sales.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    What they really need is some inventory.
    My local CDJR store looks nearly empty, just used cars.
    The nearby Ford place at least has some new inventory.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Is this news? Las Vegas has had a Jeep-only dealership (coincidentally named “Jeep Only”) for a couple years now.

    http://www.jeeponly.com

  • avatar
    redapple

    Jeep is leading a charmed life.
    Iffy product. ( bronco is better. Defender too. ) But the image / street cred is yuge !
    Printing money and laffing all the way.
    Just wait until evilGM brings back a real blazer.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @redapple – 100% agree.
      Dudes buying SRT Grand Cherokees are sneaking that one past the wife on the grounds that it’s an SUV. They’d normally get a HellCat Challenger or Charger.

      The Wrangler Unlimited has replaced the minivan as the family hauler in many circumstances. Those same 30-somethings are buying them to fit their image of rugged mountainbiker/crossfit mama machines.

      The high school/college type with parents paying the way are stereotypically the buyer of the Standard Wrangler.

      The hardcore offroader types buy them on the grounds that there isn’t much else out their that can go offroad stock or modded but Ford’s got the Bronco and soon to have the Ranger Raptor. Chevy is upgrading the ZR2 with the 2.7 litre turbo/10 speed and that will come stock with 33’s.
      Those same hardcore types put up with sh1tty electronics and poor reliability for only so long.
      My buddy had suffered a blown engine on his last one just off warranty and his new one just blew an engine and he hadn’t even made it to his first oil change.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        What blew on them?

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @ajla – IIRC his V6 had the timing chain jump a cog which picked off the rest of the engine.

          He’s still waiting on a report as to what failed on his turbo 4 banger. He was travelling down a freeway and next thing he new, there was antifreeze steaming out of under the hood and the smell of burnt oil.

      • 0 avatar

        Well there are now wide spread reports of the 2.7 Turbo Bronco’s letting go at low mileage (under 20k) and requiring engine replacements. It seems most likley this was a manufacturing issue but still concerning.
        As far as people jumping brands do to reliability, some do but most of pickuptruck driving friends were burned by 5.4 and 6.0 Fords and most of them still buy a new ford every 4-5 years. In one very funny instance a friend who’s a plumber had two 5.4 replaced in the same truck in under 60k miles about 15 years ago and he still buys nothing but Ford.

        • 0 avatar
          Funky D

          What went awry in his 5.4s? The dreaded cam phaser issue, or did a ticking cam follower do them in?

          I recently bought a F-150 with said 5.4 (and aware of their history), with 66k and my mechanic said it was good. They appear to be very maintenance sensitive, which isn’t an issue for me anyway.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          Other than the older 5.4’s with spark plug issues I haven’t heard of many problems with the 5.4. I have 254,000 km on mine and the only engine related issue was a failed coil pack.

    • 0 avatar
      MoDo

      LMAO @ defender being better.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      @redapple: Charmed life is correct.

      I considered a Compass for a while (really like their proportions and roominess), until I saw a deluge of “Compass won’t start” comments popping up. How can brand new cars fail to start?

      I wonder if Jeep gets the same treatment as Tesla – forgiveness for all wrongs due to a very robust fan base.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I don’t see what the point is, except to make the dealer spend money. The dealer I got my Challenger from has about 1/3 of all the dealerships in the area, Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Subaru, Nissan, and CJDR, and they built a very nice Fiat building (Per Fiat’s demand) across the street from most of the others, and soon it became the Mazda store when they took over that franchise from the long time dealership that sold out the Honda side recently. Last year, they built a new Chevy dealership just as Covid and the chip shortage kicked in. I heard that Chevy made them build it or they wouldn’t renew their deal with them. That place has more inventory right now than it has had since it opened. I don’t know if they are actually selling much right now though. In a small town nearby, FCA forced a long time dealer to build a new store and he wasn’t able to make it, so he sold it to the nearby Chevy (and more) group. Maybe it’s an easy way to weed out the “weak players”?

    • 0 avatar
      here4aSammich

      You gotta be in Toledo too, based on everything you just referenced. I avoid that group, even though they are literally right down the street from me. Didn’t know the backstory about the BG dealer. The old store was seriously old school. did the showroom even hold two cars? Headed to Woodville this weekend to pick up our new Wrangler 4xe from the last 1 store family dealership around. 4th Jeep we’ve bought there.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    Maybe they could just park the jeeps at those Alfa/FIAT showrooms they made the dealers shell out for a few years back that are now housing used cars.

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