Jeep has no plans To hand over your supremacy of off-road adventure to the competitors.
But that doesn’t mean the fight won’t be brutal.
Gone are the days when Jeep owned this segment with little debate.
on Friday, Ford debuted a Ford Expedition Timberline off-grid concept that will be showcased at Overland Expo East in Arrington, Virginia, this weekend.
The one-off model is based on the new 2022 Ford Expedition Timberline series, which it called “the most off-road-capable expedition ever” with features including improved ground clearance.
It’s designed to show a “futuristic vision” of family adventure, including a mobile Basecamp, the concept’s program manager Robert Varto said in a Ford news release.
As the Dearborn automaker promises, “vehicle accessories” help adventurers confidently traverse hard-to-reach mountain trailheads, remote lakes and distant desert dunes.
A popular term now is “overlanding”, which refers to travel by vehicle that goes beyond camping to include the exploration of unusual and undiscovered destinations.
‘Going after them’
This rock-crawling crowd has money to spend and automakers see dollar signs when adding special tires, wheels, cameras and features, including special tow hooks.
“Jeep is a global icon and has been the king of the hill in off-roading,” said Michelle Krebs, executive analyst at Cox Automotive. “I think a lot of manufacturers have decided that Jeep shouldn’t own that hill, so they’re going after them. Off-roading packages definitely generate more revenue and profit because they’re not the base model. . and there is a ready market.”
Fans of off-roading and overland adventure spend thousands of dollars on accessories.
Be it the Toyota 4Runner TRD, Subaru Wilderness, Ford Bronco, Expedition and Explorer – all are coming after Jeep’s lunch money. Even Brie Larson, the “Captain Marvel” actress at Nissan, described a TV commercial saying that the Nissan vehicle drives through rocks.
It’s all about the vibe.
‘a bit annoyed’
“Jeep has had unprecedented success over the past decade. Sales around the world have exploded as it expanded its model line. It’s amazing that the rest of the industry lets it stay away for so long,” he said. said industry supervisor John McElroy, host of the “Autoline After Hours” podcast and webcast.
“Ford is the first to show up with a reliable competitor in the Bronco,” he said. “Jeep is a bit annoyed that they are finally facing some competition. And there is more to follow. No one knew this whole Jeep brand could go on.” be so profitable.”
While Ford launched the Bronco as a direct competition on the Jeep Wrangler, the Ford Explorer and Expedition now feature timberline for off-roading. The Explorer is coming to dealerships now, with Expeditions coming in early 2022.
‘Not just marketing’
“I really feel sorry for (Ford Explorer Timberline) customers who cheat,” Jim Morrison, president of Jeep North America, said. Recently told musclecarsandtrucks.com. “You can paint a tow hook red. That doesn’t mean it will catch on behind the tow hook even at the right time, which it needs.”
He also mocked the Ford Bronco during the rain-soaked Detroit 4Fest in Holy Oaks in September, noting that the SUV was seen with famous roofing issues Not likely, musclecarsandtrucks.com noted.
“We design all those trail rated elements from the ground up… It’s not just a marketing term, it’s the capability that’s born. You don’t just stickers and paint on things. We do it with incredible potential.” make up with,” Morrison said, according to musclecarsandtrucks.com.
A Stelantis spokesperson declined to comment to the Free Press on Thursday.
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McElroy said these days almost every company has a big whiteboard in the planning room, targeting every single Jeep model.
‘a lot of money’
“Of course, you have a bunch of imitators,” McElroy said. “They are copying the segment that Jeep is in, not really copying Jeep. Jeep got there first. But others will follow because there’s a lot of money.”
A basic 2022 Grand Cherokee Laredo starts at $37,390, while the all-wheel-drive 2020 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is $50,275, plus delivery fees, According to Motor1.com. The top of the Grand Cherokee Summit Reserve is $63,365.
These are now the price ranges for off-road vehicles.
The two-door 2021 Bronco starts at $29,995 for the base model, which includes destination charges. The four-door 2021 Bronco starts at $34,695 including fees and Last $60,000. can be loaded.
Jeep, and Morrison, know the danger is real.
“The question isn’t who can climb a rocky mountain, but who will have the most sales. That’s what matters most, if Ford can find customers who are going to buy this big manly off-road truck, McElroy said. “We know that only a fraction will actually take them off the road.”
In recent times, Jeep unveiled its 2022 Two-Row Grand Cherokee, which added a plug-in hybrid to the lineup.
The Grand Cherokee 4xe will join the 4xe version of the Jeep Wrangler as the brand’s first two plug-in hybrids available in Europe in US electrified versions of the Compass and Renegade.
“This is another important step toward achieving our global vision of zero-emissions independence,” said Jeep brand CEO Christian Meunier in late September. “By 2025, we plan to introduce fully electric Jeep vehicles in every SUV segment.”
Both the 4xe and non-electrified versions come in several trim levels, including the Trailhawk. Jeep notes that the Trailhawk 4xe “conquered” the Rubicon Trail, a popular 4×4 route in California, using all-electric power.
Ford is not shying away from the challenge.
“Stay Classy, Auburn Hills,” Gian Cádiz, a Ford spokesman, who launched the Jeep Compass, Patriot and Wrangler while working for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, told the Free Press.
“I think it’s been a long year for Jeep to see the Bronco and Bronco Sport rack up hundreds of thousands of sales and reservations – and comparison tests versus Jeep wins – and now the rugged and capable Timberline versions of the Explorer and Expedition are out for trail-testing. Comes with -road hardware, increased maneuverability, ground clearance, trail mode and accessories,” he added.
JD Power reported in September That the Jeep Wrangler offered an advantage on price and value, reliability and quality, while the Ford Bronco had an advantage on performance and efficiency, safety and driving assistance, infotainment and technology, comfort and utility.
“And we both know that the Explorer is America’s bestselling SUV of all time,” said Cadiz.
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Companies continue to brag about trail testing, four-wheel drive, which automatically adjusts torque between wheels, drive modes that include deep snow and sand, hill descent control, underbody skid plates, stabilizer bars and springs Huh.
When it comes to serious off-road capability, Erin Riches-Wong wrote for JD Power, “…Jeep faced stiff competition for the first time in decades.”
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