According to Jeep CEO, Michael Manley, the company will resist launching a high-riding vehicle with car-like styling, such as a coupe-look body, because such a vehicle doesn’t fit its brand values.
“I don’t want my vehicles to be crossovers, I want my vehicles to be competitive against crossovers,” said Manley, while speaking to our sister magazine, Autocar UK.
Manley acknowledges that since he took over Jeep in 2009, the market for car-like crossover vehicles has grown considerably, but he believes Jeep must stay true to its design heritage.
“Maybe there is a big market for sleek design vehicles, but then you’re kind of bordering onto a CUV or softer UV and one of the things that we’ve tried to do since 2009 is not do that,” he says.
Manley says Jeep has two design themes – its more off-road and traditional look, defined by the Wrangler and Renegade, and the ‘sleeker’ look, defined by the Grand Cherokee and Compass.
“We’ll just have to continue to keep people interested in our design cues, because they’re important to the brand,” he says.
In China and Europe, crossovers are gaining in popularity, catching-up with traditional sedans and hatchbacks for a growing share of the new car markets.
And many buyers are taking their first step towards a high-riding vehicle in a crossover that drives more like a car than a 4x4. To choose a Jeep, there is still some compromise in driving manners and refinement.
“What we’ve done is try to have a car-like ride and drive. That’s important to us, the way that our customers feel when they drive our vehicles,” said Manley.
Manley also said that Jeep is likely to make an announcement about the future of diesel engines at FCA’s June 1 strategy announcement. “Investor day would be the most appropriate time to talk in more detail about diesel,” he said.
In India, Jeep will introduce the Compass Trailhawk in the coming months.