November 30, 2021

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The Jeep Grand Wagoneer Would not be a Massive Success

The reviews are breaking currently on the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer. As Jeep resurrects a single of its most historical comprehensive-sizing nameplates from a 3-10 years slumber, it is getting a lot of favourable push protection. But Jeep is in for a world of disappointment in a couple of yrs.

The outdated SJ Wagoneer was undeniably an icon and wants its individual Scarce Rides tale (I’ll get on that before long). Modified only minimally in a operate from 1963 to 1991, the Grand Wagoneer was an aged warhorse that offered to the nicely-heeled in a pre-Array Rover globe. It was a environment that did not have luxury SUVs in it, except the Grand Wagoneer. The press photograph higher than exhibits you who purchased it and is just one of the very best PR pics I have at any time witnessed. Mister Jimmy Dallas and his 3rd wife Carol, outside the house their favored steak position.

But by Grand Wagoneer’s demise in 1991 the SUV current market had modified. Competitors came from all instructions, on the domestic side as the Suburban turned ever-extra lavish, and from Europe in the kind of the Variety Rover and (gray current market) Mercedes G-Wagen. Quick ahead to the present day, and the competitors is even far more intense. Just about each upmarket model fields a whole-size luxury SUV, whether or not of crossover or truck origins.

That hibernation from 1991-2022 is an problem for the Grand Wagoneer. Jimmy Dallas and Carol are lifeless or have moved on to a person of the multitude of other prestige luxurious SUVs. Domestic, European, Japanese, choose your select! Folks beneath the age of 35 or so who are not fascinated in auto background don’t know what the Grand Wagoneer title implies. Resurrecting the brand name is handy for luxury SUV purposes, but they waited way too prolonged to do it. I won’t harp on that issue any further, I’ll just say that Chrysler/FCA/Daimler/Stellantis has dropped the SUV ball given that 1994 when the new Ram 1500 lacked an SUV sibling. They proceed to drop this ball nowadays.

The Grand Wagoneer is also also pricey. And I necessarily mean that supplied its branding, deficiency of status recognition among shoppers, and frankly its dealership community. As Tim cited in his evaluation, the Grand has a base rate of $86,995 and climbs to $106,000 for a thoroughly-loaded Series III instance right after location demand. That is full-lux pricing, in a league with the likes of Vary Rover, Cadillac Escalade, Lexus LX, and it is extra high-priced than all trims of Lincoln Navigator. What’s the driving drive behind this selling price? It’s dependent on a Ram truck platform (and which is good) and shares a Ram V8 (also fantastic). But Grand Wagoneer simply just does not have the identify recognition Jeep thinks it does. And when luxurious consumers stroll into a Jeep showroom and communicate to Chad Foursquare and are provided a compact bottle of Aquafina, they are not likely to really feel very high-class.

I assume Jeep is painting by itself into the corner of model differentiation challenges. There are now two Grand Cherokees (regular and L) on a unibody system like often, and two Wagoneers (typical and Grand) based on the Ram 1500. To most observers, these all glance the exact, and they are all “Jeep SUVs,” other than the Wagoneers price tag $35,000-$65,000 additional than Cherokees that glance the similar and are about the identical measurement. “Ah, but the Wagoneers are trucks and have nicer interiors,” you will say. Worth that type of price jump however?

The new Grand Wagoneer essential wooden slabs on the sides if it was going to pull off the distinct image of the previous Grand Wagoneer. The styling cues are a bit way too literal exactly where they shouldn’t be (pillars, all the chrome trim) for Jeep not to acquire it all the way and slap some wood on the side. The Grand Wagoneer would’ve been in a course of its own at that position. Massive, bold, and incredibly American. They brought back an icon (as well late) and then sorta 50 %-assed it. Choosing white as its PR color of alternative was also a oversight since it seems like a major floppy van-like whale. I’d hardly ever feel it was truck-dependent, but relatively a Grand Cherokee L-XL set up.

This qualified prospects me to Jeep’s eventual disappointment. With pricing sky substantial and a crowded field of bonafide luxury competitiveness, I’m predicting slower income than Jeep expects. It’ll provide at debut to some individuals who want to be diverse, never want a Selection Rover, and are prepared to place up with servicing at their Jeep-Eagle-AMC-Plymouth vendor at the community car shopping mall. There will also be a handful of moneyed AMC die-difficult retirees who are ready to pay out for the Grand Wagoneer name and park it future to their Matador in the garage. But these people today will only buy a single. In a couple of years I’m anticipating a massive cliff facial area wherever Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer sales are concerned. At that point, Jeep will when once again retire the icon. Perhaps this challenge may possibly spawn the full-sizer ChryCo should’ve been generating all along: a 7-passenger, 3-row Ramcharger and Ramcharger XL.

[Images: Tim Healey / TTAC, AMC]

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