Simple, serviceable, and durable is what built Jeep. Keep this rugged, American idea as part of the Jeep DNA before it becomes just a dodge with a 7 slot grille... New Cherokee, is that you? Compass? Patriot? Oh shit, too late.
As owners and fans of Jeep vehicles, we are calling on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles to separate Jeep from FCA's stable of failing brands and debt. We urge FCA to execute a spinoff to save Jeep.
We are greatly concerned about Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Group's stewardship of this iconic American brand.
FCA, even with record sales, remains €6 billion in debt. The plan for reducing that debt rests squarely on the back of the Jeep and Ram brands, which are significantly outperforming all other FCA units.
FCA Group's ownership of Jeep endangers the brand.
FCA's plan is not to honor the Jeep brand, but to cannibalize it. Rather than focus on making Jeeps that reflect the rugged heritage of Willys Overland, American Motors, and even the pre-Fiat Jeep Wranglers and Cherokees, FCA is making vehicles that cater to European tastes and regulations. The Jeep Renegade, while selling well, reflects none of the Jeep reputation for rugged, offroad capability.
The Jeep Cherokee lines reflect little of the Jeep reputation for durability that is reflected in the high resale value of older Jeeps. Instead, the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee have been the subject of 33 recalls in the last two years.
Fiat runs the risk of making Jeep synonymous with poor quality and unsafe vehicles, threatening the resale value of not just newer vehicles, but undermining the entire brand and its history.
Jeep is more than a fountain of money
While Jeep owners and fans see the brand as an expression of the American ideal of outdoor adventure, FCA, despite its attempts to exploit that perception in its recent advertising, sees Jeep as a fountain of cash to save their company and pay off their staggering debt.
Fiat, to raise cash, has already spun-off another iconic brand: Ferrari. The spin off saves Ferrari from being tied to the flailing FCA and places it on independent footing to survive as a symbol of quality and high performance.
FCA should do the same for Jeep. We urge Sergio Marchionne and FCA to spin off the Jeep line of vehicles.