Jeep boss said that brand must stay true to its design heritage and stick with proper off-roaders
9 April 2018

Jeep 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.

“No. For me to move into that more sleek design is not something that appeals to me,” says Jeep CEO Michael Manley.

“I don’t want my vehicles to be cross-overs, I want my vehicles to be competitive against cross-overs,” he added.

Top 10 best crossover hatchbacks 2018

Manley acknowledges that since he took over Jeep in 2009, the market for car-like cross-over 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.

Jeep to launch four new models for Europe in 2018

Manley says Jeep has two design themes – it’s more off-road and traditional look defined by the Wrangler and Renegade. While the “sleeker” look is 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.

BMW M2 Competition leaks online with 405bhp M3 engine

In China and Europe, crossovers are gaining in popularity, catching-up with traditional saloon and hatchbacks for a growing share of the new car market.

And many buyers are taking their first step towards a high-riding vehicle in a cross-over 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.

More content:

BTCC 2018: Ingram charges to early points lead

Honda Civic Type R long-term review

Our Verdict

Jeep Wrangler

The Jeep Wrangler is the classic all-American heavy-duty off-roader. It is brilliant off road, but compromised on the tarmac

Join the debate

Comments
4

9 April 2018

You already have a cross over in your range mate.  Just so happens you give it the option of an okay and a good 4 wheel drive setup as well as fwd.

This bloke is almost as deluded as Mr Premium Premiuminess.

9 April 2018

The Jeep Renegade is Fiat 500L people carrier based, most are sold in front wheel drive only format. Compass is based on exactly the same chassis as the Renegade, Both are crossovers!

These Jeeps are no more offroad kings than most of the other crossovers on the market. This guy is certainly deluded. 

10 April 2018
They are talking about design. Read carefully.
I agree with him. Brand image is important.
I'm pleased that they didn't make foolish decisions like Ferrari and Bentley.

10 April 2018

..."one of the things that we’ve tried to do since 2009 is not do that,” he says. This attitude is to be commended (I hope) for not being banwagonists and remaining "hard core" . Clearly the company does not want to become a blancmange.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Jaguar E-Pace 2018 review hero front
    Car review
    20 April 2018
    Can Jaguar’s compact SUV bring flair and dynamic polish to a fast-growing class?
  • Audi TT RS Coupé
    First Drive
    20 April 2018
    The Audi TT RS has the looks, a vociferous engine and the supercar-baiting performance, but is it too uncompromising to use as a daily driver?
  • Lamborghini Urus review 2018 hero front
    First Drive
    19 April 2018
    The supercar maker's new 4x4 is massively capable wherever it goes, while being extremely conspicuous and costly while it does it
  • Skoda Kodiaq
    First Drive
    19 April 2018
    High-spec seven-seater Kodiaq begins its family life with a lot to prove — for Skoda and SUVs
  • Ford Focus RS Race Red Edition front
    First Drive
    18 April 2018
    Ford drafts in some tasty extras for this limited-run Focus RS swansong edition