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Top Brass Advocate for separate Jeep Showrooms

Top Brass Advocate for separate Jeep Showrooms

With the home of Stellantis constantly exploring the higher echelons of what customers will pay for a rig with a Jeep badge on the nose, it seems that putting six-figure Grand Wagoneer L models alongside entry-level Ram work trucks has become passé. If some corner office dwellers have their way, Jeeps — or at least the hip ones — could earn a spot in their own showroom.

It is, of course, a trick as old as the auto industry itself. Witness the specter of Lincoln showrooms winding their way through Ford stores like a caramel-colored slice of sweet cake. Separating the wheat from the chaff is a common way to serve customers who plan to spend the big bucks, especially if they’re new to the brand and trading an old luxury brand. Jeep wants to participate in this promotion.

According to Automotive News, Christian Meunier, the brand’s CEO, expects more than 300 dealers to add only Jeep sections to their premises over the next two calendar years. He expects these spaces to house rigs like the Grand Wagoneer L mentioned above, plus the off-road brand’s upcoming all-electric SUVs. Some, like the Michigan-based LaFontaine dealer shown at the top of this post, jumped on the idea in pre-pandemic times, reserving (and burning) a wing of their new facility solely to sell Jeeps.

Note that nowhere in the letter is it suggested that there is a standalone dealer for Jeep. GM went down that road 15 years ago with the Hummer brand, leaving many of its inventively designed buildings high and dry when The General smothered the brand with a pillow during an embarrassing stay through bankruptcy. Still, there’s an appetite to loosen Jeep a little bit from the typical Stellantis dealer basket.

“Because of the product plan and the growth opportunities for Jeep in North America over the next five years, I think dealers will be very engaged,” Meunier said in an interview with Automotive News† This author recently spent a lot of time chatting with the CEO of Jeep during the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab and can confidently say that the man is doing everything he can to push the Jeep envelope both in terms of product and price.

Will dealer groups and retailers be on board with this idea? If we know the thought processes of dealer principals, we can confidently say that they will only jump when they see the return on investment – ​​or a change in their allocations, of course. It’ll be interesting to see who picks up the gauntlet versus who continues to pack six-figure Grand Wagoneers with stripped-down work vans.

[Image: LaFontaine Automotive Group]

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