Jeep Cherokee Goes Posh with New Overland Trim

If you want to know what’s coming to Australia (perhaps) it’s best to go to the US websites regarding anything Jeep, Chrysler or Dodge.

Arguably even before it’s announced here down under, your intrepid car journo has tracked down a new edition to the Jeep Cherokee lineup, the luxurious Overland model.

Now the pertinent question seems to be with Cherokee whether an upmarket model is going to make ANY sort of difference to its sales volume or will this be another case of long-suffering Jeep dealers having to stock something that just isn’t selling well enough.

In my opinion, the problem with Jeep Cherokee goes way back to when it was launched. The launch price was too high then and even with recent price actions to reduce the drive away price, Jeep has missed the boat. Dealer have had to accept a reduced margin on the vehicle with Fiat Chrysler increasing prices on other models massively to cover ‘the falling Australian dollar”

My inside information from when I was a Jeep dealer, was that pricing structure was based around the dollar at 70c v the US currency. And given that we’ve only just gone under the magic 70c number it would be interesting to hear the reasons for the price increase on Grand Cherokee. I’m told that the SRT has risen by almost $5000. That movement will probably put a lot of potential buyers off with a model that is now well outside its launch date.

Jeep dropped volume from 30408 in 2014 to 24418 in the year just gone. That’s a decrease of almost 25% in a market that celebrated an all time record.

So what’s the solution for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in Australia?  Not as easy as it may seem. First of all, they need to loosen the marketing budget strings. Whilst Don’t Hold Back can still work, the aging ads on television (granny’s and the cricket versions) are tired and in need of a botox regime.

If dealers can’t or don’t make any profit, they’re less inclined to stock and sell the brand or if they do, and the stock is aging, its rip and shred time.

And more particularly, in my opinion, FCA need to fix the brands reliability problem and look after their customers. Whilst Chairman of the Chrysler Jeep Dodge Dealer Council, I implored the directors to implement a program to get customers back into the dealerships. It never happened – they were more focused on adding new owners into the mix than looking after the existing ones. Those customers, the ones who have had bad experiences are the next generation of Jeep buyers.

If they hate their product or even dislike it a lot, there must be a strategic plan put in place to recover these owners. Don’t say it can’t be done – it can and even I as an individual dealer had problem customers that we were able to recover.

The Jeep Cherokee line-up has gotten a more luxurious Overland model.

Making its debut at the 2016 New England International Auto Show, the 2016 Jeep Cherokee Overland will be priced from $35,690 including destination and will arrive at Jeep dealerships this spring. (US Price indicated – don’t even think that you’ll pay that in Australia. My thought? Circa $50,000 +)

Helping elevate the Jeep Cherokee to new levels of luxury, the Overland model features new body-color fascias with a bright front grille and chin extension, body-color door cladding and wheel flares, new 18-inch fully polished bright aluminum wheels, standard HID bi-xenon headlights and an Overland badge on the liftgate.

On the inside, the Jeep Cherokee Overland gets numerous premium enhancements including a leather-wrapped instrument panel, power front driver and passenger seat with four-way power lumbar, a new Jeep steering wheel with Zebrano high-gloss wood trim, bright door sill plates, Berber floor mats, standard Nappa leather seats with ventilated/heated front seats, standard Alpine audio system, Uconnect 8.4AN AM/FM radio with 8.4-in. touchscreen display and Bluetooth.

Also standard on the Overland model are a power liftgate, blind spot monitoring and rear crosspath detection and a Parksense rear backup assist system.

Options include the heavy duty protection group (skid plates and full-size spare tire) and the technology group that includes advanced brake assist, auto high beam headlamp control, lane departure warning, forward collision mitigation, parallel and perpendicular park assist, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, ParkSense front and rear park assist with rear stop, rain sensitive windshield wipers, wireless charging pad, remote CD player, engine block heater and sunroof.



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