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Mid-life refresh brings welcome changes for Jeep’s likeable Grand Cherokee
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9 Jun 2017
By TIM ROBSON
THERE’S no escaping the fact that clouds are shading the sunny skies that once represented Jeep’s Grand Cherokee sales.
For the last three years, the numbers tell the story. From a high of 16,582 sales in 2014 to 11,964 in 2015, and dropping down to 6379 in 2016, the Grand Cherokee has come off the boil for Aussie consumers.
Even today, its year-to-date total of 2069 units to the end of May is 34 per cent off the pace from the year previous.
In some ways, though, the hands of the local company are zip-tied together. Coming out of a turbulent period where leadership was lacking and volume was prized over profit, and having to deal with a raft of recalls and customer dissatisfaction as a result, the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Australia ship needs to be righted – and simply putting a red pen through the price ticket isn’t the answer.
A new management team – now led by no-nonsense Jeep lifer Steve Zanlunghi – a refreshed dealer network and a new commitment to a five-year warranty are some of the answers, but the rest of the solution lies in the product.
Jeep is running a long game with the Grand Cherokee – the current car could see service until at least 2022 – so the company regards this refresh as a ‘mid-life action’, even though it’s been on sale for almost seven years, and the changes are incremental, rather than all encompassing.
Has Jeep done enough to win back the hearts and minds of Aussie large SUV buyers?
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