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Jeep hatches new Easter eggs
Cheeky surprises for customers highlight attention to detail, says Jeep
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6 Mar 2017
By DANIEL GARDNER in TEXAS
JEEP is continuing to surprise and delight its customers with a whole new set of so-called “Easter eggs” concealed throughout its new Compass small SUV, following the lead of its Renegade baby sister.
Renegade customers have been discovering the hidden nods to company heritage scattered about its interior and exterior since the model launched globally in early 2015 and in Australia later the same year, but the all-new Compass now has its own secrets to reveal too.
Examples in the case of the Renegade include a tiny silhouette of a yeti strolling across the rear window glass, a seven-slot grille serves as an air-vent for the rear-view mirror and look closely and you might find a map of the Rubicon trail somewhere, to name a few.
More obvious company trademark references such as the ‘gas can’ cross can be seen in the rear lights and roof as well as a liberal application of the Willys Jeep grille throughout.
GoAuto is respecting Jeep’s request to keep the Compass’ hidden gems a secret for customers to enjoy unearthing themselves, but hawk-eyed Jeep fans can pore over the new Compass when it arrives in the fourth quarter of this year.
At the global launch of the new model in Texas, two of Jeep’s key design directors told GoAuto that the mystery of the visual treats was what keeps them special.
“It’s not something that we want to make a big deal,” said Compass interior design senior manager Cliff Wilkins. “It’s better if we don't really talk about it because then it’s special.”
Jeep Compass exterior chief designer Vince Galante explained that the whole Easter egg idea had evolved organically and was completely unlike any other part of Jeep’s design process.
“We go on online forums just as any Jeep fanatic does and we kept noticing that they find these little obscure things in the cars so we thought we should put something in there for them,” he said.
“It caught on and it’s been kind of fun so we continue to do it.
“It’s not really a process to do them, as we are developing the car we say ‘what if we did this’ they are very organic.”
Mr Galante said the little surprises are likely to be found in future Jeep models as long as they remained a fun and spontaneous part of the design and not a forced process.
“As long as it never turns into a process, it’s part of the personality of the people who are making the cars, the personality of the cars themselves. It’s very organic.”
A sentiment seconded by Mr Wilkins who said “We’re going to evolve and we are going to think there are more important things to talk about. It’s not (a matter of) check that box.
“It’s just a creative expression that happens on an individual basis.
“Maybe we’ll never do it again or maybe one little special thing that somebody comes up with, but we are not going to do that as a process.”
While the series of surprise pop culture references are partly intended to continue amusing owners for many months, perhaps even years, after they take delivery of their car, Mr Wilkins said the idea is indicative of a holistic attention to detail.
“It’s not like we just stick a badge on it. There’s a culture that goes into it. The people who do work on Dodge design are absolutely passionate about Chrysler. The people who do work on Jeep are passionate Jeep nuts.
“It’s a message that says if someone designed the details then they obviously cared about the whole process.”
While it is not part of the Jeep policy to explain any of the details in favour of customers imagining their own meaning, Mr Galante did tell GoAuto that the mythical beings that feature somewhere in the car are representative of the Jeep outback adventure spirit.
“It’s the Loch Ness Monster. Or it’s a sea monster,” he said.
“One day we were just talking about the Yeti and he’s kind of mystical and they are nature’s mysteries and there were some talks in the studio so we thought what else has got this unique profile and we thought of the humps.”
Mr Valante concluded by saying that the fun and enjoyment that each member of the design team experiences and ploughs back into each model is not limited to just the Jeep brand.
“I think I can speak even outside of Jeep. I think FCA in general – there is so much personality in general. Whether it’s a Jeep, a Dodge, Alfa Romeo, Fiat, they are full of personality”.
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