The ship is sinking and there is but ONE cargo on board that’s worth saving. Sales are down and the concept vehicles don’t promise much hope for the future. The big government bailed out the big three. Actually, that’s only 33% true. Ford revamped it’s entire fleet, drastically improved quality and took not one single dollar from the government to do it. (Kudos to Ford). The other two took significant bail outs from The Bank of Obama, member FDIC*. GM is cutting costs and is at least acting like they want to survive. The other….not so much. If somehow you haven’t guessed who I’m talking about you can stop straining your last remaining brain cell because I’ll tell you. The ship is Chrysler and that cargo worth saving is Jeep.
Please, think of the Jeeps…
FACT: Chrysler hasn’t been worth anything since the days where mullet sporting drag racers actually knew what the word “Mopar” represented. And to add insult to injury, they’ve just been dug out of bankruptcy by Fiat; the Italian car company that makes unreliable cars no one actually wants. (Unless of course, your name is James May.) The only marginally successful Chrysler vehicles released in recent years were based on platforms resurrected from the Mercedes parts bin. A bin they no longer have access to.
But there is one shining star in the Titanic like wreckage we call Chrysler and it’s Jeep. For the scope of this article I’m only going to talk about the Wrangler which in my opinion, is the only true Jeep left. The funniest part about this whole fiasco is the irony of the situation. Chrysler attempted to make vehicles the consumer needed but ended up making cars they didn’t want. Jeep on the other hand, makes vehicles no one needs but everyone wants. Once more, Jeep has been selling basically the same vehicle for the last 25 years. The Jeep Wrangler was introduced in 1987 with the famous inline 6 engine that remained largely unchanged till 2006 when it was swapped for a shitty V6 (got a bone to pick here but I’ll try and be good). Live axles in the front and rear, tortuous ride, shit gas mileage, and no trunk…yet it’s a vehicle everyone LOVES. Something about the Jeep just screams fun. Maybe you got the hard top version and took the doors off. Maybe you got the soft top and love getting the fresh air during the summer. Whatever the reason, the Jeep Wrangler has a formula that everyone can appreciate. It’s a vehicle that’s ready for anything you can throw in its path.
Want to go here? Buy a Jeep and a trail guide.
So unlike the captain of the ship, I’d like not to see Jeep go down to Davey Jones’s locker. It’s for this reason I feel like it needs to be saved. The formula has stood the test of time and someone needs to keep it alive. But who? Let’s look at the potentials.
Well this sorta makes sense. If Government Motors acquired Jeep it would keep it “in the family” sort of speak. I think this might work for other reasons too. The new V6’s that have graced the Wrangler in recent years (the EGH and the Pentastar) are arguably two of the shittiest
engines boat anchors ever bolted to a drivetrain. (I only said I’d TRY to be good) GM might not be good for a whole lot but they sure build one hell of an engine. Yes, one…THE one and only LSX engine series. Known to most as GHGM**. Plenty of torque and torture tested performance sounds like a perfect fit for the Wrangler. But what does GM know about offroad performance? Well….basically nothing. That’s why I think it’s probably not going to work out….NEXT!
Woah, that makes a whole lot of sense doesn’t it? Land Rover, one of the few companies that still cares about offroad performance. And they are at least somewhat American since they were owned by Ford in the not so distant past. My bearded associate Rob would tell you that the Land Rover Defender D90 is the single best offroad production vehicle on the planet. And truthfully, he’s right. As much as I’d argue that I could buy two Rubicon’s and modify them to be BETTER than the D90 for the same price, he’s absolutely right. Out of the box, nothing beats a D90; nothing. But with used examples of the D90 coming in at over $60,000 here in the states, it’s not exactly a cheap. And that right there is the problem. If Jeep was absorbed into Land Rover you could get Land Rover performance and the badge to go with it for less than half the price. Careful you, the marketing department just put a hit out on you. The Wrangler can’t coexist in the Land Rover brand because it would be priced at such a high level no one would buy it anymore….NEXT!
All of our mullet and Hemi loving friends just felt a disturbance in the force. Yes, I said it. Jeep would indeed be better off in the hands of the Japanese. Let’s face it, Italy is good at making things fast and sexy but not so great at making them tough and reliable. The only time an Italian vehicle leaves the road is when it’s going so fast the driver won’t survive. Toyota has an extraordinary legacy of making outrageously tough vehicles that are unstoppable offroad. The FJ, the 4Runner, the Land Cruiser, the Tacoma(duh), and the NEW FJ. All of these vehicles are virtually incapable of being harmed by the elements (or Top Gear) and soldier on no matter what. Plus the company hasn’t completely lost it’s way either. I’d argue that Toyota is the only brand today that offers a similar vehicle to the Wrangler at an affordable price. Really, other than the FJ what else is there? Not only do I think the soul of Jeep would survive if it were taken over by Toyota; I actually think it would improve. And that’s the God’s honest truth.
*FDIC: Funded by Debt In Crazyland
**God’s Horsepower Gift to Man