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...as they should because I always dreaded stepping into a Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep dealer. It also couldn't come at a better time because selling a Denali-esque Wagoneer next to a Dodge Dart or Jeep Renegade, is just odd

Retailers spend big to split off Jeep showrooms
Vince Bond Jr.

4 minutes


While that's not a typical sale, co-owner John Grant says the store's sole focus on Jeep has helped it draw fans who can spend big money loading up their vehicles. The dealership, which opened in March, sells T-shirts and plays rock 'n' roll music while paying homage to the brand's past with displays of old Jeeps. Grant said the atmosphere is designed to create an experience for customers.

"This Jeep lifestyle is different," Grant told Automotive News. "In the standalone store, these people are fun, they wear blue jeans, they wear T-shirts, they are definitely in the upper-income model. It is amazing what people will do and what they spend personalizing these vehicles."

In Las Vegas, Grant is delivering 100 Jeeps a month, more than double the brand's volume last year at his full-line FCA store across the street.

Some dealers have built standalone Jeep stores while others have remodeled their full-line operations to add Jeep-focused showrooms. FCA says its U.S. retail network has 59 locations that either are standalone Jeep stores or have dedicated Jeep showrooms. The number of standalone Jeep dealerships was steady at 12 from 2016 through 2018 but increased by two last year, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

The automaker hopes having Jeep-centered retail environments, staffed by people who know the ins and outs of the lineup, can help the brand grow by appealing to a wider range of customers. FCA is looking to put more of a focus on Jeep as it prepares for a product offensive that includes the premium Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, along with a redesigned Grand Cherokee.

A Wrangler plug-in hybrid is destined for U.S. showrooms by the end of this year and soon could be joined by a V-8-powered Wrangler.

Steve Wolf, dealer principal at Helfman Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram-Fiat in Houston, said he's planning to make a "big investment" to upgrade his store with a separate Jeep showroom. He's excited about what's in the product pipeline and is looking to swipe customers from General Motors and Ford Motor Co. with the upcoming Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

"That's how committed we are to the future of Jeep," Wolf said. "Our market and our store is really geared for Jeep. We're in a pretty affluent area."

During the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in February, Grant spent a day with global Jeep boss Christian Meunier, who came by the new dealership before it officially opened. He said Meunier is focused on making the Jeep experience "second to none," and separate showrooms help achieve that.

Opening Jeep Only cost about $15 million, an investment that was planned out before COVID-19 struck. But Grant believes the move is paying off by attracting newcomers to the brand. Grant, who said he was given "total autonomy" to build the store how he wanted, encourages other dealers to create a unique environment for Jeep, no matter the scale.

"I'm in the middle of COVID and I'm selling twice as many as I did a year ago," Grant said. "You don't have to spend what I spent, but it's got to be a different, boutique-type atmosphere."

Grant's partner in Jeep Only, Doug Moreland, also co-owns Fort Collins Jeep with Downey. The Colorado store, which cost about $13 million, opened a year ago on the site of an abandoned lumberyard that had become an eyesore.
 

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...as they should because I always dreaded stepping into a Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep dealer. It also couldn't come at a better time because selling a Denali-esque Wagoneer next to a Dodge Dart or Jeep Renegade, is just odd

Retailers spend big to split off Jeep showrooms
Vince Bond Jr.

4 minutes


While that's not a typical sale, co-owner John Grant says the store's sole focus on Jeep has helped it draw fans who can spend big money loading up their vehicles. The dealership, which opened in March, sells T-shirts and plays rock 'n' roll music while paying homage to the brand's past with displays of old Jeeps. Grant said the atmosphere is designed to create an experience for customers.

"This Jeep lifestyle is different," Grant told Automotive News. "In the standalone store, these people are fun, they wear blue jeans, they wear T-shirts, they are definitely in the upper-income model. It is amazing what people will do and what they spend personalizing these vehicles."

In Las Vegas, Grant is delivering 100 Jeeps a month, more than double the brand's volume last year at his full-line FCA store across the street.

Some dealers have built standalone Jeep stores while others have remodeled their full-line operations to add Jeep-focused showrooms. FCA says its U.S. retail network has 59 locations that either are standalone Jeep stores or have dedicated Jeep showrooms. The number of standalone Jeep dealerships was steady at 12 from 2016 through 2018 but increased by two last year, according to the Automotive News Data Center.

The automaker hopes having Jeep-centered retail environments, staffed by people who know the ins and outs of the lineup, can help the brand grow by appealing to a wider range of customers. FCA is looking to put more of a focus on Jeep as it prepares for a product offensive that includes the premium Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer, along with a redesigned Grand Cherokee.

A Wrangler plug-in hybrid is destined for U.S. showrooms by the end of this year and soon could be joined by a V-8-powered Wrangler.

Steve Wolf, dealer principal at Helfman Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram-Fiat in Houston, said he's planning to make a "big investment" to upgrade his store with a separate Jeep showroom. He's excited about what's in the product pipeline and is looking to swipe customers from General Motors and Ford Motor Co. with the upcoming Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer.

"That's how committed we are to the future of Jeep," Wolf said. "Our market and our store is really geared for Jeep. We're in a pretty affluent area."

During the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in February, Grant spent a day with global Jeep boss Christian Meunier, who came by the new dealership before it officially opened. He said Meunier is focused on making the Jeep experience "second to none," and separate showrooms help achieve that.

Opening Jeep Only cost about $15 million, an investment that was planned out before COVID-19 struck. But Grant believes the move is paying off by attracting newcomers to the brand. Grant, who said he was given "total autonomy" to build the store how he wanted, encourages other dealers to create a unique environment for Jeep, no matter the scale.

"I'm in the middle of COVID and I'm selling twice as many as I did a year ago," Grant said. "You don't have to spend what I spent, but it's got to be a different, boutique-type atmosphere."

Grant's partner in Jeep Only, Doug Moreland, also co-owns Fort Collins Jeep with Downey. The Colorado store, which cost about $13 million, opened a year ago on the site of an abandoned lumberyard that had become an eyesore.
This should've been done a while ago. Jeep's brand and lineup is so much different than Dodge and Chrysler. Glad to see it's paying off for them.

They're going to need a lot of space (literally and figuratively) to promote the wagoneer.
 
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