Experienced Industry Insider Ideas
We thought you might be tired of hearing what we'd do with Jeep, well Cappa didn't-he tried to get more pages. So we went looking for industry insiders who have been around for a while and have had the experience of seeing where Jeep was decades ago and where it is today. We ended up with 260 years of experience between them and asked them if they were given Jeep to run, would they do anything differently? Would they keep things the same? We ran into some interesting (weird) ideas, and some that just make good sense-and we wonder why we didn't come up with it.
Who: John Currie
Company: Currie Enterprises-Manufactures suspensions, complete heavy-duty axles, and parts
Years Experience: 41
I like what they are doing with the JK, but they should have done it sooner. The upcoming color-matched hardtop and Pentastar V-6 are both good things and I hear the new interior is an improvement. Keep the straight axles. Jeep is a niche market. Historically they wanted to appeal to the person who didn't want what the other manufacturer's had to offer. Now they are getting away from that and trying to cater to too broad a market. They need to keep the large wheel openings so that bigger tires are possible easily, unlike the FJ Cruiser. Stay with a frame. I wonder why Ford and Chevy don't build something similar to the Wrangler.
Who: Anonymous source inside Jeep
Company: Jeep-Manufactures the vehicles we all love
Years Experience: Non-applicable
I would put tow hooks, or at the very least, make them available as an option on every Jeep made. It is a Jeep, it should be expected that it will go off-road, and even if it didn't, it should be able to help lesser vehicles out when needed. I would also address approach, departure, and break-over angles. A Jeep needs to have high ground clearance. I feel that with the Fiat partnership more Jeep-like Jeeps might be possible than were possible with Daimler.
Who: John Smith
Company: Anonymous lift kit manufacturer
Years Experience: 12
Fire every marketing person. Eliminate checks and balances that make things take so long from inception to conception. Get rid of all the power people who don't understand the Jeep people. The JK should have been the XJ replacement and the short-wheelbased Jeep should have stayed smaller, more nimble, and so on.
Who: Jim Reel
Company: JE Reel-Rebuilds old drivelines, builds new ones, also has bolt-on heavy duty driveshafts
Years Experience: 38
I understand trying to increase market share through offering more models, but they don't need nine models. Offer packages on some core models that make them more attractive to a wider customer base. I would like to see Jeep go back to its roots, but I'm not sure that the company can survive on the Wrangler. There needs to be a Gladiator truck based off a small Jeep, but a Jeep truck with an integral bed is not a good idea. Ford tried it and it cracked all over the place. The Wrangler needs a body that doesn't dent when you lean against it-will the body tear over time? The driveshaft in the JK is a joke-a typical case of a bean counter saving a few cents making the end user spend more.
Who: Larie Tales
Company: Jeeps R Us-Modifies and restores Jeeps
Years Experience: 22
Kill that friggin' V-6 engine and build a Jeep with a V-8. Let Fiat have the Patriot and Compass (Editor's note: They probably wouldn't want them). I'm not personally convinced a Jeep should have four doors, but sales numbers say otherwise. Make the computers have less control of the vehicle, such as the computer-controlled line pressure on automatic transmissions. Cut the product line back to the Wrangler and Grand Cherokee.