AUBURN HILLS, Michigan – Fiat-Chrysler is mulling a new plan to let dealers open stand-alone Jeep centers, satellite facilities that would be designed to accommodate the expanding Jeep lineup.
The automaker is also considering improving the Jeep sales-and-service experience for car shoppers. The proposed changes should make it easier for consumers to check out the products and accessories.
In addition to such mainstay models as the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Wrangler, the brand is expected to launch the Jeep Grand Wagoneer in 2019. The Wagoneer takes Jeep into high-end territory by targeting the Cadillac Escalade, Range Rover Sport and Lexus LX 570.
“There will be many circumstances where creating a stand-alone presence for Jeep will not only benefit the dealer in terms of giving them extra capacity, but will also benefit Jeep’s profile and presence in the marketplace as we continue to fill out our portfolio,” Mike Manley, head of Jeep and Ram brands, told Edmunds in a recent interview.
Discussions are being held with the dealer council to determine the plan.
“The feedback I got from the dealers is that they are very supportive of it,” Manley said. “So I am hoping that before we get to the end of the year, we begin to see the emergence of some stand-alone Jeep dealers.”
In terms of boosting the sales-and-service experience, Manley said the automaker is considering “customer handling, our aspirations for how we would like a Grand Wagoneer, Grand Cherokee or even a Renegade customer to be treated.”
Separating a brand from the main showroom is not new for Fiat-Chrysler.
Some 35 Ram dealers last year had a separate sales-and-service facility and that number is expected to rise this year. Those dealers tend to be commercial-truck focused and are required to have heavy lifts, tall garage doors and same-day service for business customers.
When asked how many of its 2,341 U.S. dealers are expected to seek a dedicated Jeep showroom, Manley said he could not cite a number but that it “certainly will be within the hundreds.”
Edmunds says: Car shoppers may soon see some major changes at Jeep dealerships, making it easier to explore a wide variety of models and customization options.