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Jeep thinks big again

Making great again: Jeep president Christian Meunier says Jeep’s reliability problems are over.

Strategy overhaul for Jeep in Australia targets 50,000 sales a year for long haul

10 Dec 2019


JEEP’S global boss says he is confident a recovery strategy to be revealed in January will not only reverse falling sales sooner rather than later, but eventually bring record volume of up to 50,000 units per year.


Speaking to Australian journalists at the launch of the all-new Gladiator pick-up truck in New Zealand this week, Jeep global president Christian Meunier – the former head of Nissan’s luxury brand Infiniti – said the poor reliability and customer service issues that had held Jeep back were now a thing of the past, but perceptions lagged behind reality.


 “We need to have a look at that momentum in Australia, then I will personally feed Australia everything we can get, to get to the 50,000 units we deserve in Australia,” he said.


“Today, quality is not the problem. I think the problem is management of customers. You never leave by definition the customer between the dealer and manufacturer.


"The manufacturer’s role is to fix it immediately if the dealer doesn’t take good care of the customer for whatever reason. And that was not done.”


From a high of 30,408 sales in 2014, Jeep volume plummeted to 7326 units in 2018 and is down another 25 per cent to the end of November this year.


Despite this, Mr Meunier said he was confident goodwill for the brand was already on the up.


“What is very reassuring for me is that the brand is in good shape,” he said.


“The brand is well regarded. People love Jeep in Australia. They have a good image of the brand.


"The problem is, it is a little bit remote: ‘Jeep is about adventure, but what do I do with that adventure?’


"We need to transform to ‘Okay, you can have an adventure, but you also have authenticity, credibility, on-road capability and a car that can do a great job.’


“There is a work of trust that we need to re-establish with the customer.”


Mr Meunier said a number of quantifiable facts confirmed that Jeep could make a fast recovery in Australia.


“I’m also confident because of resale,” he said.


“Good residuals in used Jeeps – this is the best testament that the cars are good and well accepted. Otherwise resale would be bad.


“I’m also encouraged by the dealers. They are quite engaged, despite the fact that times are tough.


"These guys are waiting for the time when Jeep is going to be serious, is going to start growing again in this country, and is going to do the right thing. 


“I think in 2020, when we launch the plan –the entire plan that covers the brand, marketing, press and communications, customer experience, technical competence, product, positioning, pricing, pretty much everything –and we address all these things, you will see momentum building, because the employees are going tobelieve in Jeep again, the dealers are going to believe in Jeep again, and the customers are going to start talking about it. 


“There will be doubts about that, and it is going to take a bit of time, but I don’t think it is going to take, like five years.


"I think it is going to be pretty quick, because momentum builds momentum, and the brand doesn’t have broken foundations. 


“When you have broken foundations, then it becomes a problem that takes forever to rebuild, but I don’t think we are there, despitethe issues.”

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