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Monday, January 20, 2014

Jeep CEO Talks Wrangler and the Brand's Growth Potential

2014 Detroit Auto Show





At the 2014 Detroit auto show, we had the opportunity to sit down with Jeep CEO Mike Manley. With the Wrangler due for some major changes, we ask him about the brand’s halo model, efficiency, and how the brand can move forward.
Car and Driver: The Cherokee launch was pretty rocky. What did you learn?
Mike Manley: We were very clear right from the beginning that the vehicle would only be launched when we were 100 percent happy with the quality and development work. And that took us longer than we thought, for sure. So we delayed the launch until we were comfortable that we had the right calibration in the transmission and everything was fine for the car, which we think was absolutely the right thing to do. What we’ve learned is that we made the right decision that it has to be right before it’s launched, and that we have to be less transparent with the media as to what our target dates are because it’s unhelpful when you’re saying “the vehicle’s delayed, the vehicle’s delayed,” when we’ve been clear that we’re not going to release it until the vehicle is ready.
C/D: Do hybrids fit the Jeep brand?
MM: Over time, absolutely. It’s impossible for me to say very specifically when, but we’ve made significant gains in fuel economy with every vehicle we’ve launched, we’ve brought diesel to Grand Cherokee, and we’ll continue to drive fuel economy gains. And at some stage, with all of the standards coming, hybrids will be required.
C/D: The Wrangler community is bracing itself for some big changes with the next one, including an independent suspension and a diesel engine. Would you agree that their expectations are legitimate?
MM: What I would say to them is that Wrangler and what it stands for is very important to the brand. Obviously what we need to do with next-generation Wrangler is drive its fuel economy in the right direction, some of which will include weight, some of that will include new technology, but it has to be a Wrangler, which means it has to be capable. To some extent, a Wrangler is a canvas, and many of our customers like to customize their Wrangler, and we recognize that in the next generation that still has to be a very simple thing for them to do. In terms of diesel, that’s something we’re looking at, because I think diesel is, potentially, a powertrain solution for Wrangler.
C/D: Is Wrangler a victim of its own success, in that because it’s selling so well as two models you have no incentive to add another body style or try new things?
MM: If I was only relying on what happens today, the marketplace would take me over. If I rely on the Wrangler selling out as being the picture in two years time, I’m going to find myself in a very different situation, trying to catch up. You have to live in the world of the future when you think about what you want to do with your product. One of the things we’ve learned loud and clear since the emergence from the restructuring is very proactive lifecycle management, and we’ve benefited from that. If you take Compass and Patriot, for example, we’ve just had a record year with those. And one of the reasons is we’ve had a much better approach with lifecycle management, with special editions, with sometimes a minor (styling) intervention that is important to our customers. We have an environment where resting on laurels is not rewarded.
C/D: Land Rover, the other dedicated off-road brand, has really stretched their brand with urbane vehicles like the Evoque. Can Jeep do that?
MM: I think we can stretch our brand, and we can probe these segments. One of these will be the B-SUV that we launch in Europe next year, and we’ve talked about Grand Wagoneer, which will stretch our brand onto the upper luxury side. And the brand can certainly take that with no problems as long as we execute properly.  We’ve already done it to a degree with the SRT Grand Cherokee, which is capability in a different form.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Great Holiday Gifts for Jeep Lovers

The holidays are in full swing! Have you been trying to find that perfect gift for the Jeep Lover in your life? 
Let us help with some great ideas to wrap up this holiday!


PERFECT GIFTS FOR A JEEP LOVER:

1. Merry Jeep-Mas wrangler holiday necktie




2. Recovery Gear Kit




3. Life is Good® Holiday Mug Set, Santa / Heart
 



4. Portable Cargo Tote
Jeep Cargo Tote




5. Jeep Cell Phone Skin
shovel 




6. Jeep Dog Toys
 




7. Women's Jeep Military Hat




8. Jeep Roadside Safety Kit
safety kit 



9. Jeep T-Shirts
Jeep Mud Splatter Tee 




10. Jeep Sportz Tents
Jeep Commander tent 


Why would you like to see under your tree this year? 

Lahti's Jeep would like to wish you all a Happy and Safe Holiday and New Year!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Which Celebrities Own Jeeps?

When you think of celebritys' and their cars, you tend to think Rolls Royce, Aston Martin, etc. Well, some celebrities with great taste have been seen whipping around in Jeeps! 

I know, Jeeps are just too hard to resist. They give an aura of badass, heavy duty and just pure awesomeness!

Here are some A-Listers with their Jeeps:


Lebron James

Lindsey Lohan

Tyrese Gibson

David Beckham

Jay-Z & Beyonce

Justin Timberlake

Reese Witherspoon


Which Celebrities do you know of that drive Jeeps?






Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fun Jeep Facts

Originally called GP for military General Purpose vehicle, Jeep became the new name in the late 1940's from the cartoon Popeye's "Eugene the Jeep". 


The SUV Cherokee model was meant to depict the civility and the ruggedness of the Native American Cherokees.



The military GP's (Jeeps) were initially produced by three companies- Willys, Ford and Bantom

The word Jeep is used as a common term for any 4-Wheel Vehicle in several countries across the world.

The company reverted to the classic round headlights for the TJ after people raised an outcry against the square lights.


The fenders on the earliest Jeeps were flat and not rounded like the later ones were. That's where the name "flatfender" originated from.


An old battered Jeep survived two beach landings and ended up receiving a Purple Heart.


Do YOU know any fun facts about Jeeps? Share with us!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Where Will You Take Your Jeep This Fall?

Have you ever taken part in a Jeep Jamboree? They happen all across the country all year long. The weather might be getting a little colder (it sure is in here in New England, so it’s time to turn those summer excursions into fall adventures). Whether it’s to a Jeep Jamboree, to your favorite off-roading spot, or on a dream trip, we want to know: Where will you take your Jeep vehicle this fall?


Below is a list of Jeep Jamborees happening around the country (and some autumn-flavored photos from our Jeep fans for inspiration).


24th Maine Mountains | Oct 3 - Oct 5 | Bethel, Maine
24th French Lick | Oct 3 - Oct 5 | French Lick, Indiana
15th Moab | Oct 17 - Oct 19 | Moab, Utah
20th Gateway to the Cumberlands | Oct 24 - Oct 26 | Williamsburg, Kentucky
24th Ouachita | Oct 24 - Oct 26 | Hot Springs, Arkansas
4th Cullman Alabama | Oct 31 - Nov 2 | Cullman, Alabama
1st Death Valley | Dec 5 - Dec 7 | Death Valley, California


Click here for more information on each Jamboree






Check in next month for more Jeep information, tips, facts, etc! 

- Lahti's Jeep

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Trivia! 10 Things You Didn't Know about Jeep!

Greetings, Jeep Lovers!
Summer is winding down here in New England. Just for fun, we thought we'd put together a list of interesting Jeep trivia that you may not have come across. If you know a hardcore Jeep fan (other than yourself, of course) and want to check their knowledge, try dropping some of these on them...enjoy!

Q. What year was the Willys MB Jeep introduced?
A. 1941

Q. What year was the first civilian model introduced?
A. 1945 (this makes Jeep the oldest ORV/SUV brand on the market)

Q. How did the Jeep get its name?
A. This is actually a topic of much dispute. There are several theories, including: "GP" (possibly standing for "General Purpose" or "Government Purpose") became Jeep, or perhaps it was a nickname picked up from the "Jeep" character in Popeye comics popular at the time. The term "Jeep" was originally used to describe any small vehicle or gadget.

Q. How did Willys-Overland prove the Jeeps off road capabilities to government officials?
A. In 1941, they took various government officials and soldiers for a ride, driving up the steps of the U.S. Capitol building.

Q. If the term "Jeep" had other meanings, how did it come to be known for this brand of vehicle?
A. The Willys-Overland company was the only company still making Jeep vehicles continuously after WWII, and was granted the registered trademark in 1950.

Q. What three companies originally were granted permission to make Jeeps for the Army?
A. Bantam, Ford and Willys-Overland

Q. What was the original price per Jeep for the Willys-Overland military contract?
A. $648.74

Q. Where is the Jeep headquarters? (Hint - It hasn't moved since inception)
A. Toledo, Ohio

Q. What has General Motors and Chrysler Jeep been battling over for years?
A. The right to use seven slots in the grill of the Humvee vs. Jeep.

Q. What makes the Jeep Wrangler so practical as an off road vehicle?
A. It is one of the few remaining four-wheel drive vehicles with a solid front and rear axle.

We hope you enjoyed this little batch of Jeep Trivia. Now you have something to talk about on that next great American roadtrip! Have fun exploring in your Jeep!
Until next time, stay safe out there.
- J.M. for Lahti's

Monday, July 29, 2013

Roadtrips - The Best Drives in New England

Greetings, Jeep Lovers!
It's late July and we're at the height of summer here in beautiful New England. For a lot of people, that means Road TripTime! It's true that we have some crazy weather here, and winter is not easy...but we are also blessed with some of the most scenic drives in the country. Let's run through a few, so this coming weekend you can pack a basket, grab your shades, fill the tank and hit the road. Don't forget to bring some tunes and maybe even a camera, because these rides will not disappoint. Also, this is a great time to scout out locations you want to return this fall for leaf peeping!

Kancamagus Highway, New Hampshire
Our first stop is the 36-mile stretch of road, nationally known as a sportsman's paradise (and let's face it, it's fun to say!). The Kancamagus Highway, also known as Rt. 112, winds through the spectacular White Mountain National Forest and is designated an American Scenic Byway. Definitely a favorite in the Fall, this drive will delight any time of the year, as long as you don't mind leaving it all behind. Take a step back in time to see unspoiled forests, falls, mountains and gorges, all relatively close to civilization. There's lodging, camping and nature activities galore, but even if you never leave the driver's seat, you won't be disappointed. Put this one on your list, for sure. Check directions from where you're coming from; for those of us leaving the dealership, you'll need to get on Rt. 2 East and find your way to Interstate 93N, keeping an eye open for Exit 32, NH112. Enjoy!

Route 6, Massachusetts
A number of our Jeep Lovers are also Beach Lovers, and if you count yourself among them, don't miss the opportunity to ride this 112 mile stretch of road, that meanders through Cape Cod. The National Seashore is ripe with panoramic views, quaint towns and tons of beaches.  Unlike the Kancamagus, this ride is a summer favorite, so be prepared to share the road. However, should you brave the pavement in the height of summer, you'll soon discover why so many people have joined you in your quest. There is something for everyone on Cape Cod. Activities, concerts, fine dining, antiquing, museums and don't forget miles of tidal pools, marshes and sand dunes. A complimentary digital download of the Cape Cod Travel Guide is available at www.capecodchamber.org (no affiliation). After perusing the pages, I'm willing to bet you'll fill up the Jeep and hit the road ASAP. Locals know, a fast-paced trip down I 495 S will pop you right into the mouth of Rt. 6. The rest is summer fun.

Route 100, Vermont
We've given you some great options for North and East. If you don't mind heading West for a bit, you'll be happy to discover Route 100 in Vermont. Another Fall favorite, you can get some great road trip miles under your belt by hitting this one up now. Clocking in at 138 miles of Green Mountain beauty, Route 100 rides all through the state, with old-growth vistas and some of that Yankee heritage we're so ripe with up here. If you're really adventurous, you can take this road all the way to Quebec, but that's beyond the scope of this post. Check out a number of stops on the National Register of Historic Places (including an authentic 19th century village - Weston, VT), see the rushing White and Black Rivers, and keep your notepad handy for places you want to book a ski trip this winter. Route 2 West (AKA the Mohawk Trail - another fine drive) to 112N to 100 (North or South, this is a long road) will get you there. Don't forget to sample some Maple syrups!

Ocean Drive, Newport, RI
Heading South? What this 10-mile stretch of road lacks in distance, it makes up for in opulence. Newport, RI, known as the playground of the rich and famous at the turn of the century, makes for a great daytrip. See how the industry barons lived by touring some of the mansions, relax and grab lunch, but don't forget Ocean Drive! This little loop is a great way to cap off an afternoon, providing some amazing views of the Atlantic and giving you time to ponder how you'll make your millions. A GPS will be helpful here, but to ease confusion, take I 495 S most of the way down. Those willing to do a bit of looking can find a number of ways to get there, however (Hint; I 395 S and MA 146 S will do the trick as well).

Ok, that's enough to get you started. We've covered the main points of the compass and checked out some neighboring states, as well as a few here at home. Use this as a launching pad. There's so many great drives in New England, we couldn't possibly cover them all here. So invest in a full tank of gas and see where your Jeep will bring you. You can't go wrong with a fresh batch of memories and a better understanding of the opportunities to delight your senses, right here in New England. Let us know what you think, or if I missed a favorite of yours, and until next time, stay safe out there!
- J.M. for Lahti's