The future of Jeep and the end of the Compass and Patriot
All Jeeps need to have an air of toughness to them. After all, we stormed Normandy with them, we fought in Korea with them, and they carried our troops in Vietnam. Battle hardness is the main principle that Jeep was founded on.
This means that Jeeps should be able to go anywhere and do anything. Its motto should be: If you wanted to go anywhere that was remote and inhospitable, and you wanted to come back in one piece, buy a Jeep.
For the most part, Jeep has held true to this. Less than ten years ago, you couldn't buy a Jeep that didn't have the same basic layout as the original Jeep. You really couldn't buy a mass produced car with better off-road ability. Sure Jeeps were a bit crude and unrefined, but I think that was part of their charm to buyers.
Recently, Jeep has been introducing new models that are more suited for suburban streets than tough Montana dirt roads or Florida mud trails. This does not mean that the street surface will always be perfect. Rain, snow, ice, rocks and tree limbs will always try to make a sticky road dangerous. The problem is that neither the Compass or the Patriot really that good at driving on the street either, which means they added nothing to Jeep's portfolio.
They didn't have any abilities over what a standard car would have. There was absolutely nothing about them that said "tough, strong, and ready." They were simply mediocre SUV's that were badged as a Jeep in order to ride the coat tails of the famous name. So thankfully, they will be replaced.
In order to truly add to Jeep, and if it truly must be more road-based, the replacement to the Compass and the Patriot should come with tools designed to tame mother nature's ability to ruin a good road.
The new Jeep model should be small, light, nimble and fuel efficient. It should have a sophisticated all wheel drive system that maintains traction in any situation, in any weather condition. It should be able to stick to the road covered in snow and ice as the rest of the cars have slid off the road, be able to navigate a dirt road or a sandy beach trail with ease, and keep its occupants safe and in control the whole time.
Only then can this model truly add to Jeep. Since Jeep only makes a few models, it needs to be good enough to create a name for itself. Here's to hoping the Italians will do just that.