Tom Libby, an auto analyst for J.D. Power and Associates, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” that Jeep may be diluting its image with too many “cross-over”models, or SUVs based on cars.
“I think long-term there is an issue about whether they’re helping or hurting the brand,” Libby said Thursday. “These new products are car-based. Frankly, the Compass does not look a ‘Jeepish’ – it does not have the masculine, assertive, aggressive look of traditional Jeeps. Long-term, I think there’s the possibility they’ll dilute the image of being a tough, off-road SUV.”
He said the Commander has eaten into the Grand Cherokee’s market, forcing Jeep to end production of the Commander. The Compass and Patriot are car-based models and don’t exude the traditional Jeep toughness.
“But their (market) share is actually up and that’s a key measure in this industry,” Libby said.