Until Chrysler is an American owned company again, I fear that this crap will continue.
The last time Chrysler was both successful and American-owned were the days of Lee Iaccoca. That was over thirty years ago. In the meantime, several periods of American ownership have provided nothing but absolute garbage and mismanagement.
Fiat has provided capital, one of the best CEOs in the business and, most importantly, dignity to Chrysler. And, in return, has taken nothing.
Fiat's investment in Chrysler saved it from destruction, first and foremost, and, to date, has provided the best-rated full-size American cars on the market (The new LX cars), the best-rated midsize SUV on the market (WKII), turned a series of garbage vehicles into competitive players in their segment (J-platform and MK-platform), brought the Ram 1500 to the best vehicle in its segment and turned Chrysler into the fastest-growing and most profitable automaker in the world.
Jeep is reacting to market demand. They're making softer CUVs because that's what consumers are buying.
What influence have you seen from Fiat in the wrangler? I work on them all day everyday and I don't see any.
The most obvious bit is that there are 2010+ MY Jeeps.
Ick. I still don't see the point of jeep coming out with two new vehicles that are virtually identical like the new Patriot and new Liberty/Cherokee. Either come out with 2 vehicles that appeal to 2 different audiences, one an on-road CUV for the mall-crawl crowed (updated Patriot) and one a capable SUV for the off-road crowed (something that disserves to be called a Cherokee) , or discontinue one of them, as it stands they have 2 vehicles going after the same audience.
The Compass and Patriot will be combined into a single vehicle. Probably the Patriot. It will be getting slightly smaller as well. The Liberty replacement will be slotted in between the Patriot and Grand Cherokee. It won't be much larger than the Patriot, but it will be considerably more upscale. The Patriot is going to be the cheapest, simplest, rugged little CUV on the market, while the Liberty will be the a mass-market vehicle for those that want a solid all-weather, all-terrain vehicle but don't want the size and fuel efficiency of the Grand Cherokee.
The fact of the matter is, consumers care more about comfort and general utility than raw off-road ability nowadays. It speaks volumes that the Wrangler went from a niche player to the top of the SUV market when it was released in a 4-door version with a nice, livable interior.