Just a few months after its much-hyped launch, the 7-passenger Jeep Commander is a huge disappointment for DaimlerChrysler to the point where it has become a liability for the automaker. Stuck with 100+ day inflated inventories, an industry killer, the Commander now offers discounts of over $5000 per vehicle. What went wrong? A lot, especially if you read what the experts and forecasters are saying about the new Jeep.
However, the introduction of any vehicle should not be problematic, since for the Jeep Commander, this model has not reached sales targets. There are many reasons why the commander may not live up to expectations, including:
High fuel prices: Gas over $2.50 a gallon can’t help any SUV. With the Commander’s three thirsty engine options, the price at the pump can be painful. However, the even larger Chevrolet Tahoe is selling well despite high fuel prices.
Old Fashioned Styling: Jeep lists the Commander’s “inherited exterior design” as one of the vehicle’s main draws. Take a look at the Commander and the styling cues of the 1984 Jeep Cherokee quickly come to mind. While some vehicles successfully incorporate “the look” of an earlier model without copying the styling, the Commander looks a lot like the earlier Cherokee. , just stretched. Personally, I find the style old-fashioned and awkward.
Small interior: Place the Commander against the next largest Jeep, the Gran Cherokee, and you’ll see that the interior space is practically the same. This is bad because the Commander comes equipped with a third row of seats, so there should be more room. Many have complained that only two small children can fit in the back row, which, by the way, doesn’t fold flat into the floor like the “stow and go” feature of DCX minivans.
Too expensive: fully loaded Commanders retail for over $40,000. While you might expect this price range for models like the Yukon, Tahoe, or Expedition, not the Commander. Of course, the Commander is bigger than the Grand Cherokee, which is priced at just under $40,000. However, if you put the two models side by side, many would say that the Grand Cherokee is the better of the two.
So will DaimlerChrysler discontinue the Commander? That is not likely. Instead, look for large rebates to be maintained and production to be permanently reduced. In the long term, DCX will have to seriously consider whether the Commander will remain part of the Jeep lineup. In my opinion, if so, it needs to be seriously reviewed in order to compete in today’s market.
All told, the Commander is a costly mistake for the automaker. During these times of strong and aggressive competition, the Commander is a misstep that DaimlerChrysler cannot ignore. God knows the Commander is being ignored by the Jeep faithful who reject the model outright.