By Joseph White
DETROIT (Reuters) – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV on Thursday unveiled its new family of Jeep Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer sport utility vehicles, and the head of the Jeep brand told Reuters he wants to match or beat the sales of rival models made by General Motors Co.
From a luxury image standpoint, “we want to beat Range Rover,” global Jeep brand President Christian Meunier said in an interview. “From a business standpoint, we want to beat GMC and Cadillac.”
GM’s GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade model lines are leading sellers in the North American large, luxury SUV segment. Last year, GMC sold nearly 75,000 Yukons. Cadillac sold 35,424 Escalades, while Ford’s Lincoln brand sold 18,656 Navigators in 2019.
Luxury sport utilities built on the underpinnings of big pickup trucks represent one of the most profitable segments in the global auto industry. Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer prices could range from $60,000 to $100,000, Meunier said. That is comparable to the Escalade and Yukon lineups.
Most such vehicles are sold in North America and in certain Middle Eastern markets. Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep brand has not had an entry in this segment for decades. In Jeep’s absence, GM’s Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon and Ford’s Expedition and Lincoln Navigator models have dominated the segment in North America.
Jaguar Land Rover’s Range Rover models have defined the premium end of the large luxury SUV market in North America and in other markets.
Vehicles as large as the Grand Wagoneer, which is derived from a Ram pickup truck, are rare in China, the world’s largest market. The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will be built in a factory in suburban Detroit – a handicap for selling in China.
However, Meunier said “there’s an opportunity for China which we will test in the next few weeks.”
Reporting By Joe White; Editing by Steve Orlofsky.