- Chrysler Group is trying to determine how far up market it can position the Jeep Grand Cherokee as a premium vehicle.
- The sticker price on the top model, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT8, is now brushing $65,000.
- Strong sales for the Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit, along with German model trade-ins, are prompting Jeep to reconsider its pricing strategy and possibly develop a more expensive model.
WESTLAKE VILLAGE, California — With sticker prices on the top model now brushing $65,000, Chrysler Group is trying to determine how far up market it can position the Jeep Grand Cherokee as a premium vehicle.
Strong sales for the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit, along with German model trade-ins, are prompting Jeep to reconsider its pricing strategy and possibly develop a more expensive model.
Klaus Busse, who heads Chrysler Group's interior design, told Edmunds that sales for the premium Summit model are brisk, "pretty much dictated by how quickly we can leather-wrap instrument panels. So there is a pull from the market that makes us believe we have not reached the ceiling."
The base two-wheel-drive 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit carries a $48,990 sticker price, including $995 for destination.
The 2014 Grand Cherokee SRT8 is the most expensive Jeep model, starting at $64,190, including destination. The four-wheel-drive SUV carries a 470-horsepower 6.4-liter Hemi V8 engine and suspension enhancements, and is aimed at high-performance enthusiasts. However, Busse said the Grand Cherokee Summit and the lower-priced Overland model are attracting owners of German brands.
"We are reaching totally new spheres of customers. We have people trading in premium southern German brands — Mercedes, BMW, Audi and Porsche — and getting into a Grand Cherokee," Busse said during an interview at a Jeep event in California.
"I don't think we have reached the limit yet" in terms of sticker price, he said. "What that new limit might be, we will see."
Busse said it was the success of the redesigned Grand Cherokee that started Jeep thinking about more expensive trims and models.
"We were positively surprised how well the Grand Cherokee was received" when it was redesigned for the 2011 model year, he said. "That one is the foundation of the one we just updated.
"We had the (Grand Cherokee) Limited and we created the Overland, and we realized that we hadn't reached the potential of the vehicle so we created the Summit," Busse said.
Edmunds says: Chrysler's Busse concludes: "It looks like we haven't reached the ceiling."