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2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Commercial: If Only Things Were That Simple

Posted in 4x4, auto industry, Chrysler, General, Jeep, New Cars, Videos by Kurt Ernst | June 12th, 2010 | 10 Responses |

As a patriotic and flag waving American, I have mixed feelings about Jeep’s latest commercial, for the new 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee. On the one hand, I want to believe that buying an American car will help lead us back to self-sufficiency and prosperity; on the other hand, my international business background tells me that this is pure fantasy. Buying a Jeep Grand Cherokee won’t bring back U.S. manufacturing. It won’t cause steelmakers to re-open their U.S. plants and it won’t cause the big 3 to ramp up hiring of U.S. workers. Why? Because U.S. goods, made from U.S. materials and built by U.S. workers, are simply too expensive.

The Truth About Cars just ran an excellent piece on this, so I won’t recover the same ground. Suffice it to say that an autoworker in Mexico makes about $4.00 per hour; GM’s average hourly wage for a U.S. worker is $33.35, and that doesn’t factor in the cost of healthcare or pension plans. Most of us would love to see more American manufacturing, but how many of us are willing to pay 2x or 3x the price of foreign made goods? How many of us have that amount of disposable income?

I’m sure the new Grand Cherokee will be well made and very capable on road and off. Buying one isn’t going to restore the U.S. to the status it once had, it isn’t going to raise our standard of living and it’s not going to help reduce our 10% unemployment rate. Trying to pitch that angle to prospective buyers does nothing to help Chrysler’s credibility in my eyes.

Source: Jeep Grand Cherokee “Manifesto”

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10 Responses

  1. Scott says:

    Unfortunately, you are probably correct. But you know what? Good for Jeep for getting it. Americans WANT American made products. And for this, they have earned me back as a customer.

    I think the expense arguement is a red herring. American companies CAN make money by producing quality products here in the USA. Sure the profit margin will not be as high, but unfortunately we have been brain washed by greedy companies… yes, I said the “G” word… into thinking that our companies are all going to go out of business if they produce products here.

    Maybe dividends wont be as high for the shareholders, but are we really in a better place now that we live in a country where we have offshored almost everything we do in the name of “free” trade, or “competition”?

  2. Kurt says:

    Scott, you nailed it – profits for American made goods aren’t as high, so the corporate MBAs would never approve it. I sure miss the days of reasonable profits and secure jobs, before everything got offshored to save a few pennies.

  3. Jora says:

    I am hands-down, 110% applauding Chrysler for having the GUTS to give Americans pride once more in a company manufacturing HERE, employing Americans, and striving to export goods again. In all of my years growing up in an incredibly fast-changing world, I’ve strived to find a happy medium between buying what I find well-made, and buying American. I was shocked in my college years that almost nothing I purchased was ever made in the USA. Buying fashionable clothes from massive corporations only to go home thinking about where these products were made… the young laborers, the lack of decent working conditions, the cheap jobs overseas… I’d feel the pain of the unemployed workers of our country, the everyday, less-fortunate Americans growing up within our borders wondering what in the world they would do with their lives? Not everyone can aspire to be a CEO, not everyone will excell academically. What happens to everyone else? To those with skills, and talents, that don’t quite fit the mold of salesman, or manager? Will we all fight for hospitality jobs? Work at Walmart? I am now a mother with two pre-school aged children and I highly value well-made, beautiful, American products. I would gladly BUY LESS (oops! not something any massive corporation wants to hear!) if it would mean buying American, at a higher price. I want my money that my husband and I work hard for to be spent on products, goods, and services that clearly support the longevity and health of our economy- one that supports the people of our country- not the wealthy few. And we are middle class Americans, budgeting, and managing our very modest income carefully, and responsibly.
    I HERALD JEEP!!! I am thrilled – it would be the very first one I would even seriously consider!
    Your article speaks of all that is soul-less and wrong in our country today. All that has sadly gone downhill over the last few decades in the way corporations have overrun the American people and pushed them into believing that buying anything and everything is all that matters, while the jobs simply keep disappearing in each and every corner of every single state. Well guess what? Americans don’t want to put up with it anymore.

  4. Kurt says:

    Jora, blame it on greed and MBAs with too much education and too little common sense. As soon as companies realize that further profit can be made by moving manufacturing, customer service or tech support offshore, that’s often what’s done.

    I’m like you in my quest to buy American made products, but it gets harder every year. Try, for example, to find shoes or electronics that are actually manufactured in the USA.

    While Jeeps are built in America, their new parent is based in Italy. Likewise, a certain percentage of parts used in their manufacturing come from foreign vendors. Why? Because they were the lowest bidders. Even Harley-Davidson, which waves the flag harder than any other vehicle manufacturer in this country, uses a certain percentage of foreign sourced parts (like Showa suspension components, for example).

  5. Buquebus says:

    With the possible exception of a select few muscle cars (see Ford Mustang), no vehicle is more readily identified internationally as American than a Jeep 4×4. I have wondered for some time why Jeep’s various parent companies haven’t fully embraced the notion of Jeep as a quintessentially American vehicle. Kudos to the marketing agency who conceived this ad, and kudos to Jeep for making a remarkably good looking product.

    Since 1986, my father, brother, wife and I have owned 7 Jeeps, with 6 being the original XJ Cherokee. My wife’s ’06 Grand is a fine vehicle, but I’m afraid it’s about to be sacrificed at the altar of this beautiful new truck! One look at that saddle leather interior had her salivating!

    Now if Jeep would only dump all the dead weight in their lineup (Compass, Liberty, Patriot), finally put the Gladiator truck concept into production, and come up with a credible successor to the Cherokee…I believe they would have a lineup that would harken back to their glory years…

  6. Brent says:

    When 95% of American wealth is in the hands of 1% of the population it’s not hard to see why we can’t afford to buy products made here. American wages have been stagnant for 30 years considering inflation. The extra money that used to go toward pay raises for people who produced now goes into the pockets of our county’s already wealthy. Our money has to move to make a good economy. With it all sitting at the top we can conclude this is the begining of the end. Rome and Russia tried the same thing–and failed!

  7. Kurt says:

    Brent, sadly I agree with you. The middle class in this country (who purchased the bulk of the cars, appliances, electronics, etc.) is shrinking and there’s no relief in sight. We’ve lost millions of jobs that paid for mortgages, car loans, etc, and now we’re told that those jobs won’t be coming back.

    Putting us back on the road to prosperity starts with creating jobs that pay middle class wages. How do you create them? By promoting the growth of small businesses via tax incentives, low cost loans, etc. If I understand that, why don’t our elected leaders?

  8. Wes says:

    Totally agree with Brent and all comments re the folly of MBA’s promoting short-sighted corporate greed. Tax incentives for small business are great, but small business alone isn’t going to save the middle class from what corporate greed has wrought. And let’s never forget that the US middle class grew the fastest when unions were at their strongest, and when people respected the importance and absolute necessity of sensible government regulations.

  9. noad says:

    blame the unions. they ruined us auto industry.

  10. Andrew says:

    For me it isn’t even about the economics it’s about quality. Much like the Thomasvill dining room set I bought that used to be made in NC and come to find out is now all made in China. It is garbage. The fit and finish is terrible.

    I understand that the world is a smaller place and not everything will be made in America anymore, but the quality should not have to suffer for it.

    I own the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee and I think it is a top notch automobile. It rivals any other I have owned in terms of quality. I would like to believe that that is because it was manufactured in America.