Several owners have expressed a certain degree of satisfaction with their vehicles, but this is often compromised by the poor service levels at dealerships. Why are staff not knowledgeable enough to fix problems on Jeeps? If technicians are only trained to do servicing and not repairs, why not outsource this to another company? Could this be interpreted as a sign that the multi-franchise dealership is not the most effective means of dealing with customers? What about the high costs of parts and servicing?
Chrysler South Africa has a very robust technical training programme in place to ensure all Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge technicians are suitably qualified on maintenance, systems and diagnostic levels. Where there are multi-franchise dealers there is usually an even broader range of skills to be found in the service environment.
What is the strategy behind the recent "soft" additions to the line-up, which seems to go against Jeep's "trail-rated" and "go anywhere "heritage?
Do you not fear that the brand image currently associated with the brand will deteriorate to the point where the only place you'll ever see a Jeep logo is on a shirt?
There has been a significant evolution in the SUV/4x4 market in the past five years where such vehicles are increasing used predominantly in an urban environment. As a consequence, Jeep has responded to consumer pressures and needs to provide somewhat smaller and lesser true 4x4 offerings, such vehicles certainly still embody the Jeep core values of Authenticity, Mastery, Capability and Adventure.
Jeep now firmly believes that we adequately cover the entire SUV/4x4 market more comprehensively than any of our competitors. Our product extension into clothing, merchandise and 4x4 camping equipment is recognised as the most successful in the industry. You will most certainly see the Jeep logo on large, medium and small suvs as well as our full range of product extensions.
With the recent divorce of Chrysler and Daimler, what guarantees are there that the current buyers will be looked after beyond the next two or three years? Also, how will this move affect the continued availability of vehicles going forward, and the subsequent availability of parts for existing models? As an independent operation, will Chrysler be able to improve the current dismal parts and servicing arrangement?
It's business as usual for the new Chrysler South Africa, with Daimler retaining a 19.1% shareholding. A new corporate entity is in the process of being formed and finalised and will continue operating unchanged in South Africa. However we are striving to further improve all aspects of our business to best suit the Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge customer. Special focus on parts and servicing, which have shown recent dramatic improvements, is continuing.
Jeep recalled several thousand Cherokees / Liberty to repair defective steering knuckles and air conditioner motors. Why was this recall not issued in South Africa? Why wasn't this advertised and to what extent will owners who experience these problems be protected?
The recall was launched in South Africa and all customers who's vehicles were affected in recalls were personally informed by the selling dealer and the necessary repairs conducted. All manufacturers world wide undertake such recall programmes where necessary - this is not an unusual circumstance.
On the quality of your vehicles, while general styling is good, interior quality lets the side down. How does a manufacturer of Jeep's standing, which increasingly caters to the lifestyle segment, justify this?
The Chrysler South Africa believes that the our vehicle interiors are designed to be functional robust and long-lasting, the aesthetics and materials used are designed and selected to achieve a harmonious interplay between the interior and exterior of the vehicle. Our interiors, on Jeep particularly, are biased towards hard working stylish and tough 4x4s/SUVs.
The perception is that your vehicles suffer from terrible resale values, even when being traded for other Jeep models. Why do you think this is? And are there any plans in place to retain disgruntled owners threatening to move to rival manufacturers or woo back those already lost?
The South African market has evidenced a realignment of pre-owned vehicle values. The results thereof have affected our product ranges as well. Our products do provide a great value proposition when considering affordable purchase prices, reasonable running costs, included maintenance and market related resale values.
Our Customer Satisfaction Index results reflect that we have some of the most satisfied customers in the market today.
Jaguar SA declined the opportunity to participate in the Wheels24 reader Q&A.