Just thought I'd throw my .02 in as well...since I was ready to be, not only a potential buyer of the new 2012 Jeep GC SRT8, but a 1st time Jeep owner as well...but not if they price it that high & out of it's proper common-sense market of value.
To give you all a quick background, so you know how my thoughts relate on this matter...I'm in FL, 35 & a car guy (have been for years), so I tend to do most mods & maintenance myself...I'm also a small IT business owner (who's learned how keep customers interested in the services offered, even with price increases)...and I'm married (to a wife, who like me, loves the outdoors) & like to travel. *I've gone on Ski Trips in the past & rented Jeeps to get us there & back again in the snow & blizzards...so I am also aware of a Jeep's capabilities. *Also...being a business owner, means understanding the value of a dollar, knowing how far to stretch it's worth, and being wise on investments & liabilities. *I hope that gives a fairly good idea of how I shape my thoughts on any given topic.
As for our philosophy on shopping for vehicles...it has changed a bit over the years. *I use to be a person that embraced the American patriotic act of trying to buy "Made in the USA" products whenever possible, as did my family/parents...now a days it's a bit harder to do, with just about everything being imported from outside the USA. *Anyways...we have always bought domestic vehicles...for me it was Mopars & Fords, for my folks it was Mopars, Fords, and Pontiacs (I never cared for their GM stuff, always looked cheap). *So we have tried to stay loyal to the Big 3...but as I got older & wiser, and tired of never-ending auto repairs...we decided to experiment. *So when I got married...we had a 2005 Mitsubishi Endeavor SUV 2WD (wife's) and a 2000 Ford Explorer 4WD V6 (mine)...her's had low miles, a long warranty, and 24mpg's Hwy...mine had high miles, 2 tranny rebuilds, and 15mpg's Hwy...we had to change one out for a car due to gas prices & it was a no-brainer which one (even tho I did love my truck). *So we went shopping & did our research, to get the best bang for our buck...we looked at several offerings from the Big 3, but those paled in comparison to what was offered from the Imports...so it was easy to decide. *We found we got treated better at the Import dealers, the quality of the materials & builds were better, and we got better warranties as well. *For $5k-$10k more OTD, we were able to step into a 2008 Infiniti G37S 6MT coupe (loaded & I can pull 30mpg's Hwy in it), over anything the Big 3 had to offer...and it was well worth the extra cost for the entire ownership experience that we were buying into. *We knew exactly what we were getting for our money, and the manufacturer's reputation was already highly regarded...which also meant high resale value down the road & no repair costs for quite some time. *I have to say, the last 4 years, it has been the most pleasant and delightful ownership experience we have ever had...and we still love the car, with no regrets whatsoever!!!
Now fast-forward to present day 2011...my folks, were in the market for a new vehicle recently, and again we went shopping & did our research...we once again compared domestics & imports, since they had never owned an Import before...and again after comparing "value for value" & "quality for quality"...they also decided to jump $5k-$10k up-market, to get an 2011 Acura RDX...because they knew the ownership experience they were buying into as well, as did we in 2008...the Big 3 just couldn't come close with their offerings, not for the amount of money asked.
So now...about a year later, going into MY 2012...we find ourselves with my wife's Mitsu SUV paid off, but changes are happening & we have to adapt. *I now find myself needing more cargo space while traveling around for my work during the week, but I need to be able to move quickly thru traffic also (even in bad weather), and we also want to do some light hiking & camping outdoors, plus some traveling up to the Mid-Atlantic...but she also has a need to haul stuff during the week as well. *So, since her's is paid off & has had no mechanical issues or repairs needed, we decided to keep it & just did a quick overhaul on her SUV with a full touch-up & buff out of her paintwork, plus some new electronics, and other misc upgrades (just to spruce it up & update it, to get thru another 6 yrs with it)...that way she has the ability to do her usual stuff during the week without interruption. *As much as we love the G37S, it's just not as practical as it once was...so we are dumping it and replacing it with a small or midsize SUV that is 4WD/AWD to use for my work & outdoor activities, since her's is only 2WD. *So once again, we are back shopping for a vehicle.
Of note, is that this time around, there is one additional circumstance we have to account for when choosing a vehicle...my wife injured her lower back a couple years ago, and now has a lot of pain at times in her lumbar area...so she requires a very supportive & comfortable set of front seats to ride in & keep the pain suppressed while in the vehicle traveling (we have mitigated this issue in her SUV with aftermarket seats). *That said...when we first started our research into a new SUV to buy...our first thoughts were towards the seats available in different makes/models...since it has to have 4-way lumbar on both front seats (not just driver-side)...she liked the lumbar support in our G37S, but it was driver-side only (another reason to dump the car).
We started our research back early in 2011...so we heard about all the great reviews the all-new 2011 Porsche Cayenne got, as well as being "SUV of the Year"...and me being a car guy, I've always loved Porsches (from the first time I laid eyes on an '80s 911 coupe)...I have driven different models owned by close friends, and I'm well acclimated with the company's reputation for quality & craftsmanship...so when I found out, that the Cayenne Base started in the mid-$40k's...we decided to go check one out at the local dealership...we came away very impressed, my wife loved the seating in it for her back, so it would definitely be an option to consider later on, when it was time to get more serious about buying.
Well, months later...we reach the point, that it's time to get serious about laying out our options to choose from & we know we need to narrow down to at least 3 makes/models of interest...this based on value, quality, warranties, and expected ownership experience (after taking into account, which models' seats are comfortable on her back). *We really like the 2012 Porsche Cayenne V6, but once optioned up, it hits the mid-$60k's (worth it, but a lil high for us right now, at least while the wife is back in school for her RN degree over the next 2-3 yrs). *Next possibility, is the 2012 Audi Q5 3.2 Prestige S-Line (it's in the mid-$50k's, loaded). We also checked out some others, but the wife didn't like them as well...BMW X3 & X5, Infiniti's FX & EX, Acura MDX, VW Toureg, Lexus, Volvo, etc...and in the spirit of being patriotic (given the economy), we also looked at the Big 3 just to be fair in our comparisons. *She dismissed the GMC Acadia as being outdated, and she initially liked the all-new 2011 Ford Explorer (until she got close to it & read the reviews)...then, that's when she asked about the Jeeps. *I told her I didn't know much because I hadn't really paid much attention to the Jeeps for numerous reasons...one, the Wrangler came up in conversation many times (but was not practical for us)...two, we didn't like the smaller Jeeps...and three, she didn't like the earlier WK1 Grand Cherokees (somehow, we had missed the update of the 2011 WK2 models). *So she pointed me towards the new 2011 WK2's, to get her more info about them...and that's how we ended up where we are in our shopping today (July 2011).
I started researching everything that was available about the new WK2's (including all the forums), by the time I was done...she decided it was worth her time to go to the dealer and check out the Limited & Overland trims (due to, guess what??...4-way lumbar on BOTH front seats!...and the fact that the platform is shared with the new 2012 MB M-class). *So, the 1st visit to the dealer goes well, we came away fairly impressed & she really liked the seating on the Overlands...but being late in the 2011 MY, she asked if there were gonna be any changes or bug fixes for the 2012's (since the 2011 was a 1st year vehicle) and what the pricing would be. *Well, I did the research & found out she liked the Overland Summit model that has an Invoice price in the mid-$40k's...but I also found out about the new 6-spd tranny for the Hemi in 2012. *So after much discussion, we decided that we would wait for the 2012's to hit the dealers, before taking a test drive (due to the new tranny)...so at this point, even though it doesn't have the performance of the Audi or Porsche, the Jeep has found it's way into the 3rd slot on our list of options for SUV's, for what it does offer & the price it offers it at. *Meanwhile...I have been watching the forums to learn more about the new WK2's...and I'm getting more & more impressed by what I find out about them.
THEN, it happens...they announce the new 2012 Jeep GC SRT8 model...I immediately showed it to the wife & said, if it performs as well as they expect it to & it's priced right...we might have ourselves a winner here!! *So she said to keep her posted about any news on it.
So for the past couple of months, we've been reading any & all news encompassing the new SRT8 model...and when we found that it was speculated to be priced only a couple thousand higher than the Overland Summit, we were SOLD on it!!
- We love the Porsche Cayenne, due to it's seating, performance (V6 model), quality, and warranty...and we'd pay the $60k price willingly, due to the ownership experience that comes with Porsche's long proven reputation...it's earned the right over the years to be in that upscale market segment.
- We really like the Audi Q5, due to it being a lil more affordable than the Porsche ($10-15k less), and we still would get similar vehicle traits & a great ownership experience, given Audi's reputation as well...even though the Q5 is a bit smaller, it's a compromise that will still accommodate our needs in a vehicle.
- We like the Jeep GC Overland Summit, due to it being mid-$40k's ($10k less than the Audi, $20k less than the Porsche) it saves us money, but still offers enough traits (like great seating) & it's engineering is shared with the new 2012 M-B M-class which gives "peace of mind", it has great all-weather capability (though, overall performance is lacking), it's a lil bigger than the Audi, and it's just good enough (with the new 6-spd tranny in 2012) to be a reason to buy "American-made" again & help contribute to our dwindling economy.
- With the 2012 SRT8 model the Jeep GC, gains most of the performance it was lacking in comparison to the Audi & Porsche, and although still fails to match either brand in overall traits, quality, warranty & ownership experience...at $50k (loaded) it's an acceptable compromise or trade-off for the money saved over the other brands...but at pricing above $50k, I'm going to buy the Audi or Porsche because I'll get what I deserve for my money (in the long run), I won't from Chrysler/Jeep.
...not that Jeep can't earn the right to be priced into the upscale market, I believe they can if they really want to, but just not at this point in time...they don't have the quality, the warranties, nor the reputation to succeed in that market.
For starters, they just came out of bankruptcy...and they need time to build their brand image upward (it's not gonna happen in just one year), they should aim for a goal of 2016 to enter the upscale market segment. *Meanwhile, they should take the platform they have now, evolve it over the next 4 yrs to match their competitors offerings with better quality (including powertrains), the warranties to back it up (4yr/50k minimum bumper to bumper), and revamp their dealership network to give the kind of ownership experience an upscale buyer expects (loaner cars, etc). Then when 2016 hits, test the waters for 2 yrs with a product that's worthy, make any necessary adjustments, and if they do it right, by 2018 they'll have not only earned their spot in the upscale market and operating full throttle in it, but also have a 6 yr quality reputation built to back it up!!
But at the moment...if they think they can enter the upscale market segment with an over-priced limited-production specialty vehicle, that doesn't have the quality, warranty, or ownership experience, much less a proven manufacturer reputation to back it up...they are just showing that they didn't learn any lessons at all from their bankruptcy, and they are willing to commit financial suicide all over again (and the next time, there won't be any bailout from the American Taxpayers!!)...and that would be a shame, due to the fact that between GM & Chrysler, Chrysler has the better shot of redeeming themselves and having the better product portfolio & future customer base than GM does. *Last thing they should do, is rush into the upscale market, destroy any credibility they could have had and lose a future customer base, simply because they were in too much of a hurry to do it right the first time around. *So...slow down Chrysler, you just got out of bankruptcy...enjoy the fact that you've a good platform to start from to build your next empire...afterall, Rome wasn't built in a day, ya know??!!!
With that said...as far as our upcoming purchase is concerned...given that the wife will be in school for the next 2-3yrs, we'll probably postpone the Porsche until the next purchase in 5-6yrs (at that time, we'll be ready to buy one, unless something better is available), if it wasn't for her schooling it'd be a done deal now. *So, with the Porsche on hold...that leaves the Audi and the Jeep. *We would really like to get the SRT8, but I'm not about to spend on a Jeep what I would on a Porsche, Chrysler just can't justify the cost on the Jeep compared to the Porsche (especially when the Overland Summit is only mid-$40k's at invoice), I need more for my money from Jeep before I (or anyone else) will justify it. *If they price it at high-$40k's or less at invoice, they've got a buyer. *Otherwise, we'll think about it...and decide if we want to save some money with the Overland Summit Hemi 4WD, or if we should turn towards Audi for $5-10k more). *As you can see, we are wise in our shopping...and like many other buyers out there, the main reasons we would purchase the Jeep is due to saving money on the purchase & trying to contribute to our country's dwindling economy...NOT because we feel they are on-par with the more upscale brands. *We know that we won't get the better warranty, or the better ownership experience, etc...but given the cost savings, it's an acceptable compromise nothing more. *Take away the savings in costs, and you just eliminated the Jeep as an option...period. *They've (Chrysler) got about a month to figure it out, because that's when we'll be ordering whatever vehicle we decide to buy.
What I can tell ya, right now, is that...every Jeep dealer I've spoken with that is within 250 miles of me...if they had placed any orders for the SRT8 that were on the assembly line, they were cancelled as of close of business on Friday the 15th...and any pending orders, were shredded. *So, if there are any SRT8's coming off the assembly line soon, they may be sitting at the factory for a while, because the dealer's do not want them on their lots, not at $60k each...they know they can't sell them, not in this economy anyway...during better times maybe.
Anyways...just my .02 ...but of course, to each their own, I guess...eh?!
Have a good night everyone!
Maybe if we're lucky, we'll get some good news on the pricing for the SRT8!
Sorry, this turned out to be so long, I truly did not intend to write a novel here...lol...oops, oh well!