Over the course of the past year or so, we have noticed a change. A change in the Modern Jeeper. Maybe it has to do with the political environment or maybe its just the world around us that has caused us to re-focus our attentions. Don’t get me wrong…actual jeeping and off-roading hasn’t changed that much…but I think that the attitudes of the industry and its people has.
There are more Modern Jeepers now than there ever has been. More Jeeps are being sold now than ever before. As Jeep owners and enthusiasts that want to be a part of this growing and amazing lifestyle…if you think that the interest is slowing down, Google “Jeep News and Rumors”…how about 6,900,000 results!
From the newest vehicles being produced like the 180 mph Grand Cherokee Trackhawk – the most powerful sport-ute ever with 707 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque, to the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids that will be equipped for autonomous-vehicle testing equipment, to the soon to be released Jeep pickup…our environment is changing.
The aftermarket manufactures have changed as well. They have had to scramble to keep up with not only the changes in the vehicles, but the competition from both local and international competitors has changed the playing field. New ideas are being copied at an alarming rate…but the industry is trying to crack down…but where should it focus its time and attention? At SEMA this past year, Feds seized a number of booths that were displaying copy cat products. Those “companies” were identified as Changzhou Jiulong Auto Lamps Factory, Guangzhou Vcan Electronic Technology Co., Maxgrand Ltd., Sanmak Lighting Co., Shenzen Unisun Technology Co., and Unity 4wd Accessories Co. And while that is a step in the right direction, these companies will change their names and be back trying to sell their inferior products.
But I digress.
I think that consumers have become smarter. Much smarter. They know what they want and they expect to pay for the quality that they receive…in most cases. And the reverse is also true. When manufacturers produce a quality product, they hope that the consumer will recognize the quality and be willing to pay for it. Manufacturers are becoming more and more involved in events. They want and need to hear from you about their products…about what works and what doesn’t. They hear you and need your input in order to meet your needs.
In every part of the country, our jeeping hobby is different. When folks in Florida begin to make their Jeep their own, it will have a different purpose than the enthusiast that is building his Jeep in Colorado. The same holds true for all the other states. We only have access to certain types of terrain depending on where we live…so the guy that drives the beach in Daytona doesn’t need one ton axles…and the guy or gal that doesn’t drive at night won’t need a bunch of light bars. We, as consumers, are smarter. We want what will last and we want it to make it our own.
On the other side of the “trends” coin, lies the concept vehicles that we all have seen pictures of. We love them. We study them. We look for signs of what may come in the near future from our beloved manufacturer. Maybe…just maybe…at some point we could drive or even purchase one of these dream machines. But probably not. For now we will just continue to hope and dream…Jeep’s Quick Sand Concept is truly amazing!
My point is this: However you enjoy the jeep experience, continue to demand well built, quality products. Continue to get involved in your local jeep club and to continue to support the groups that fight to keep our trails and lands open to us. Be vocal. Create new trends. Evaluate your choices…and make educated decisions.
See you on the trail.