The Toledo Blade has reported that Chrysler will discontinue making the Jeep Liberty.
Throughout its 11-year run, the Toledo-built vehicle was often criticized by consumers, with many saying it wasn’t tough enough compared to other models.
Ed Kim, vice president of industry analysis at AutoPacific, told the Toledo Blade that the first-generation Liberty was criticized for “being really soft.” “Some members of the press sort of derided it for being a girly Jeep, being too cute, being not masculine enough, even though in terms of its rugged hardware, it was every bit as capable as the previous generation Cherokee,” Kim said.
But girly wasn’t necessarily a bad thing for sales. The story reported a 2001 survey that was commissioned by then-DiamlerChrysler AG, which found the average Liberty consumer was 41-years-old, and half were women.
Libertys sold 30,000 more than the Cherokee in its last full year in 2001, the story said. And more than 1.25 million Libertys have been sold since it was brought to the market.
The Liberty saw a major re-design in 2008, which wasn’t the best year for the automotive industry. In addition to the economy and rising gas prices, Jeep released 2 other crossovers, the Patriot in 2006 and the Compass in 2007.
PowerBlock fans, especially those of you who especially enjoy Xtreme 4×4, like your off-road vehicles rough and rugged, tough for the trails, mud bogs and sand dunes. And figures show that the Liberty just didn’t deliver.
According to the story, competitors added cushier ride quality, more technology and better fuel-efficiency, and though consumers like the look of an off-road warrior, most care about carrying groceries than climbing boulders.
(Again, remember that their buying demographic was mostly women in their 40s.)
As for the future, the story says Chrysler has been “carefully quiet” o the vehicle that will replace the Liberty. No date has been officially set for the end of the Liberty’s production, and over the next year, Chrysler is said to be “retooling” the plant to make room for a future vehicle, with chances of opening up 1,100 new jobs.