New CEO shares his plans to make Jeep great again (2024)

The Jeep brand has a new CEO, and he is on the march to regain market share and eventually sales for the off-road specialists. Antonio Filosa took over as the chief executive for North America in November after a few years of lackluster sales for the brand.

In his previous role, Filosa was the Chief Operating Officer for Stellantis South America. Before that, he held positions in Italy, England and Brazil with Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati. It's a circling-the-wagons moment for Jeep, but it starts with one of Filosa's specialties.

He brought local journalists to Detroit, keen to share his vision of where the future of Jeep lies in the U.S. market, where electrification is at a tipping point and off-roading is becoming mainstream.

Clawing Back Market Share in a Time of Transition

Filosa had a major impact during his tenure in Brazil. Over the last five years, Filosa led the team that bought a Jeep plant in the northeast of Brazil online, along with 17 additional supplier plants for three Jeep models: Renegade, Compass and Commander.

During that same time period, Jeep's market share in the country went from 1 percent to 20 percent. It's now the most popular SUV brand in the country, which is the number two market for Jeep behind North America.

Instead of dealing with an emerging market, Filosa has been tapped to raise up an existing one.

"The brand is in transition; we need to gain market penetration and market share because it's not where this brand deserves to be. And Jeep is also in a technological transition. Because it's transitioning into electrification while it keeps freedom to choose for its consumer. And this transition is launching a new technology, in this case, BEV and a new nameplate, Jeep Avenger in Europe," Filosa said at a media event in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

New CEO shares his plans to make Jeep great again (1)

"We have the best-selling SUV in the U.S., as Jeep we own these markets and did more than 50 percent of the market share of the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) industry. It's a very strong foundation to start building this transition."

The Jeep Wrangler 4xe has been the best-selling PHEV in the United States since the second quarter of 2021 and remained the best selling PHEV in 2023.

"Jeep has made considerable inroads with its electrification efforts despite being later to the all-electric space than most competitors. Its 4xe PHEV approach has proven to be a wise path for the brand. Jeep's 4xe models have not only been popular in the market but are profitable for the brand, which is noteworthy as nearly every non-Tesla EV sells at a loss right now," Paul Waatti, Director, Industry Analysis at AutoPacific

Adding Value, Lowering Prices

"Inflation was such a big and negative hit for families. We needed to do something. So, in the latest release, we rolled back the prices, and we added value to 90 percent of our volume vehicles," Filosa said.

The Jeep Compass is $2,500 less expensive than its original price, now starting at $27,495. The Jeep Grand Cherokee had a similar amount knocked off the price tag with the Laredo trim getting a discount of $2,325.

Wrangler customers get more bang for their buck this year for the same price including Uconnect 5 with 12.3-inch touchscreen and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, first and second row side curtain airbags, premium soft top, a new instrument panel and a new grille. Both the Wrangler and Gladiator (price lowered by $1,700) come with adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning on Sport S trims and up.

Lowering prices won't help if customers don't know about the new measures and what they're now able to get in a vehicle.

"We also understood that we need to increase our marketing effectiveness and media spend and we're establishing a brand a team devoted to improve the quality of our cars and also to improve the cost and industrial efficiencies of our nameplates," Filosa said.

New CEO shares his plans to make Jeep great again (2)

An Umbrella Change

Like SRT, Stellantis launched Wagoneer as its own standalone brand. For 2024, that has changed.

"We are changing the Wagoneer strategy and we're converging Grand Wagoneer and Wagoneer into Jeep. This is very important to us. We have been reading to your articles. We understood that the story about the Wagoneer was not a very fluid story. So we're going to start calling them Jeep Wagoneer and Jeep Grand Wagoneer, and in my opinion should have been since the beginning," said Filosa.

"Considering that Jeep is among the most aspirational brands in the industry and its name has extremely powerful brand equity, the decision to separate Wagoneer as an independent upscale subbrand was a rare misstep for the company," said Waatti.

Read more

  • Off-road specialist Ineos debuts electric baby G-Wagen lookalike
  • Next-gen Lexus GX loses none of it luxury or off-road credibility
  • Jeep shows off its first Wagoneer electric SUV

New Nameplates on the Way

The electric Wagoneer comes first, later this year, followed by a Bronco Sport-like electric Jeep Recon. Recon will be available in 2025.

During his media appearance, Filosa showed the assembled press the Jeep product road map for the next few years and told media that five more product launches will follow the Recon and Wagoneer S. He said they'd be a mix of new and updated nameplates, but gave few additional details.

Don't Push Away Loyal Customers

Filosa also talked about the importance of the Jeep faithful with these new vehicles. He said that their feedback is critical about the way they use their vehicles on and off-road. Jeep also asks about common problems and complaints of owners and features they'd like to see in the future.

"Our community, it's just a privilege to us. The way we see people engaging with the brand. People love it, embrace it. Because they love Jeep they are devoted to the brand and are as passionate as we are about the cars, the story, and the message," he said.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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New CEO shares his plans to make Jeep great again (2024)
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