Jeep says it 'probably' needs to slash the number of trim levels it offers

The electric Jeep Wagoneer S will be offered in a single configuration called Launch Edition when it begins arriving in showrooms. While bringing new models to the market with one trim isn’t unusual, the Stellantis-owned brand believes it should continue to pare down its range.

“We are a mass-market brand. We do sell things in volume — much broader than, say, Maserati was. Complexity reduction is something that happens constantly, and we probably could stand to do a little bit more of it,” Bill Peffer, Jeep’s senior vice president, told The Drive.

He has a point. Fire up the 2024 Wrangler configurator and you’ve got two models to choose from: the Wrangler and the Wrangler 4xe. The former is offered in eight trim levels called Sport, Sport S, Willys, Rubicon, Sahara, Rubicon X, Rubicon 392, and Rubicon 392 Final Edition, respectively. All but three are available with two or four doors. Buyers who want the four-door-only 4xe have six trim levels to choose from. So if we’ve done the math right, that’s 19 choices of Wrangler trims and body styles in all — and that’s not even counting all the choices for engines, hard and soft tops, etc.

Shop for a Grand Cherokee and you’ve got no less than nine trim levels to choose from, excluding the seven variants of the plug-in hybrid 4xe.

Offering such a wide selection can create confusion among buyers, and it increases production costs for carmakers. Peffer noted that, when you pare down a range of models, “not only do you have efficiencies that you generate, but fewer opportunities to make mistakes.” 

This line of thinking also explains why Jeep recently decided that Wagoneer will no longer be a sub-brand. It will be a nameplate, like Wrangler and Grand Cherokee (and like it was for decades), and the big body-on-frame SUV will be branded as a Jeep. Peffer is in a good position to carry out this change: he previously ran Maserati’s American division and played a big role in simplifying the trim structure.

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