[youtube width=”540″ height=”304″]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uIBL_ei5VM[/youtube]
To launch the 2011 Grand Cherokee, Jeep (Chrysler) decided to do something a bit radical. They eschewed typical Detroit clichés and went with a message built on patriotism – sort of. This isn’t the “Buy American” theme the car companies used back in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Instead, the intro spot is a 60-second paean to America’s manufacturing prowess. (The spot must look and sound a lot like the rip-o-matic the agency used to sell the concept.) The voice-over tells us: “This is a country where people made things, beautiful things.” The past tense is the key to the concept. America used to make things, but we don’t any more. (We all know that work goes on overseas now in low wage, third-world countries.) But the 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee is different. “Our newest son was imagined, drawn, stamped, hewn and forged here.” The new Grand Cherokee is 100% American. We shouldn’t just think of this as another new SUV. This might possibly be the foundation on which America will a build a new, revitalized manufacturing industry. Ignore the fact that lots of cars, including GM, Ford, Honda, Toyota, BMW and Hyundai, are also built on American soil. The Grand Cherokee is now the standard bearer for Made In America. Now, Jeep deserves a lot of credit for not going the road well traveled. But will this message really resonate with people? Will they buy the Cherokee or salute it? The survival of America’s most endangered car company may well depend on the answer to that question.