When the Jeep Grand Cherokee L made its official debut on January 7, it became the first iteration of the beloved SUV to be offered with a third row of seats. This is an exciting proposition for buyers, as it has been over a decade since Jeep offered any vehicle with more than five seats. The timing of this launch has become a point of conversation however, as it came so soon after the seven-seat Jeep Grand Wagoneer concept was introduced. With multiple three-row SUVs landing on dealer lots in the near future, some have questioned whether the automaker is going to start cannibalizing their own sales. According to a new report from MotorTrend, executives within Stellantis aren’t as concerned.
According to the report, plans for a three-row Jeep Grand Cherokee L are nothing new. Jim Morrison, who was head of Jeep’s North American brand for FCA, told the publication that customers wanted a way to stick with the nameplate despite outgrowing the five-seater.
In fact, so many customers were interested that Morrison believes that half of all Grand Cherokee sales moving forwards will be L-models. Considering that 70 percent of mid-size SUVs sold come with a third row, this doesn’t seem like much of a stretch.
And yet Stellantis isn’t concerned about eating up sales from their other products. Jeep buyers tend to value the off-road capability that the brand is synonymous with, something that the brand believes will keep them away from the Dodge Durango. Furthermore, the Grand Cherokee L and the Jeep Grand Wagoneer are two very different vehicles. The Grand Cherokee L is a mid-size unibody SUV aimed at taking on the likes of the Ford Explorer and the Honda Pilot. The Jeep Wagoneer lineup on the other hand are full-size SUVs, which employs a body-on-frame construction.
Beyond their design differences, the two Jeeps will also arrive on the market with very different pricing strategies. The Grand Cherokee L is expected to arrive with a starting price in the mid-$30,000 range, inline with its current pricing. Jeep’s Global President Christian Meunier told MotorTrend that the Jeep Wagoneer should start between $60,000-$80,000. Step up to the Escalade-rivaling Grand Wagoneer, and you can expect pricing to reach the six-figure mark. This price gap alone should be enough to differentiate the products for customers. That said, we’ll have to wait until these three-row SUVs hit showrooms before we know if the strategy works.