As Jeep crosses into six-figure pricing territory with the Grand Wagoneer, Mike McVeigh is a prototype of what the brand wants its sales force to look like: highly trained and flush with details about the product.
McVeigh undergoes a rigorous annual education and testing process for the right to be called a “Jeep expert.” His business cards carry an emblem touting that status to shoppers.
“I’m going to be in the minority as far as people that actually show the vehicle and demonstrate the vehicle the way that it was intended,” said McVeigh, who works at David Dodge- Chrysler-Jeep-Ram in Glen Mills, Pa. “They’re going to get further and further away from the old-school car-sales thing. I think that is why Jeep’s decided to elevate everything with this.”
Building up the showroom experience is the latest rock the adventure brand will have to climb.
The Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer will draw an affluent clientele who will have to open their wallets wider than most previous customers of the brand to drive off in the plush three-row SUVs.
To meet those shoppers’ expectations, Jeep has ambitious aspirations for the retail experience as some stores begin catering to a consumer base they haven’t dealt with before.
The vision calls for schooled salespeople, known as certified Wagoneer Ambassadors if they undergo proper training, who will be well-versed in presenting the parade of advanced features housed in the revived nameplates. The buying process is to be guided by what Jeep calls its “10 Customer Promises” that were developed in coordination with dealers and provide an array of perks, including free Wi-Fi at the dealership and remote test drives, along with 24/7 concierge support and roadside assistance.
Stores that dedicate themselves to the plan and develop a dedicated Wagoneer display area in their showrooms in addition to a new-vehicle delivery area will be able to call themselves Wagoneer-certified.
Other stores and salespeople will still be able to sell the Wagoneer, but they could find themselves disadvantaged relative to nearby Jeep dealerships that have the philosophy ingrained in their operations.