Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Trip Across America in a Jeep Compass

Visit http://www.hometowninvation.com to learn about the adventures of Justin Sailor, a kid from Baraga, Michigan, who is visiting all 50 states in a yearlong trip driving a Jeep Compass donated by Jeep.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Jeep Compass Auto-Dimming Mirrors

The new Jeep Compass features auto-dimming mirrors made by Gentex Corporation. Gentex auto-dimming mirrors automatically darken to reduce glare from the headlamps of vehicles approaching from the rear. The brighter the glare, the darker the mirrors become, making nighttime driving safer.

An auto-dimming base interior mirror is available as part of a "driver convenience package" on the Compass Limited trim level or with an optional U-Connect™ Hands-free Communication system integrated in the Gentex interior mirror.

Read Gentex's Press Release.


Sunday, December 17, 2006

Video: Jeep Compass in Oregon Sand Dunes

Cool video of a group of Jeeps Compass playing in the Oregon sand dunes. Access the video here:



Saturday, December 09, 2006

Startech-Tuned Jeep Compass

Now, this is a good looking Compass. German super-tuner Startech has redefined the turbodiesel Jeep Compass with a recently unveiled customization treatment. By tweaking the engine, Startech has raised horsepower to 180HP from the original 140HP. On the exterior front, the rather ugly front fascia of the stock model has been replaced by a metallic-look Startech-designed unit that mimics the original 2002 Jeep Compass concept. New 20" wheels , a lowered suspension and a dual exhaust give the ugly stock Compass a stronger, more attractive stance. Read the full Press Release for more information.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Boston Acoustics-Jeep Compass Sweepstakes

Boston Acoustics, Inc., a world-renowned manufacturer of high-performance loudspeakers, has announced an exciting holiday sweepstakes co-promotion with Jeep® that will award one Grand Prize winner a 2007 Jeep Compass featuring a nine-speaker Boston Acoustics sound system. From November 12 through December 31, 2006, consumers will be able to enter the holiday sweepstakes at select Boston Acoustics dealers across the country as well as online at bostonacoustics.com. Drawing will take place January 31, 2007. No purchase necessary.

Technorati Tags: Jeep, Jeep Compass, Boston Acoustics

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

The annual Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) trade show has witnessed the debut of a number of cutting-edge vehicles from Chrysler Group’s SkunkWerks team in the past few years. This year will be no different, as one of the concepts unveiled was a Jeep Compass that, finally, people can get excited about. The Jeep Compass Rallye Concept (pictured above) features:


Rallye body kit by Mopar

Modified Rallye rear spoiler by Mopar

Hood with integral scoop and mesh grille

Radiator grille – mesh inserts

Hid driving lamps – PIAA 800

Mid-gate high wing spoiler

Doors – ditches removed

Roof – molding removed

Rear step pad – removed

Mirror caps – body color

Door handles – body color

Fuel door – painted body color

Tinted tail lamps

Upper door pillars – painted black


System Radiator – silver

Front wheels – Mopar 18 x 7 Rear custom billet 19 x 9

Brakes – modified PM SRT

Tires – Toyo PROXES S/T F-255/55 R18, R-255/50 R19

Exhaust – cat-back Borla

Strut power brace – Mopar performance

Cold air intake system – Mopar performance

Rallye badges by Mopar


Instrument panel Base panel – black with carbon fiber bolsters

Center stack bezels – painted silver

Center stack upper – Mopar performance guages with custom housing

AM/FM 6-disk CD/MP3 player and DVD navigation (REC)

Billet shift knob with carbon fiber grip

Bright pedal kit by Mopar

Door upper panels – carbon fiber

Door main panels – painted black

Door switch bezels – painted silver

Seats – Katzkin carbon fiber body with silver center


Saturday, July 29, 2006

More on Automobile Brand Extensions

Don Hammonds from the Post Gazette gives us some interesting perspectives on how the efforts of car manufacturers to extend the appeal and reach of their brands can sometimes be successful, and sometimes bomb. He talks among other cars about the new Jeep Compass, and offers the following quotes by Jack Nerad, from Kelley Blue Book:

"The major market force driving all this is the fact that there's so much capacity now and [automakers] are looking for volume in any way they can get it." "The Jeep Compass is an example of this. DaimlerChrysler was looking for additional volume out of a platform that they had". "A person buying the Jeep Compass is unlikely to buy Dodge Caliber, which is built on the same platform, and vice versa".

The question that remains to be answered is how true Jeep enthusiasts will react in the long term to risky brand extensions like the Compass.

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Mercury News Reviews the Jeep Compass

Matt Nauman, from the Mercury News has just reviewed the new Jeep Compass and gives us some insights over Jeep's decision to enter new market segments.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Autoweek Reviews the Compass

"...the Compass, despite its tough truck exterior, is a car at heart, built on the same chassis as Caliber, Dodge’s upright small-car replacement for the Neon. Compass doesn’t even try to meet Jeep’s vaunted Trail-Rated off-roading standards. Those moans you hear are from the Jeep faithful slashing their wrists somewhere along the Rubicon."

Read the rest of this entertaining review of the Jeep Compass by Autoweek magazine here.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Jeep Compass Karaoke

Jeep has come up with a creative viral marketing ploy to help promote the new Jeep Compass. They have created a website where you can chose an avatar (a 3D graphic persona) and sing to the tune of three designated songs. Your performance is then uploaded and synchronized with the avatar's lips movement. You can then email your creation to friends who can vote for the best performer. The website cost less than $200,000 to make and instead of advertising the site, Jeep sent emails to 50,000 people who had requested information about the Compass. You can visit the site at: http://www.jeepcompasskaraoke.com .

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Saturday, July 22, 2006

All-new 2007 Jeep® Compass Launch - Official Press Release

All-new 2007 Jeep® Compass Grows Brand in a New Direction
  • Breakthrough Jeep® vehicle conquers all-new territory
  • Jeep Compass' modern, urban design appeals to new Jeep buyers
  • Interior features utility, flexibility and loads of cool innovations
  • Value abounds with excellent fuel economy and long list of standard safety features

The Jeep® brand is expanding into new territory with the 2007 Jeep Compass — an all-new modern-styled compact Jeep that delivers fun, freedom, utility, excellent fuel efficiency and Jeep 4x4 capability at a terrific value. Jeep Compass combines the packaging and functionality of a sport-utility vehicle (SUV) with the performance, handling, fuel economy and price of a compact car or small pickup.

Compass is the first Jeep vehicle to offer 30 miles per gallon on the highway — fuel-economy numbers not often found on an SUV. Compass also will be the Jeep brand's first front-wheel-drive-based product with a fully independent suspension for comfortable on-road ride and handling and fun-to-drive characteristics. And with Compass' starting U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $15,985 (including a $560 destination charge), the Jeep brand continues to grow by offering an affordable, modern-styled compact SUV designed to bring new customers to the brand.

"With Compass, Jeep continues to expand globally by offering a fun-to-drive, fuel-efficient and affordably priced Jeep vehicle designed to reach youthful customers who may not have previously considered the brand," said George Murphy, Senior Vice President – Global Marketing, Chrysler Group. "Compass is a new type of Jeep vehicle for non-traditional Jeep buyers. It allows the brand to compete in the fast-growing compact SUV segment, where there is increasing market demand for fuel economy, ride comfort and efficient packaging in an SUV."

Jeep Compass contributes to the Jeep brand's global lineup expansion to seven SUVs, including the Jeep Commander, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Liberty (Jeep Cherokee outside North America), Jeep Patriot, the legendary Jeep Wrangler and the all-new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited four-door.

The newest Jeep will be available in both Compass and Compass Limited models. Both are available in the United States with front-wheel-drive and four-wheel-drive capability and will arrive in U.S. dealerships in the third quarter of 2006. Four-wheel-drive models will begin to arrive in volume markets outside North America in the fourth quarter of 2006.

Conquering New Territory

Jeep Compass will compete in the compact SUV segment, which is expected to grow considerably in the next decade, giving the Jeep brand the opportunity to grow with it. Annual compact SUV volume in the United States for the 2005 calendar year was 368,000 units, up from 297,000 units in 2004. The compact SUV segment is expected to almost double to approximately 600,000 units by 2010 and almost triple to more than 814,000 units by 2016.

With the all-new Jeep Compass, Jeep is targeting single or recently married educated professionals in their early 20s to early 40s, who are independent and family-oriented. These U.S. buyers skew female and earn a median income of $60,000. Fifty percent are college educated. Upscale, fashionable and refined items fit their lifestyle. They want a sophisticated and modern vehicle that allows them to break from the routine, and Jeep Compass is designed and engineered to exceed their needs.

A Modern Interpretation of Traditional Jeep Styling

Sleek and sophisticated, the Jeep Compass broadens the global appeal of the Jeep brand by attracting new buyers who may not have previously considered it.

"Jeep Compass is an all-new design statement for Jeep," said Trevor Creed, Senior Vice President – Design. "Compass fulfills the demands of customers who want a Jeep vehicle that is modern, stylish and refined, but still offers the credibility and characteristics associated with the Jeep brand name."

Compass features the Jeep brand's signature seven-slot grille, round headlamps and trapezoidal wheel openings. However, there also are several modern design twists that distinguish Compass from traditionally styled Jeep vehicles. The all-new silhouette, with a steeply raked windshield, expressive hood and deep fascia, gives the Jeep Compass its modern, yet capable appearance.

The Jeep Compass' side profile features uniquely sculptured fender forms, delivering a fresh, athletic interpretation of traditional Jeep trapezoidal wheel flares. Standard 17-inch aluminum wheels and available 18-inch aluminum or chrome-clad wheels explore Compass' dual nature: off-road capable and on-road sophistication.

Jeep Utility Built Inside and Out

Jeep Compass' flexible interior gives buyers the capability to do more in terms of seating friends and storing gear. A command-of-the-road seating position gives drivers an added feeling of control. Compass has 39.4 inches of rear seat leg room, 53.6 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats folded flat and 60.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the front passenger seat back and rear seats folded flat.

In addition to interior spaciousness and flexibility, Jeep Compass has many clever and unique interior features available that add functionality not typically found in a compact SUV, including:

  • Available nine-speaker Boston Acoustics Premium Sound Group with subwoofer that includes two articulating speakers packaged in the liftgate. When the liftgate is open, the speakers can swing down to face rearward for tailgating and other activities
  • Auxiliary audio input jack for MP3 connectivity on standard radio
  • Available dual purpose, self-recharging removable interior lamp, which is mounted in the headliner above the cargo area and can snap out of the bezel to serve as a flashlight
  • Sliding center armrest that moves forward 3 inches to accommodate shorter drivers. The armrest lid includes a unique flip pocket for storing a cell phone or an MP3 player
  • Available 115-volt outlet in the center console that can power small electronics
  • Available fold-flat front passenger seat that creates a table-like surface for versatility
  • Flexible 60/40 fold-flat rear seats with available recline feature
  • UltraFloor™ durable vinyl load floor that is both removable and washable
    YES Essentials® seat fabric — an easy-care, soil-repellant and anti-microbial textile that protects seats from stains, odors and discoloration
  • Available navigation system that uses Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite technology to offer turn-by-turn route guidance with voice instruction, automatic re-route calculation and enough memory to store 100 addresses (late availability)

Jeep 4x4 Capability and Safety

Jeep Compass is the first Jeep vehicle available with both a standard front-wheel-drive system and an available four-wheel-drive system called Freedom Drive I.

Freedom Drive I is an available full-time, active four-wheel-drive system with lock mode designed to give drivers year-round assurance, as well as the ability to handle rough weather and low-traction conditions. This active four-wheel-drive system is recommended for daily use.

Freedom Drive I also features a lockable center coupling, giving drivers the ability to put Jeep Compass in four-wheel-drive lock mode to handle deeper snow, sand and other low-traction surfaces.

Jeep Compass also demonstrates that capability and safety go hand in hand. Standard safety features on all Compass models include:

  • Side-curtain air bags
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
  • Brake Assist
  • Electronic Roll Mitigation
  • Anti-lock brakes (ABS) with rough-road detection
  • Brake Traction Control

Compass' standard four-wheel anti-lock brakes provide an excellent 60–0 mph dry pavement stopping distance of 127 ft.

Jeep Compass features standard 17-inch aluminum wheels and all-season touring tires. Available all-terrain outlined white letter (OWL) tires also are available and contribute to Compass' 8.4 inches of ground clearance, a 20.6-degree approach angle, 32-degree departure angle and 21-degree breakover angle. The Jeep Compass Limited model features standard 18-inch aluminum wheels and all-season performance tires. An 18-inch aluminum chrome-clad wheel also is available as an option on the Jeep Compass Limited.

World-class Engineering

The 2007 Jeep Compass' powertrain delivers world-class performance, fuel economy and refinement.

Compass features a standard 172 horsepower 2.4-liter World Engine with dual Variable Valve Timing (VVT), which helps optimize the torque curve at all speeds. This World Engine produces more power, better fuel economy and smoother, quieter operation than engines without dual VVT. Dual VVT is a technology not typically available on vehicles sold in the United States in the Compass' price class.

Jeep Compass also features a standard five-speed manual transaxle and an available Continuously Variable Transaxle (CVT2). CVT2 is a second-generation CVT that Chrysler Group engineers calibrated for pleasing engine response, precise ratio control and an available AutoStick® feature on the Compass Limited model that allows for manual control with the simulation of six stepped gears. CVT2 contributes to a fuel economy improvement of 6 – 8 percent compared with a traditional four-speed automatic transaxle.

A 2.0-liter turbo diesel engine will be available in key diesel markets outside North America.

2007 Jeep Compass Production

Production of the 2007 Jeep Compass began in the second quarter of 2006 at the newly refurbished Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant. The new 172 horsepower 2.4-liter World Engine that powers the Jeep Compass is built in the state-of-the-art Global Engine Manufacturing Assembly (GEMA) plant in Dundee, Mich.

Jeep Brand

The Jeep brand's 65-year history of legendary capability has made it synonymous with freedom, adventure, mastery and authenticity. In 2006, the Jeep brand continues to deliver on its promise to provide versatile, innovative four-wheel-drive vehicles with the introduction of the all-new 2007 Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot, Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Jeep brand vehicle sales increased 12 percent in the United States in 2005 to 476,532 units (their highest total since 2000) compared with 2004 sales of 427,329 units.

Global Engine Manufacturing Alliance (GEMA)The World Engine is a family of world-class four-cylinder engines produced by GEMA in Dundee, Mich., delivering an exceptional combination of quality, fuel efficiency, refinement and performance. GEMA is owned equally by DaimlerChrysler Corp., Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Hyundai Motor Co. By optimizing the three joint venture partners' strengths, global economies of scale and the latest practices in flexible teams and machines, GEMA aims to set a new benchmark in engine plant productivity.

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2007 Jeep Compass Production Process

Auburn Hills, Mich., May 30, 2006 -

The Chrysler Group today announced the manufacturing launch of the all-new Jeep Compass at its Belvidere (Ill.) Assembly Plant. The plant, which was extensively retooled in 2005, has become a flagship for Chrysler Group's adoption of flexible manufacturing.

Flexible manufacturing is allowing the Company to bring its new vehicles to market more quickly and the Belvidere Assembly Plant to manufacture multiple products on one assembly line. Production of the all-new 2007 Dodge Caliber began there in January 2006, while the 2007 Jeep Patriot is scheduled to begin later this fall.

"We are now starting to see the results of the new flexible manufacturing process that we believe is a competitive advantage for the Chrysler Group," said Frank Ewasyshyn, Executive Vice President - Manufacturing. "Thanks to Belvidere's ability to build multiple models off one assembly line, we expect the Jeep Compass production to cost significantly less than the initial investment we made in the plant to build the Dodge Caliber."

At the core of the new manufacturing process is a body shop comprised of robots instead of the dedicated tooling that was previously used. Belvidere is Chrysler Group's first assembly plant to use a body shop comprised entirely of robotics. Only the robots' end affectors, or "hands," need to change in order to build the different models. That tool change is done automatically, within the time it takes to cycle from one vehicle to the next. In addition, the Belvidere plant is flexible enough to vary the production mix between three products anywhere from 0 to 100 percent of each model. A fourth model can also be piloted, or test-built at the same time, helping reduce the time needed to make new-model changeovers. The new body shop and other upgrades are part of a $419 million total Belvidere investment announced in 2005.

Many other changes are also taking place within the Chrysler Group manufacturing process to accommodate the multiple models. For example, new ways to make the required amount of stamping dies are saving the company up to 60 percent on the cost of those dies.

Material Flow
New methods of material handling are being implemented to manage the complexity of three models being built on one assembly line. The inbound parts sequencing center manages more than 1,800 different parts that are used in the Jeep Compass and Dodge Caliber build process. In addition to sequencing, this center provides parts metering, kitting and container management to the Belvidere Assembly Plant and delivers complete subassemblies just-in-time to the manufacturing floor.

A tunnel connects the 500,000 square-foot sequencing center to the Belvidere Assembly Plant. This facility, operated by TDS/US — one of Chrysler Group’s largest minority-owned suppliers — represents the highest level of integration within a Chrysler Group plant. TDS/US organizes parts, puts them in “kits” for individual work stations and delivers them to the end of a connecting tunnel for Belvidere employees to transport to the manufacturing floor. This process maintains in-plant stocks at optimal levels, minimizes delivery time and reduces costs an estimated 12 percent a year compared with the previous process. By carefully managing the material flow at the plant, the sequencing center helps workers focus on manufacturing quality and allows Belvidere to remain one of the most efficient manufacturing examples in the Chrysler Group family.

These pre-assembled modules reduce the number of components required to assemble the Jeep Compass
and Dodge Caliber, improving quality, productivity and worker ergonomics.

A new workplace organizational model, coined SMART manufacturing, is increasing the flexibility of the Belvidere workforce, while fostering greater creativity and innovation from plant employees. This model is being implemented throughout Chrysler Group's Manufacturing organization. In addition to extensive training, the new workplace model lets employees design their own work stations. These changes provide a better work environment for employees and give increased support to assembly line team members.

"Belvidere Assembly is running on all cylinders," said Kurt Kavajecz, Plant Manager – Belvidere Assembly Plant. "In the first half of 2006, we added a second shift and started production of the Jeep Compass and Dodge Caliber. In addition, we're getting ready to launch the Jeep Patriot in a few months and have recently announced the addition of a third shift, approximately 1,000 new jobs. Our new workplace organization model, in which employees work in small teams, has fostered greater creativity and innovation on the plant floor and made for a very smooth process."

Jeep Compass
The 2007 Jeep Compass is an all-new modern-styled compact Jeep vehicle that delivers fun, freedom, utility, excellent fuel efficiency and Jeep 4x4 capability — all at a terrific value. With a starting U.S. Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $15,985, including a $560 destination charge, Jeep Compass combines the packaging and functionality of a sport-utility vehicle with the performance, handling, fuel economy and price of a compact car or small pickup truck. Jeep Compass is designed to appeal to new buyers who might not have previously considered a Jeep vehicle.

The Chrysler Group is the city of Belvidere's largest employer and has a significant impact on the community with 2,885 employees throughout Illinois who generate $188 million in annual wages (year-end 2005). The 3.7 million square-foot Belvidere Assembly Plant employs approximately 2,650 people. Union members are represented by United Auto Worker's Union Locals 1268 and 1761. The plant began production of the Plymouth Fury and Doge Monaco in 1965. The Chrysler Group will implement its flexible manufacturing process in its Sterling Heights (Mich.) and St. Louis South (Fenton, Mo.) Assembly Plants next.

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The Jeep Compass is Here

Well, Jeep dealers are beginning to receive their fist Jeep Compasses, so we will start covering its evolution in this blog. The Compass is being billed as one of Jeep's biggest gambles, taking the brand to the uncharted territory of "soft-road" vehicles (more like a Subaru than a real Jeep).

Some are already talking about the dilution of the Jeep brand, while Jeep executives dismiss that idea and believe that Jeep will maintain its heritage as it tries to capture new markets.

As time evolves it will be interesting to find out if the Compass will become a marketing success paramount to what the Porsche Cayenne became (coincidentally, the voices crying foul back then were as loud as those rebelling against the Compass today), or if the Compass will become for Jeep an embarassment similar to what the Pontiac Aztec was for GM. Let the games begin!

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