According to a presentation to be made later today, Jeep is adding a new “Desert Hawk” version of the 2019 Cherokee, and a city-type “Hawk” will follow. There are already TrailHawks (with added off-road capability) and TrackHawks (replacing SRT for Jeep).
The move is part of a longer-term plan, started under Daimler — possibly under Chrysler Corporation itself — to popularize Jeep and divorce its vehicles from the strict capabilities required under AMC and, until the Compass/Patriot, under Chrysler. The company had even replicated a section of the Rubicon Trail in Chelsea, Michigan, for testing new Jeeps.
A slide in the plan points out that the Wrangler requires full capability and traction, while an SUV needs just capability and traction; the next step is the urban SUV, with just traction, “family utility,” handling and dynamics, and lower cost of ownership. Likewise, another slide shows the Wrangler uniquely as having capability, functionality, and dynamics/fuel economy, in that order; while “all other Jeeps” focus on dynamics/fuel economy first, then functionality, then capability.
The Desert Hawk will launch in early 2020, with “ultimate Jeep high-speed sand-running capability,” underpinned by “eight desert-specific engineering standards.” It will be responsible for 10% of Cherokee sales, and will cots 10%-15% more than a standard well-equipped Cherokee.
Which hawk is next? “All weather capability, fuel efficient, fully connected, stress free mobility.” CityHawk?
The author of Dodge Viper, Jeep’s Go-Anywhere Vehicles, and The Rise and Reinvention of Chrysler Minivans, David Zatz has been writing about cars and trucks since the early 1990s; he also writes on organizational development and business at toolpack.info and covers Mac statistics software at macstats.org. His latest book, for kids, is Meet the Jeep.
David has been quoted by the New York Times, the Daily Telegraph, the Detroit News, and USA Today. You can reach him by using our contact form (preferred) or by calling (313) 766-2304.