In all the time that Stellantis has kept the Jeep Grand Cherokee in its elevated brand and sales position as the SUV boom has taken over the U.S. market, the company has only really soft-pedaled one of the biggest attributes of this nameplate: It pretty much began the revolution in which utility vehicles moved from off-road playthings to mainstream stalwarts of the American road.
That has changed today with a new advertising campaign for Grand Cherokee, called “Dents,” that starts with a 60-second spot paying homage to the staying power of this model, which came on the U.S. market in 1992.
The commercial openly celebrates the dings, dents and fabric tears that come to a vehicle that’s stayed in a family for a couple of decades — in this case, a Grand Cherokee that bears a dink from a marriage proposal, a dent from a family adventure, and a back-seat rip that accompanied the bringing home of a new puppy. In the end, a father flips the keys to the old Grand Cherokee to his teenaged daughter as the family slips into a new Grand Cherokee 4xe hybrid.
“We’re no longer speaking of comfort but of loyalty,” said Olivier Francois, chief marketing officer for Stellantis, the transatlantic, Holland-based company that has owned the former Fiat Chrysler since 2021. Grand Cherokee “is a nameplate that has been on everyone’s heart, with millions sold since 1992, and now nostalgia plays a role as [owners] pass on the vehicle to their children. It’s an extended, cross-generational approach to loyalty that allows us to add an emotional connection with customers.”
The loyalty factor for Grand Cherokee is real. Year to date, Stellantis said, the nameplate enjoys the highest model-to-model-year loyalty in th full-size vehicle segment. During its stewardship of the Jeep brand, beginning in 2009, Fiat Chrysler did a great job of leveraging what was already a long history for the Grand Cherokee nameplate and, especially recently, improving the vehicle so it could compete side-by-side with other major SUV nameplates.
Stellantis has accelerated the improvement of Grand Cherokee recently by adding a three-row version of the nameplate, by introducing its first electrified version, by keeping its onboard technology on par with the best in the industry, and with touches such as adding the option for a two-tone exterior, such as a black roof on a white vehicle.
Also, after a touch-and-go situation with inventories for a few years due to the microchip shortage, “Inventories of Grand Cherokee are finally beginning to build” on dealer lots, Francois noted.
The initial commercial in “Dents” returns Stellantis to the heart-swelling genre of advertising with which the brand so often has succeeded during Francois’s tenure, including a spate of Super Bowl commercials for Jeep and Ram brands.
“For our owners, their Jeep Grand Cherokee is much more than a mode of transportation,” Marissa Hunter, senior vice president of Stellantis North America, said in a press release. It is a member of their family playing a pivotal role in their own life journey.”