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​Jeep: another year of leadership

Leading the Brazilian SUV segment for the third consecutive year in 2018, Jeep has licensed more than 106,000 units around the country

January 31, 2019 - Entrepreneur George Gepp, a resident of Pernambuco (PE), remembers the moment he had his first real contact with a car: he was 13 years old, on his mother's 1965 Jeep Willys, where he would learn how to drive. It was a defining experience: "You never forget the first Jeep you drive". From that moment on a love was born. Today, 20 years later, he has his own Renegade and shares with thousands of Brazilians his love for Jeep, the brand that ended 2018 at the top of the SUV segment in Brazil, with a 22% share in the category. It's the third consecutive year of leadership - and a love relationship that only grows.

The Jeep's short time in George's garage, however, does not express the stories he already bears on four wheels. In love with the off-road spirit, as soon as he acquired his Trailhawk version, he decided to test the car on an expedition with his wife, Paloma Amorim, to Jalapão, a natural conservation park located in the state of Tocantins. They traveled on trails for 12 days, about 5,500 kilometers (km), of which 1,400 km were through rough terrain, sand, stones and mud, as well as bridges that demanded a lot of caution.

"I took this trip looking for off-road challenges. And, the performance of the car's engine on the road, on curves and when overtaking other cars, it made me feel safe. That was just delightful to me, and when I started putting the car into more difficult situations, it fascinated me even more", says George. He recalls that, on the way, they went through a desert path, with very fine sand. "Access to the dunes was pretty bad. I was next to bigger cars, but the Jeep left nothing to be desired, quite the contrary. I even helped a van get out of trouble! he laughs.

When he had a chance to see the Renegade up close (pictured below), George says he didn’t hesitate. "I really liked the versatility, comfort and autonomy", he says. No wonder, it had the largest number of SUV shipments in December last year, accumulating an expansion of 20.9% in sales compared to the same month in 2017.

A self-employed kitesurfing expert from Pernambuco, Diego de Souza, 33, is always going to Pipa, a beach located 80 km from Natal, the capital of Rio Grande do Norte (RN). To get there from Recife (PE), where he lives, there are some "official" ways, on the asphalt, but there was one road that drew more his attention: one that could be done through the beach on the sand. However, with the low, sportier cars he had, he would never make it. "It's kind of adventurous", he says. "I could not do this if I had an ordinary car".

After purchasing the Jeep Compass, however, the trip took on a different meaning. On the way, he went through stretches of sand (pictured below), deserted beaches, ferry crossings and trails through rivers and streams. "It's a totally different experience than what I was used to. Now I travel in style", he prides himself. "Everyone he has taken to Pipa down this path is stunned by the energy it transmits".

The latest heir to the brand's off-road spirit, the Jeep Compass, had a big share of responsibility for driving Jeep's leadership to the top in the Brazilian SUV segment. It's no wonder. In 2018, there were 60,284 units licensed, an increase of 22.6% compared to 2017. When we add George and Diego's models (Renegade and Compass, made in Brazil) plus the imported ones (Cherokee, Wrangler and Grand Cherokee) it boosted the brand by 106,954 sold vehicles in 2018, an increase of 21.3% over the previous year.

"All these numbers confirm how much Jeep continues to grow and consolidate its name in the country, but even more important is to see that there is a very special relationship between customers and the brand", said Tania Silvestri, Jeep director for Latin America. "Our vehicles motivate people to look for moments of freedom, authenticity, adventure and passion and it's no coincidence that these are the four pillars that guide Jeep".

In addition to being able to travel through breathtaking landscapes, Diego can now properly accommodate all the necessary equipment for the sport - board, belt, kite and a control bar - in the car, something that before, with the lower and sportier cars, he could not do. "I found in the Compass the comfort, space and technology I needed. It's a car that I can count on for work and for leisure", he says, satisfied.

"The love that our customers have for the brand is totally related to everything we apply in the production of our cars, always focusing on quality", says Pierluigi Astorino, plant manager of the Jeep automotive plant, where Renegade and Compass models are manufactured. Located in the city of Goiana, in Pernambuco, the factory is considered to be one of the most modern FCA plants in the world, with pioneering Industry 4.0 solutions. Settling in a region traditionally occupied by sugarcane monoculture, the plant has become the center of an industrial pole and an exporter, which has generated quality jobs.

Words: Isabela Alves

Pictures: Marketing

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