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Redusernab Asks: Does Jeep need to keep calling it “Wrangler”?

Ross Ballot February 28, 2018 Redusernab Asks 16 Comments

Would dropping the “Wrangler” name dilute the reputation of Jeep’s halo vehicle?

Despite pushback from enthusiasts clamoring for real, fun, actual names, we’re living in an age of ever-increasing reliance on numbers and letters to stand as a vehicle’s name. And yet, the Wrangler name holds strong. Jeep has always been upfront about its internal codes though, from CJ all the way up through JL, and even including it’s non-Wrangler vehicles.

Even Porsche has gone retro-alphanumeric with the addition of 718 attached to the front of its Boxster/Cayman’s nomenclature, and the reliance on short, letter/number-indicating nameplates becomes ever-stronger as each year passes. And, just to drive the point home, enthusiasts regularly refer to models by their internal engine/chassis codes with increasing frequency, and many Jeep fans do so when talking about the Wrangler models they love so dearly. But, as even Jeep has begun referring to its newest Wrangler, it seems that they have even begun to acknowledge the helpfulness of internal/external codes being what buyers and enthusiasts alike recognize the model by.

Would Jeep calling the JL just “JL” and not “Wrangler” harm it in the eyes of the enthusiasts, and consumers alike? Does Jeep even need the “Wrangler” name going forward? Is it time for the company to embrace alphanumerics?

(Let the record show that I am no way in favor of automakers moving to alphanumerics; I’d rather see real names, even bad ones, before number/letter combos)

  • P161911

    Well, they were Jeep CJs before they were Wranglers.

    • Maymar

      Not only that, we used YJ and TJ as the actual names in Canada (I think issues with Wrangler Jeans’s copyright restricted the Wrangler name up here until the JK came out).

      • P161911

        CJ was originally Civilian Jeep. I think YJ and TJ were just internal platform designations that happened to get picked up by the general public, at least here in the US.

      • Stumack

        The trademark issue was with GM Canada, who was already using the Wrangler name as a full-size Chevy/GMC pickup trim level in the ’80s when the YJ was introduced, and then held onto it.

  • Douche_McGee

    Just call it a Jeep – if you tell someone you own a Jeep, they 99% of the time assume it’s a Wrangler.

    Plus it would make it hell for the parts store people

    yeah I have a Jeep
    A Jeep what?
    Just a Jeep
    Cherokee? Wrangler?
    Nope, just a Jeep.

  • Batshitbox

    Two doors and a removable roof are, for me, non-negotiable criteria for calling something a Jeep Wrangler.
    Two doors and a fixed roof is a Cherokee, 4 doors and a fixed roof is a Wagoneer.

  • In honor of FCA’s convoluted history both with Ferrari and with American Motors they should simply run with the names Jeep LaJeep and Jeep Le Jeep.

    • Vairship

      Eagle Le Eagle or Kaiser Le Kaiser/Willys Le Willys? Maybe even hark back to Bantam La Bantam.

      • Le American LaAustin.

  • Zentropy

    The vehicle didn’t start with the “Wrangler” name, and I still think of the CJ as the icon of the brand. I wouldn’t protest if they dropped it— it’s honestly kind of stupid, anyway. I’m sure most real “wranglers” would drive pickups. I think it’d be cool if they renamed it the Willys.

  • Alff

    As a sure-footed animal found in the mountains, I think they should rename it Ram.

  • outback_ute

    They can’t just call it the JL because the model code changes regularly and it will confuse non-enthusiasts (95% +). Even here in Australia where model codes have always been used you find many people who have no idea even about the most well known ones.

  • They need to continue the Wrangler name. As usual, DO NOT LISTEN TO ENTHUSIASTS!!! Ignore their YJ, TJ, JK blathering. It’s nonsense that makes them feel like they are experts. By walking away from an iconic name like Wrangler, you’d alienate the much more profitable poser/wannabe market. As much as we like to claim they ruin everything, we have to admit that they pay the bills.

    As a general rule I like to think about what a Trekkie would do, and then advise the opposite.

    • Maymar

      I think the current model (stick to a brand name, but make sure the internal designations are commonly known) works pretty well. It keeps the name recognition, but it helps add that air of enthusiast cred (by pandering to them a little) and authenticity to appeal to the poseurs. Plus, it’s nice to have the quick shorthand that a chassis/model designation brings.

  • P161911

    Keep Wrangler so I can keep calling them Jeep Stranglers.

  • jeepjeff

    They should keep the Wrangler nameplate. I refer to mine as a Wrangler most of the time and usually only kick around that it’s a TJ if I’m talking to car people.

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