The sales figures do not support this view. People would not continue to buy Wranglers if they thought they were bad vehicles. Based on the interviews I have seen, this is the thinking of FCA's management.I would venture to say most of that sales growth has come from customers who do not often (if ever) venture off-road. These customers aren't going to tolerate poor highway manners (because the "that's a sacrifice you make for off-road capability" excuse isn't going to resonate with them).
I don't agree. There is a significant segment of Jeepers who buy Jeeps because they travel over light to medium trails on the weekend. They don't need lockers or electronic sway bar disconnects. They won't like this change to a dumbed down offroader.IMO, FCA should develop an IFS for the Sport and Sahara and leave the SFA in the Rubicon (i.e., the Rubicon becomes a different vehicle- sort of like the Raptor is somewhat distinct from the F150). That would leave the Sport and Sahara trims as vehicles that behave well on the highway while still being more than capable of handling the limited off-roading 90% of Jeep owners actually do- with a Rubicon model for the 10% (probably less) for whom off-roading is the primary purpose for the vehicle.
This is the opportunity for the Bronco. Let us see if Ford can take advantage of it.There is a huge market segment for a utilitarian-looking vehicle with removable doors and top that can be comfortably driven on the highway and still handle a dirt road with ruts (thus the reintroduction of the Bronco). The market for a vehicle that can survive 3' of water and climb over a 24" rock is pretty small... Splitting the set-up of the trim levels would give FCA the best of both worlds.