Hellcat Jeep? yeah! Jeep shows off 7 awesome Easter Jeep Safari concept vehicles

Jeep® Comanche Concept

Jeep® Comanche Concept

BY GERRY MILES

Spring has come early in the Northeast – we hopes it stays – but getting the drapes pulled off seven Jeep Safari concepts was an early present for motorheads everywhere today. The 50th annual event coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Jeep brand.

“Every year, the Jeep team looks forward to pushing the limits with new, exciting and capable concept vehicles for our most loyal enthusiasts at the Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, where we receive a tremendous amount of valuable feedback,” said Mike Manley, Head of Jeep Brand – FCA Global. “This year is extra special, as together with our biggest fans, we celebrate Jeep’s 75th anniversary, as well as the 50th running of the Jeep Safari. We’re delighted to share seven of the most capable and eye-catching concept Jeep vehicles we’ve ever created at this year’s historic event.”

Trying to pick a favorite is presumably as tough as  picking your favorite child. There’s a Hellcat version of a Wrangler called Trailcat. Yes someone will want 707 horsepower in a Wranger just because Ralph Gilles have found a way to do it. And he wanted to. Whether you wish to walk or spring, it’ll do it.
Jeep® FC 150 Heritage Vehicle

Jeep® FC 150 Heritage Vehicle

Nostalgic is shown in the FC 150, the old is new again cab over design that can tackle any trail albeit slower than the Trailcat of course.

Electronics may be shorting out everywhere over the Jeep Comanche pickup concept. Merge a Wrangle with the old pickem ‘up and you get this retro, cool Jeep. Maybe this is why Sergio deep-sixed the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200, eh? Well some folks can dream.

The Shortcut is a nod to the CJ 5 series of Jeep fame. The Crew Chief 715 salutes egendary Jeep military service vehicles; the Renegade Commander could blaze a trail deep into the wilderness, a Comanche blends being off-road ready with practical utility while the Trailstorm adds a 2-inch lift kit, 37-inch tires and Dana 44 axles.

“These seven vehicles have been modified with Mopar and Jeep Performance Parts to take on the toughest trails, to go beyond where the road ends,” said Pietro Gorlier, Head of Parts and Service (Mopar), FCA – Global. “Mopar’s mission is to provide all FCA US vehicle owners with unique performance parts and accessories  to tailor vehicles to their individual lifestyles. Nothing supports that more than demonstrating how we can equip Jeep owners to take on some of the more extreme trails in the world.”

The seven new Jeep concept vehicles built for Moab this year were created by a team of dedicated, passionate engineers, designers and fabricators that have been customizing production vehicles since 2002, and have introduced more than 50 concept vehicles for the enthusiasts who attend the popular Easter Jeep Safari.

The 2016 Easter Jeep Safari concept vehicles include:

Jeep® Crew Chief 715 Concept

Jeep® Crew Chief 715 Concept

Jeep Crew Chief 715
The Jeep Crew Chief 715 concept vehicle was built as a salute to legendary Jeep military service vehicles, in particular the Kaiser M715. This open-air Wrangler Unlimited-based concept vehicle showcases a burly design with heritage styling cues. The Crew Chief 715 utilizes modern-day construction with a rear seat and extra doors for additional passenger capacity while staying close to its classic military roots.

Original Jeep military service vehicles were legendary for getting troops through rugged terrain, and the Jeep Crew Chief 715 illustrates this legacy. Steel front and rear bumpers, 20-inch beadlock wheels and 40-inch NDT military tires pay homage to the original Jeep military vehicles. The Crew Chief 715 utilizes an on-board air system with a hard-mounted quick-disconnect fitting for airing up or lending assistance to other vehicles on the trail. Other features include a master cylinder brake upgrade, cold air intake and a modified exhaust.

Exterior features, such as Jeep Performance Parts off-road rock rails, a winch mounted into the front and rear bumpers, Dana 60 front and rear axles and a 4-inch lift kit with Jeep Performance Parts/Fox 2.0 Remote Reservoir shocks, give the Crew Chief 715 increased capability. The “Tactical Green” color scheme runs from the custom modified M715-inspired front-end to the tailgate. The Crew Chief 715 features a military themed 5-foot cargo bed.

Inside, the no-nonsense interior features leather bucket seats with canvas inserts, aircraft-inspired control switches and Mopar all-weather mats. The media center features a centrally located navigational compass.

The Jeep Crew Chief 715 is powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and is mated to a five-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep® Shortcut Concept

Jeep® Shortcut Concept

Jeep Shortcut
A carefully crafted take on the beloved Jeep CJ-5, this Wrangler-based concept vehicle invokes the spirit of 1950s Americana with a shortened body and functional simplicity.

Exterior styling cues include a unique grille, hood, tailgate, front and rear wheel flares and custom chrome front and rear bumpers. A modified exhaust, 17-inch red steel wheels and 35-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires help the Jeep Shortcut maintain the look of an icon.

Jeep Performance Parts featured on the Shortcut include a front and rear Dana 44 axle and a 2-inch lift with Fox shocks. Overall body length has been reduced by 26 inches including bumpers and spare tire to keep the Shortcut concept vehicle light and maneuverable on the trails.

Jeep® Shortcut Concept Interior

Jeep® Shortcut Concept Interior

Inside, the simple yet functional interior features low-back leather bucket seats with plaid inserts, a red ball shifter handle, four-point safety cage and Mopar all-weather mats.

The Jeep Shortcut is powered by the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep® Renegade Commander Concept

Jeep® Renegade Commander Concept

Jeep Renegade Commander
The Jeep Renegade Commander concept vehicle is equipped with an assortment of Mopar and Jeep Performance Parts for the ultimate off-road adventure. A 2-inch lift kit and 17-inch Rubicon aluminum wheels with 29.5-inch BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 tires increase the off-road capabilities of the Jeep Renegade Commander.

The “Fluorescent Gray” exterior features Renegade’s MySky open-air roof with removable panels, custom body decal, Mopar off-road rock rails, skid plates and a modified exhaust. Also featured are the Mopar brand’s trailer hitch receiver and front and rear auxiliary lights.

Inside, the Renegade Commander includes Katzkin seat covers, body color bezel accents, a pedal kit, Mopar off-road kit and Mopar all-weather floor mats.

The Jeep Renegade Commander is powered by the 2.4-liter Tigershark engine with MultiAir2 mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission with Jeep Active Drive Low.

Jeep® Comanche Concept

Jeep® Comanche Concept

Jeep Comanche
Based on the Jeep Renegade, the Jeep Comanche concept vehicle is designed to be off-road ready with practical utility. A nod to Jeep pickup trucks of years past, the Comanche concept takes styling cues from military and civilian Jeep heritage.

The Comanche’s “Beige Against the Machine” concept exterior paint is accented with a Satin Black hood, a concept lower front fascia, winch, steel rear bumper, soft top and spare tire in the bed. The wheelbase has been stretched an additional six inches versus a production Renegade to accommodate Comanche’s 5-foot bed.

Inside, the Comanche features custom seat covers, pedal covers, door sill guards and Mopar all-weather mats. Jeep Performance Parts like off-road rock rails, a 2-inch lift kit and a winch bolster the Comanche’s off-road capability. The Comanche rolls on 16-inch painted wheels and 32-inch BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A tires.

The Jeep Comanche is powered by a 2.0-liter diesel I-4 engine and mated to a 9-speed automatic transmission with Jeep Active Drive Lock, which includes low range and a locking rear differential.

Jeep® FC 150 Heritage Vehicle

Jeep® FC 150 Heritage Vehicle

Jeep FC 150
A true American workhorse, this 1960 Jeep FC 150 concept vehicle is rich with heritage and built to tackle both challenging rocky trails and the harshness of a western cattle ranch. Originally built from 1956 to 1965, the FC 150 is based on the CJ-5 and offers a clever packaging solution by keeping overall length to a minimum for maneuverability, but maintaining a full-length cargo box for utility.

This heritage Jeep vehicle continues to utilize its original steel body that proudly bears battle scars while components underneath have been revamped. The FC 150’s off-road prowess has been enhanced courtesy of a 2005 Jeep Wrangler chassis modified to accept a Dana 44 front axle, Dana 60 rear axle and 17-inch white steel wheels wrapped in 33-inch BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM2 tires.

Inside, the FC 150 features vinyl seat covers, a custom headliner wrapped in a vintage duck hunting pattern, CB radio, analog compass and Mopar all-weather mats.

The Jeep FC 150 heritage vehicle is powered by a 4.0-liter PowerTech I-6 and is mated to a 3-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep® Trailcat Concept

Jeep® Trailcat Concept

Jeep Trailcat
The Jeep Trailcat concept vehicle is the ultimate off-road machine, equally at home on Moab’s rugged trails or a high-speed section. Utilizing the supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI® Hellcat V-8 engine, and mated to a 6-speed manual transmission with a custom shifter ball featuring an embossed Hellcat logo, the Trailcat concept vehicle leaves everything else in a cloud of dust.

Jeep® Trailcat Concept Interior

Jeep® Trailcat Concept Interior

To get the 707-horsepower Hellcat engine into the Trailcat, designers stretched the wheelbase an additional 12 inches while chopping the windshield two inches for a sleeker look. Mopar exterior enhancements include a power-dome vented hood, Satin Black grille, LED headlamps and fog lamps and rock rails.

The robust off-road look is further aided by steel front and rear bumpers, 17-inch beadlock wheels and 39.5-inch BFGoodrich Krawler T/A KX tires, front and rear Dana 60 axles and Fox shocks.

The Jeep Wrangler “Trailcat” is one of seven new concepts JeSubtle design cues, such as a Hellcat decal on the front quarter panels and a “Trailcat” decal on the side of the hood, hint at the horsepower that lurks beneath, making this much more than a typical production Wrangler. The Trailcat’s interior is simple yet functional and features sport bucket seats from the Dodge Viper, made from carbon fiber and featuring Katzkin leather seat covers with accent stitching.

Jeep® Trailcat Concept

Jeep® Trailcat Concept

Jeep® Trailstorm Concept

Jeep® Trailstorm Concept

Jeep Trailstorm
The Trailstorm concept vehicle is the ultimate Jeep Wrangler for exploring off the beaten path. Offering room for extra gear and fuel tanks, it is based on the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, and delivers elevated capability to conquer trails with ease.

Off-road capabilities are enhanced with several Jeep Performance Parts, including 17-inch concept off-road wheels wrapped in 37-inch tires, a 2-inch lift kit with Jeep Performance Parts/Fox shocks, a Jeep Performance Parts Rubicon winch, and Dana 44 front and rear axles. Half doors offer a clear view of obstacles ahead and a bedlined interior makes cleaning up after a day on the trails easy.

Mopar exterior enhancements include a winch guard, Satin Black grille, LED headlights and fog lights, high top fenders, power-dome vented hood, Mopar off-road rock rails with a step, Big Brake Kit, a concept fast-back soft top, tail light guards and a Mopar fuel filler door. Finishing the Trailstorm’s exterior upgrades are a steel front and rear Rubicon bumper and a Jeep Performance Parts tire carrier. The Trailstorm is wrapped in camouflage allowing it to blend into its surroundings in the Utah desert.

The Trailstorm’s bedlined interior also features Katzkin seat covers and Mopar all-weather floor mats. The Jeep Trailstorm is powered by a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.

Jeep® Trailstorm Concept

Jeep® Trailstorm Concept

Auto industry drives most intimate brand relationships

The four highest ranking automotive brands are: BMW, Toyota, Harley-Davidson and GMC.

NEW YORK — Four out of the top 10 most intimate brands are in the automotive industry, according to MBLM’s Brand Intimacy 2015 Report, which examines ultimate brand relationships.

“Automotive is the highest ranking industry across all three of our markets, the U.S., Mexico and the UAE. That’s pretty suggestive of the strong bonds people have with their cars and the ability of this category to connect with consumers,” stated Mario Natarelli, MBLM’s managing partner. “Car brands are more than one of our most significant purchases. They represent our sensibilities and our status in life. As important as these values are to consumers, fulfillment of the brand (how well it exceeds expectations, delivers superior service, quality and efficacy) remains a top factor. Recent experiences by brands like Volkswagen will likely have profound effects on the bonds with their consumers.”

In the auto industry, the top 10 is rounded out by:

  • Jeep
  • Chevrolet
  • Ford
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Chrysler
  • Honda

“With all the dramatic evolution in this category enhanced by technology and from trends like car sharing and autonomous driving, intimate brands will win in the long term,” added Natarelli.

This year’s report contains one of the most comprehensive rankings of brands based on emotion, analyzing the responses of 6,000 consumers and 52,000 brand evaluations across nine industries in the U.S., Mexico and UAE. MBLM’s reports and interactive Brand Ranking Tool showcase the performance of almost 400 brands, revealing the characteristics and intensity of the consumer bonds.

Memorial Day Sales: Zero Glitz and Big Deals says Edmunds.com

BY GERRY MILES

We’re used to lots of balloons, clowns and the big, tall 12-foot single color thing that waves all over the place to attract the attention of would-be car shoppers are dealerships.

Over this coming Memorial Day Weekend, there should be ZERO GLITZ AND GLITTER, according to Edmunds.com analysts and plenty of bargains all around from many of the automakers.

0% Financing Galore:

0% financing is huge this month. Edmunds.com analysts estimate that about 1/3 of all new vehicles have some sort of 0% promotion happening – and that’s even true for some of the small SUVs that are the hottest vehicle segment on the market right now.

Here are some examples:

  • Most Ford vehicles (including Escape Focus, Fusion, and outgoing non-aluminum F-150)
  • Many Nissan vehicles including Rogue and Versa
  • Most Toyota vehicles (including Camry, Corolla, RAV4)
  • Many Green vehicles including Volt, Leaf, Prius

$199 Leases:

There are a ton of these available, including on Buick, Chevy, Honda, Hyundai, Jeep, Subaru and VW models. More info here:

http://www.edmunds.com/car-leasing/monthly-199-lease-deals.html

Crazy EV Lease:

Chevrolet Spark EV has a $139 Lease with $0 Due at Signing. This is an EV car payment that may be less than your cell phone bill!

http://www.chevrolet.com/spark-ev-electric-vehicle.html

Interested in getting one of these great deals but now sure how to do all your research in time? The consumer advice experts at Edmunds.com offer a simple three-day shopping plan that makes it easy for you to do all your homework and bring home a new car before the deals run out:

http://www.edmunds.com/car-buying/three-day-shopping-plan-for-holiday-weekends.html

Jeep adds special edition: 2014 Wrangler Dragon

Jeep® Wrangler “Dragon” Design Concept debuts at 2012 Beijing

Jeep® Wrangler “Dragon” Design Concept debuts at 2012 Beijing Auto Expo

BY GERRY MILES

Keeping their streak of special editions alive, Jeep rolled out a new Wrangler Dragon Edition adorned with Black and Bronze Satin Gloss exterior and interior spiffs.

The special edition model in was carried an Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $36,095.

The edition follows the Wrangler Dragon Design Concept at the Beijing International Automotive Exposition to wide acclaim across the globe, and particularly throughout the Jeep enthusiast community.

“When we introduced the Jeep Wrangler Dragon Design Concept last year, we received tremendously positive feedback,” said Mike Manley, President and CEO – Jeep Brand, Chrysler Group LLC. “Our loyal Jeep enthusiasts asked us to build this unique Wrangler, and we are delivering exactly what they’ve asked for. The new 2014 Jeep Wrangler Dragon Edition boasts a stunning, unique, upscale design with styling cues that make it unlike any Wrangler ever seen before.”

Based upon the Wrangler Sahara, the dragon is meant to symbolize strength and power and is associated with royalty and good fortune.  Available only in Black as a 4-door Unlimited model , the Jeep Wrangler Dragon Edition features Bronze Satin Gloss trim inside and out.

The Jeep Wrangler Dragon Edition is painted Black with a black body-color 3-piece hard top. Bronze Satin Gloss details are also on the front grille slats, headlamp surrounds and Jeep badging. Unique 18-inch 5-spoke alloy wheels are matte black with a Satin Bronze high-gloss outer edge.

2014 Jeep Wrangler Dragon Edition

2014 Jeep Wrangler Dragon Edition

The exterior also features gloss-black appliques on the front and rear bumpers, and a Dark Charcoal dragon decal that starts on the hood and runs along the driver’s side of the vehicle. Final exterior touches include a Mopar® fuel-filler door and a black spare tire cover with dragon decal.

The black and bronze theme continues inside with heated black Nappa leather seating surfaces with Satin Bronze Dragon Scale on the outer bolster surfaces, center console arm rest and steering wheel.

2014 Jeep Wrangler Dragon Edition

2014 Jeep Wrangler Dragon Edition

Holy Toledo! 1 Millionth Jeep Wrangler rolls off production line

JEEP_MILLION_06
BY GERRY MILES

One of the most iconic vehicles in the US and perhaps the world, the Jeep Wrangler, celebrated its one-millionth iteration rolling off the Toledo, Ohio production line recently. With the usual gusto, balloons, and well-deserved bravado, Jeep had a proud moment at its production line that’s well deserved.

The full presser can be read below.

Mauro Pino, Chrysler Group’s Vice President of Vehicle Assembly Operations, and Dan Henneman, Jeep Unit Chairman of UAW Local 12, drove the black 2013 JeepWrangler Rubicon 10th Anniversary Edition, bound for a customer in Sarasota, Fla., off the final line.
“Every Jeep Wrangler sold to customers around the world is born in Toledo, Ohio,” said Pino. “Since this facility opened eight years ago, the Toledo workforce has built every one of those million vehicles with pride, passion and a focus on quality. We all look forward to building the next million.”Since 1941, Jeep – the original sport-utility vehicle – has represented freedom, authenticity, adventure and passion.

“More than 600 UAW-represented workers at the Wrangler assembly plant come to work every day with a dedication unmatched in the industry,” said Zach Leroux, Plant Manager – Toledo Assembly Complex, Chrysler Group. “We all understand that we are the keepers of the Jeep legacy and we take that role very seriously. The entire team is humbled to be part of this milestone moment.”

“The Toledo workforce understands that the Jeep brand’s success is directly related to the quality of their work,” said Henneman. “They continue to rise to the challenge of meeting the demand for one of the most recognized sport-utility vehicles worldwide and demonstrating their commitment to millions of Jeep enthusiasts.”

The 2013 Jeep Wrangler is recognized and respected by top automotive influencers, garnering numerous awards including Specialty Equipment Market Association’s Hottest 4×4 SUV; Petersen’s 4-Wheel & Off-Road Magazine’s 4×4 of the Year; Texas Auto Writers Association’s Mid-Size SUV of Texas; Kelley Blue Book’s Best Resale Value Award for Compact Utility Vehicle; Kelley Blue Book’s Top 10 Best Resale Value Award; Autobytel.com’s SUV of the Year; and Four Wheeler’s Four Wheeler of the Year Award.

Connected under one roof with the North Plant, where the all-new 2014 Jeep Cherokee will be built this year, the Toledo Assembly Complex’s Supplier Park began production of the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited in 2006. Located on the same site as the former Stickney Plant, the complex includes body and chassis operations, produced in partnership with suppliers Kuka and Mobis, respectively. The Stickney Plant was built in 1942 and nearly two decades later, was converted to produce the Jeep Grand Wagoneer. The facility became the Toledo Assembly Plant when Chrysler Corporation acquired American Motors Corporation (AMC) in August 1987. In the fall of 1997, Toledo North was built for the production of theJeep Liberty, which launched in April 2001, and later added production of the 2007 Dodge Nitro which launched in August 2006. The last Jeep Liberty and Dodge Nitro rolled off the line in August 2012 and December 2011, respectively. Toledo North will add 1,105 new jobs on a second shift in the third quarter, bringing total complex employment to more than 3,000.

Employees at the Toledo Assembly Plant gather 'round the one-millionth Jeep that the facility produced. (Jeep photos)

Employees at the Toledo Assembly Plant gather ’round the one-millionth Jeep that the facility produced. (Jeep photos)

U.S. News announces 2013 Best Cars for Families

13 brands win awards across 19 categories;

General Motors has the most winners

The awards highlight the vehicles that provide the best combination of quality, features and space that today’s families need.
BY GERRY MILES
In an effort to help families find real vehicles that provide value for them, US News Best Carswebsite, published by U.S. News & World Report, created its ‘Best Cars for Families’ award, listing vehicle winners in 19 categories.

More than 27 million people researched vehicles on the website in 2012.

“We created the Best Cars for Families awards to make it easier for parents to find cars, SUVs and vans that will help make their lives easier,” said Jamie Page Deaton, Managing Editor of U.S. News Best Cars. “With such a broad range of award winners, any family can find the best car for their lifestyle.”
The Best Cars for Families awards combine quality, size and family-friendly features into a composite score.

Within each of the 19 categories, the vehicle with the highest score is named the Best Car for Families in that category.
Quality is measured using a weighted average of scores from the U.S. News rankings at the time the awards are published. The rankings compare cars on the basis of  safety, reliability and a consensus of automotive critics’ opinions. Size is based on a vehicle’s seating capacityand interior space. For family-friendly features, we factor in the availability of features deemed to behelpful to families by U.S. News editors.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2013 AWARDS

 General Motors won the most awards with six of its models across three of its brands as winners: Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Traverse, Chevrolet Cruze, Buick Verano, Buick Lacrosse and Cadillac Escalade.
The award winners are mixed between foreign and domestic automakers. Import brands took home nine awards while domestic brands took home 10.
This year is the first year that Chevrolet, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Lincoln have won Best Car for Families Awards.
Perhaps not surprising to auto aficionados, the Honda CR-V, Honda Odyssey, Lexus RX-350 and Toyota Highlander Hybrid have won Best Car awards three years in a row.

2013 BEST CARS FOR FAMILIES

CATEGORY/WINNER
Compact Cars 2013 Chevrolet Cruze
Upscale Small Cars 2013 Buick Verano
Hatchbacks 2013 Toyota Prius
Midsize Cars 2013 Ford Fusion
Upscale Midsize Cars 2013 Acura TL
Full-Size Cars 2013 Buick LaCrosse
Luxury Full-Size Cars 2013 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Hybrid Cars 2013 Ford Fusion Hybrid
Wagons 2013 Subaru Outback
Compact SUVs  2013 Honda CR-V
Luxury Compact SUVs 2013 Audi Q5
2-Row Midsize SUVs 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee
3-Row Midsize SUVs 2013 Chevrolet Traverse
Luxury 2-Row Midsize SUV-2013 Lexus RX 350
Luxury 3-Row Midsize SUVs 2013 Lincoln MKT
Full-Size SUVs 2013 Chevrolet Suburban
Luxury Full Size SUVs  2013 Cadillac Escalade
Hybrid SUVS – 2013 Toyota Highlander Hybrid
Minivans – 2013 Honda Odyssey

Porsche, Nissan dealers tops responding to internet inquiries: Piped Piper

Audi, Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler lauded for improvement; 1 in 4 internet queries goes unanswered after 24 hours
BY GERRY MILES

It may seem obvious if the web sites you check show a pop up screen with a salesmen at the ready to answer your posit on a new vehicle on the lot, that they want your business (and we all know how many check websites before they do their showroom shopping) but a new study sales that 1 in 4 web checks is unanswered after 24 hours.

Overall, the study by Pied Piper PSI® Internet Lead Effectiveness™ (ILE™) Study showed salespeople responded to internet inquiries within 30 minutes nearly half the time (48%).  Two years ago it took a full hour to receive the same percentage of salesperson responses. Pied Pipe said that today the first response to a customer internet inquiry is an auto response 79% of the time, a personal response 14% of the time, and no response of any type 7% of the time.

Study rankings by brand were determined by the patent-pending Pied Piper PSI process, which ties “mystery shopping” measurement and scoring to actual industry sales success.

Audi, Porsche and Hyundai dealerships showed the most improvement from the previous year. Nissan, as well as Chrysler Group LLC brands Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler, recorded the second year in a row of solid gains, which pushed Nissan, Dodge and Jeep into the top five of the rankings.

“Dealership performance handling internet leads can be invisible from dealership management, or even worse, hidden behind misleading data,” said Fran O’Hagan, President and CEO of Pied Piper Management Company LLC.  “Shining a light on actual performance is the first step.”

Chrysler Group’s recent efforts have successfully pushed Dodge, Jeep and Chrysler’s PSI-ILE rankings from 27th, 30th and 29th in 2011 to 3rd, 3rd and 6th in 2013.

The study said that Mini, Volvo and BMW salespeople were twice as likely to reply with an answer to specific customer questions as salespeople from Lincoln, Kia or Land Rover dealerships.  Dealers encourage follow-up by telephone if customers provide a phone number.  Salespeople from Ford, Nissan, Honda, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz dealerships all attempted to follow-up by telephone at least 60% of the time.  Salespeople from Lexus, GMC, Volkswagen and Land Rover dealerships were least likely to attempt to follow-up by telephone.

Of course you can’t call whom doesn’t give you a number, and that makes sense. And if you ping the dealer with a question and the sales folk are all busy at that time, response time can be delayed. That makes sense, too.

If nothing else, it shows that Internet tire-kicking is taken seriously and those who treat it so will likely reap the benefits in the showroom with a sale.

The 2013 Pied Piper PSI® Internet Lead Effectiveness™(ILE™) Benchmarking Study (U.S.A.) was conducted between April 2012 and March 2013 by submitting internet inquiries to a sample of 11,353 dealerships nationwide representing all major brands.