DaimlerChrysler SA has begun promoting vehicles in its Jeep range as “Trail Rated” – that is complying with a level of off-road requirements that all Jeep 4x4s must meet, the company says.

DaimlerChrysler SA has begun promoting vehicles in its Jeep range as “Trail Rated” – that is complying with a level of off-road requirements that all Jeep 4x4s must meet, the company says.


“Jeep Trail Rated is a methodology to objectively measure and predict off-road performance for all Jeep vehicles,” said Trent Barcroft, the divisional manager of Chrysler & Jeep at DCSA.


The new Jeep "Trail Rated" badge is already a fixture on US versions of the vehicles and probably destined to festoon South African models in the near future, DCSA’s media manager for Chrysler and Jeep Guy Kilfoil told CARtoday.com.


“Trail Rated” was created by Jeep engineers in the United States with the support of the Nevada Automotive Test Centre (NATC) and the badge signifies is that the particular model it adorns is capable of performing a variety of off-road conditions identified by five consumer-oriented categories: traction, ground clearance, manoeuvrability, articulation and water fording.


“Through a combination of natural and controlled field tests, as well as computer-simulated environments, Jeep Trail Rated provides a repeatable measurement of off-road performance for all Jeep vehicles,” Barcroft said.


The manufacturer will this month commence print and television campaigns “to communicate the stringent requirements that Jeep vehicles must meet in order to earn the Jeep "Trail Rated" badge”. The new spots will highlight one of the five consumer-oriented categories that make up Jeep Trail Rated.


The new development will definitely create some very interesting debate… Does Jeep need to boost its off-road credibility in what is undoubtedly a softroader-dominated (ie. urban kerb crawler) sector of the market in South Africa? Does the serious off-roading fraternity think that Jeep’s claimed Trail Rated capabilities will be applicable to South African conditions?


And does a Trail Rated rating convey useful information to the public or is it a merely a smart marketing tool? What do you think?