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Jeep Compass Rallye: Out in the UK, In for the USA

When Chrysler introduced the Jeep Compass to the UK market last year, the automaker made the decision to only offer it in the more aggressive-looking (well, kinda) Rallye trim (above). That was based on market research conducted by the automaker in advance of the product launch. Now, a year into things, it's backtracking in a big way. According to UK media resource Headline Auto, Chrysler Blighty has shelved the Compass Rallye in favor of the standard-look Compass. Why? Simple: the regular Compass, contrary to all that prior research, tests better with consumers in clinics held by the automaker's marketing people. In particular, first-time SUV shoppers and women were drawn to the unkitted version of the car. Reading the writing on the wall, Chrysler has made the call to back-burner the Rallye. Don't throw dirt on the Rallye package quite yet, though. It could resurface in some form down the line.

Meanwhile, on this side of the Atlantic, Chrysler hopes that American customers become smitten with that very same Rallye kit. It's now being offered as a Mopar option package in the US for the first time. Here at home, the Compass has become a bit of a piƱata among enthusiasts, who have mercilessly derided the car for a variety of reasons. Those include problematic styling that in no way lives up to the promise of the original Compass concept, a chintz-heavy interior, a general lack of "Jeepness" and a powertrain selection that is uninspiring at best. The domestic Compass Rallye is obviously an attempt to "man up" the vehicle a bit, though based on Autoblog's reader comments, it's clear that a many view the package as little more than lipstick on a pig. However this all turns out, it's been interesting to see how the marketing approach for Compass has evolved on each side of the pond. Hindsight's 20/20, of course, but maybe Chrysler would have been better off if it launched the Compass Rallye here from "go" and just gave the Brits the regular version. Despite this inter-continental game of Three-Card Monte with the product, we think there's a way Chrysler can rectify everything and get all the naysayers on both ends of the ocean to stop yapping. How about a 300-horsepower, AWD Jeep Compass Rallye SRT-4? You know. Just a thought...

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