There are many things that set Jeep® brand fans apart from everyone else: a love of off-roading, living in the “Go Anywhere, Do Anything” spirit and having respect for our heritage. We feel – and it’s something that’s been confirmed, time after time – that the community and camaraderie are at the core of being a true Jeep brand fan.
We meet passionate Jeep brand enthusiasts from all across the continent at outdoor and off-road events like Jeep Jamborees and the Moab Easter Jeep Safari. We meet Jeep brand enthusiasts at every big auto show across the country, from Detroit to LA. No matter the environment, their passion and love of the brand and all that it represents always shine through. We love to bring these folks along with us whenever we can.
One such Jeep brand fan is Jeff Abel, co-founder of the Rocky Mountain Media Group. He tagged along with our team on two separate occasions, in two very different settings. Last fall, Jeff was one of our brand ambassadors at the 2nd Laurel Highlands Jeep Jamboree in Pennsylvania. We had such a good time with him that in April, we flew him to the New York International Auto Show to witness one of the most important vehicle launches in the Jeep brand’s storied history, the 2014 Jeep Cherokee. He’s had a unique view into the Jeep brand, both as an enthusiast and as an insider, privy to the inner workings of the brand in two completely different environments.
We thought we’d catch up with Jeff for a look back on the past several months of Jeep brand activity, from the mud pits of the Pennsylvania hills to the bright lights of the New York International Auto Show.
Jeep Blog: You’ve taken part in two big Jeep brand events in the past eight months – the Laurel Highlands Jeep Jamboree and the New York International Auto Show for the Cherokee reveal. You were a Jeep brand enthusiast before, but how have these experiences changed or shaped your thoughts about the brand?
Jeff Abel: I have to say that the experiences have given me a deeper appreciation for the Jeep brand. I enjoyed getting to meet some of the Jeep representatives and seeing their passion for the vehicles they create. I also enjoyed meeting other Jeep enthusiasts who share the excitement. Both experiences were obviously very different. We went from splashing through mud holes in the Laurel Highlands to the big reveal in downtown Manhattan. I tend to think of Jeep as an off-road vehicle brand being in Colorado, but the new Cherokee looked pretty comfortable in NYC.
JB: As you look back at your Jeep Jamboree experience, what stands out to you?
JA: There are several things that stand out from the Jeep Jamboree experience. The community of Jeep brand vehicle owners who come together for the event and the commitment of the volunteers who give their time to make the Jamboree a success are two of them. I was also impressed by the commitment from Jeep to be part of the event and the relationship between the brand, the Jamboree team and the vehicle owners via social media. It’s a big family, and one I love being a part of.
JB: What were your thoughts on the big Cherokee reveal at NYIAS? Have they changed since?
JA: Being invited to attend the reveal of the new Cherokee at the NYIAS was fantastic. The presentation by Mike Manley, CEO and President of Jeep Brand, was incredibly well done, and the Cherokee was a hit with the crowd. I think the new Cherokee fits nicely in the line of Jeep brand vehicles. Every model is designed to meet the needs of a different demographic of customers, and I think the new Cherokee does just that.
JB: What are your favorite features of the Cherokee?
JA: I think one of the most popular features for the new Cherokee is going to be the increased gas mileage. That, and the interior design is fantastic. For the mid-SUV market, I think the new Cherokee just raised the bar.
JB: How did you like being in New York for the big auto show? How did you like the show itself?
JA: The NYIAS trip was actually my first time in New York, and it was incredible. The city was wonderful, the people were welcoming and I even had a little time to visit a few of the tourist sites, such as the Empire State Building, Times Square and Central Park. The NYIAS itself was awesome. From Camp Jeep outside the convention center – and there’s nothing quite like seeing Jeep vehicles do their thing in downtown Manhattan – to seeing the Jacob Javits Center filled with cars and the press covering all the new vehicles – it was all bigger than life. And the grand finale was the reveal of the new Cherokee. A great way to end the day.
JB: Finally, what would be your ideal Jeep brand-related trip?
JA: What kind of question is that? That’s a tough one. I live in Colorado, and my backyard is a Jeep brand vehicle playground. And not too far away is Moab; it is kind of like the promised land for Jeep brand owners. So that would have to be on the list. But I think the ultimate trip might just be an extended adventure through the wilds of Alaska. Now that would be a Jeep brand experience I’d never forget. So when you put that trip together, the Abel family is ready to go.