I recently purchased a 2012 Jeep Wrangler Sahara. It is the second Jeep I have owned. My first was a used Wagoneer with full-time four-wheel drive when I was 22 (a couple of decades ago). The gas consumption put a serious strain on my University student budget at the time but I loved the vehicle.
My salesperson told me to expect “The Jeep Wave” from fellow Wrangler owners. It seems this brand bonding applies only to the one make of Jeep. I smiled and discounted it as part of the sales process. Well I was wrong. As soon as I drove away from the lot, fellow Jeep Wrangler owners were giving me the wave. Now I get disappointed if I do not receive one especially if I initiate the ritual.
So many of the marketing conferences I have attended have made reference to the cults of automotive brands including BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche. Harley-Davidson also gets frequent mention in this regard. Jeep is certainly worthy of acknowledgement in creating a brand sub-culture within its lineup. The only risk lies with consumers who buy for so many different reasons. In this case, does this brand club attract those seeking an association of similar people or does it put off the independent minded who are after a more selfish and singular image?