Chrysler rolled out the Compass this past Monday in Detroit to a media-savvy crowd who couldn't hide their puzzlement. What did the wagon up on stage have to do with the Jeep brand? (The non-sequitur appearance of actress Angie Harmon — who can Law our Order anytime — distracted some from the puzzle, at least temporarily.) We'd seen the Compass in Frankfurt as a concept, read about its imminent arrival with disbelief and saw the spy shots — and yet none of it prepared us for the weird, silver car with the warped Liberty nose, front-wheel drive and a fully independent suspension, which wore its Jeep badging like a third-grader in sergeant's stripes. We get the accounting case: finding new markets, expanding to unserved buyers, attacking new segments, etc. But will the stated independent-minded, college-educated, recently married women in their 20s to early 40s dig it? (Likely more than their Wrangler-driving husbands (or partners) will.) Or will the Jeep-unjeep become the Yoko Ono of the Jeep brand.
Spy Photos: More on the 2007 Jeep Compass [internal]