Jeep looks to extend into outdoor apparel, gear for U.S. market - SNEWS

Jeep looks to extend into outdoor apparel, gear for U.S. market

Already in Asia, Chrysler looks to expand its new Jeep-branded outdoor apparel and gear to the United States.
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Everyone is getting into outdoor apparel these days, even the auto companies.

At Chrysler, officials think they can build on the popular outdoor lifestyle image of its Jeep brand, expanding it into apparel and gear.

“The Jeep brand has turned into a lifestyle with a go anywhere, do anything attitude,” said Rohena Dua, manager of global brand licensing at Chrysler Group, parent company to Jeep.

At Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2013, Chrysler Group launched Jeep Xtreme Performance (JXP), a high-performance outdoor apparel and gear line that fits right in with the Jeep life, Dua said.

The product line has been sold in the Asian market for about a year and will soon be launched in Europe. Dua said the company is still looking for the perfect U.S. partner to launch the brand here.

“The products that we have represent the performance values and the confidence to go on [outdoor] adventures,” Dua said, adding that her favorite items in the line are the jackets. "They are lightweight, super packable and one fits in the palm of your hand. I love the versatility and functionality."

Chrysler is working with a third-party group called Beyond the Clouds in China to create the products. Currently there are approximately 60 stores in China where the product is sold with a flagship opening soon in Beijing. The company has also partnered with Sympatex and Duraflex, in addition to other fabric and garment accessory companies, to build the line.

Everything the company showed at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, which included jackets, tents, backpacks and bikes, is what’s currently in the Asian market but some products will be slightly adapted for the U.S. launch, when that does happen, Dua said.

JXP

The differences for the soon-to-be U.S. line will mainly be in sizing, colors and more technical aspects, Dua said.

Companies are stepping outside of what they’re best known for seems to a trend of late, and outdoor apparel and footwear are popular targets. Ski hardware brand Atomic announced last week that it was getting into apparel and Woolrich has plans to launch a line of high-quality shoes and boots. Hardgoods brands such as Black Diamond and La Sportiva also recently entered the apparel scene.

Chrysler recruited two outdoor athletes – Sarah Max and Matthew Lee – to test and endorse its products.

“Outdoor athletes need to be on the lookout for JXP’s American introduction,” Lee said in a news release. “They seem singularly focused on developing top-quality gear [and] equipment that will stand up to really anything that the athlete can throw at it.”

Dua said that the apparel line is “a natural extension of what the brand stands for. Jeep isn’t your typical vehicle brand. This line represents who we are and who we’ve been for the last 70 years and will speak to consumers.”

Until Chrysler finds that perfect partner, there are no solid plans to launch in the United States yet but, Dua said, “We’re hoping to launch sometime next year.”

--Ana Trujillo

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