We, as automotive enthusiasts, are all guilty of it at some time or another, a new model comes out by brand we know and love but that car doesn't "fit" with what we believe that brand is all about. The new Jeep Renegade is the latest example of a small minority of afficionados labeling what they feel is or is not a "real Jeep." While it is fun to debate on the internet the merits of such a model, the reality is carmakers and especially buyers simply don't care whether or not something is "real" by our definition.
The reason automakers don't care is because more often than not the "not real" models of their lineup sell far better than the "real" ones. Take Porsche for example, if you remember back not long ago Porsche purists damn near lost their minds when the brand announced it was making an SUV. Then the Cayenne outsold the 911, sometimes by a margin of 2 to 1. Of course Porsche was so distraught by the traditionalists crying foul it went ahead and made a sedan and that plan has been working just fine.
It seems like BMW is making another "not real" model every other week, noted examples are the upcoming 2 Series Active Tourer and i3. The i3 is lining up to be a successful model despite its limited production numbers and I predict 2 Series Active Tourer will be filling shopping mall parking lots in no time. Speaking of not "real" BMWs, the brand already has thousands of them already roaming the streets, the F10 5-series has strayed pretty far from the "ultimate driving machine" of the E34,E39, and even E60 but it doesn't matter the 5-series sales are on the upswing and don't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.
I'm just as guilty as all of you. I believe that Mercedes sedans should be RWD and all Audis should be Quattro, but when the dealers can't keep the CLAs on the lots and buyers are already chomping at the bit to get into an A3, I am starting to let go of my narrow notions. The Renegade may or may not be a real "Jeep" and it won't matter they will sell, and it will allow the brand to continue making "real" models for the rest of us.
What do you think, is history holding us back or can we learn to widen our definition of what makes a "real" car from our favorite brand?