Camp Jeep brings off roading to the masses
Written: January 26, 2012
Yesterday I spent the day at the 2012 Portland International Auto Show
for the media day. This is where the general public goes to see the latest makes and models, kick some tires, and sit in vehicles without a salesperson berthing down their neck. This may be the only automotive event many people attend all year, so automakers want to make sure the visitors' experiences count.
One of the most impressive things at this year's show is the Camp Jeep exhibition. This is where Jeep allows auto show visitors to ride along in a host of Jeep models and experience the vehicle' capability as the Jeep is driven over a number of obstacles. Passengers belt in and get to feel what it's like to go up (and down) a steep incline, drive over logs and stumps, and flex out a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon before driving at a 45-degree angle. For liability reasons, there is a professional doing all the driving, but passengers get a first-hand impression of what a capable off-road vehicle can do. While it may not seem extreme to many off road veterans, to someone that has never experienced these things, it can be quite exciting.
Naturally, Chrysler hopes that you'll end up at a Jeep dealership signing on the dotted line for one of its new Jeeps. But I believe the Camp Jeep experience is actually more than a sales tool. It allows people a chance to experience the thrill of actually using a four-wheel drive vehicle for what it is intended for, or at least showing off what can be done in an a capable vehicle. It is a good thing for the sport of off-roading as a whole.
Although the event takes place downtown Portland in a temperature-controlled environment (hardly the Rubicon Trail), Camp Jeep is a neat way to get the general public interested and involved in off-roading. If it does nothing more than get the idea of off-roading on people's radar, I think that's a good thing for the entire off-road industry.
Filed under: Truck/Jeep/SUV