Jeep’s Wrangler was recently named 4×4 of the Decade by Four Wheeler Magazine, and the employees at Chapman Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram and Chapman Chrysler Jeep agree with that accolade.
Besides selling the vehicle, 30 employees own Jeep Wranglers. Most also participate in the Desert Wranglers Club, a group of enthusiasts sponsored by Chapman Automotive Group.
The Wrangler has built a loyal following since its historic military ancestor first appeared in early 1941 during World War II. Willys-Overland introduced the vehicle and demonstrated its off-road capability by having it drive up the steps of the U.S. Capitol.
“Our employees take pride in their vehicles and they absolutely love this machine,” said Don Hamrick, general manager of Chapman Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram. “It allows them a true advantage when it comes to selling it to customers or friends, because they really know the vehicle inside and out.”
Jimmy Aquino, used-car sales manager, owns 12 Jeeps and that doesn’t seem like too many to him.
“I got my first Jeep at age 14 and have owned them ever since,” he said. “I love to restore the classics and have many different models, including a CJ2A, military J10 and Comanche. Our employees don’t own Jeeps when they first come to work for us, but once the craze gets into their blood, they’re hooked.”
Hamrick said the 2013 Jeep Wrangler is the most advanced model yet, updated with a Mercedes-Benz-designed five-speed automatic engine. Design elements that make it a renowned and rugged off-road machine were kept the same.
The Wrangler also has a 40 percent increase in power and better fuel economy; it is rated at 17 miles per gallon city/21 mpg highway .
Other changes include a more comfortable interior and upscale dashboard. The seats have been redesigned to withstand lengthy road trips while providing more support for off-roading, he said. Trailer towing is capped at 2,000 pounds.
“From our lot porters all the way up the ladder to our controller, we all own Jeeps,” said Gary Brewer, general manager of Chapman Chrysler Jeep. “We off-road together every weekend and it’s a hobby for us. To some it may seem crazy, but to us, it’s a Jeep thing.”
Finance manager Jaime Daehler agrees.
“I have three Jeeps and am working toward buying my fourth. It’s like a tattoo — you get one and you keep adding from there.”
Chapman Chrysler Jeep is at Valley Automall in Henderson. It can be reached at 888-207-1687 or online at www.chapman
Chapman Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram is at 3175 E. Sahara Ave. The dealership can be reached at 702-457-1061 or by visiting the website at www.vegasdcj.com.
Chapman Value Center is on Boulder Highway just south of Sahara Avenue. The dealership can be reached at 888-299-0170 and at www.chapmanvaluecenter.com.
Chapman Warm Springs sells and services vehicles selectively chosen from every one of Chapman’s 26 Southwest locations. The dealership can be reached at 702-432-2022 or www.chapmanwarmsprings.com.
All dealerships are open for sales from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Parts and service are open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.