Jeep has launched a stunning attack on the off-road capability of arch-rival Ford, with the brand's American president, Jim Morrison, saying he "feels sorry" for owners of the Blue Oval's Explorer SUV.
Essentially accusing Ford of using "stickers and paint" to portray an overblown sense of off-road credibility, Mr Morrison made no bones about how much more capable he considered Jeep's new 2022 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, even taking the time to point out where he thought the Ford Explorer Timberline would fail to keep up.
"I actually feel sorry for (Ford Explorer Timberline) customers that get tricked,” he told US outlet Muscle Cars and Trucks. “You can paint a tow hook red. It doesn’t mean that behind the tow hook it would even hold up in the right moment that it needs to.”
Read more about the Jeep Grand Cherokee
A full-frontal assault like this is rare in the car business, but Mr Morrison wasn't done there, telling the publication that his "Trail Rated" Grand Cherokee had capability "bred in", before suggesting vehicles like the Ford Explorer Timberline was merely "stickers and paint".
“We design all of those Trail Rated elements from the ground up. It’s not just a marketing term, it’s capability that’s bred in. You don’t just put stickers and paint on things. We build it in with incredible capability," he said.
It's one hell of an attack from Jeep, and it appears to stem from manufactures releasing enhanced-capability trim levels – like the Subaru Wilderness, for example – which essentially encroach on what Jeep sees at its domain.
Ford in the USA, for example, has launched a new Timberline trim level for its Explorer SUV, which it says makes for the "most capable" Explorer ever.
To meet that claim, it's fitted with 18-inch wheel fitted with Bridgestone All-Terrain rubber, increased ground clearance, new bumper designs that produce better approach and departure angles, as well as steel skin plates fitted beneath the body.
There's also a Torsen rear differential, a new anti-roll bar, revised suspension tuning and heavy-duty shocks, as well as a high-tech off-road terrain management system.
But, says Jeep, it's not enough to compete with the brand's Trail Rated system - a tag it reserves for its most off-road-focussed trim levels.