Kyle Johnson
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Ford Pulls a Ron Burgundy, Tells Jeep to Stay Classy

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2021 Ford Explorer Timberline driving in desert
Jeep’s Jim Morrison had a go at the Explorer Timberline, and Ford ain’t having it
Photo: Ford

I guess you could say that the war of words between Ford and Jeep is getting pretty serious. In an interview this month, Jeep North America President Jim Morrison said he feels sorry for people who buy the new Ford Explorer Timberline. Ford responded in a fashion not dissimilar from a fictional anchorman, imploring Jeep to stay classy.


Your Move, Jeep: Ford jumps back into the compact pickup pool with the all-new Maverick


Jeep’s Morrison: ‘I feel sorry for’ Ford Explorer Timberline customers

Morrison spoke with the folks at Muscle Cars and Trucks about the Ford Explorer Timberline, which he says pales in comparison to the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk.

“I actually feel sorry for customers that get tricked,” Morrison jabbed. “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.”

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk going up a steep incline
Up, and to the left. Up, and to the left
Photo: Stellantis

Morrison on would go on to point at a photo of the Grand Cherokee Trailhawk climbing an incline in the desert and note where he believes an Explorer Timberline would have gotten stopped. No word if Morrison followed this up by blowing a raspberry and laughing like Nelson Muntz.

“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,” Morrison added.

Ford’s Cadiz: ‘I guess it’s been a long year for Jeep’

Front left quarter angle of 2022 Ford Bronco four-door in Eruption Green
Ford’s like naw, y’all just salty people love the Bronco
Photo: Ford

And how did Ford respond? With the kind of claws-out cattiness you just love to see.

“Stay classy, Auburn Hills,” Ford spokesperson (and former Jeep employee) Jiyan Cadiz told Detroit Free Press’ Phoebe Wall Howard.

Cadiz, to his credit, at least didn’t go with the other Ron Burgundy sign-off line, which would have probably changed the tenor of the whole conversation.

But not by much. Cadiz wasn’t done, essentially saying that he thinks Morrison’s comments might come from a place of anger after seeing the response to the Bronco and Bronco Sport. Especially after Ford told Goodyear to take the Wrangler name off the Bronco’s tires so as not to remind folks of the competition.

So of course Jeep would lash out at an even more off-road-capable version of the Explorer, Cadiz suggests. And just for the sake of another dig, he added a nice little parting shot for Jeep and Morrison: “And we both know Explorer is America’s all-time bestselling SUV.”

Me-ow!

Ford dunks on Jeep again with Expedition Timberline reveal

2022 Ford Expedition Timberline atop a hill
Ford went right after the Wagoneer with its Expedition Timberline
Photo: Ford

Late last month, Ford revealed its all-new 2022 Expedition Timberline, which it calls the most off-road-ready Expedition ever made. Ford was also very quick to point out all the ways in which the Expedition Timberline tops Jeep’s 2022 Wagoneer.

Clearly, there’s still more artillery to be lobbed to and fro in this battle between Ford and Jeep — especially as both gear up to go all-electric. But if the end result is better vehicles and more options for drivers, everybody kinda wins, you know?