Jeep® is a name that is recognized worldwide as the “can do, go anywhere, do anything” vehicle. Jeep vehicles also have been recognized as an extension of the personality of those who own and drive them as much as a symbol of the freedom and adventure they stand for. Normally we think of this as a U.S. based form of expression and entertainment but I assure you, halfway around the world there are Jeep owners that modify, wheel and love their Jeep vehicles as much as people in the United States do.
I recently had the opportunity to go to China to assist with designing three courses for the media introduction of the new 2012 Jeep Wrangler during the 2011 Camp Jeep China. The Camp Jeep event would take place in the Gobi Desert, outside the small tourist and farming village of Dunhuang, located in the Gansu Province. The task was to design three courses, a beginner, intermediate and extreme course, that would fit different abilities of the drivers and show the capability of not only the new 2012 Jeep Wrangler but the 2011 Grand Cherokee as well. Working alongside the great group of guides and instructors from Utoo Motor Sports of Shanghai, we designed the three courses working with the mild to extreme desert conditions.
Situated just below Inner Mongolia the city of Dunhuang in ancient times was the center of trade between China and its western neighbors via The Silk Road. Now a tourist destination, visitors come from around the world to see the Mogao Caves (home of Buddhists paintings and carvings that date back almost 2,000 years), the Yangguan Pass and the Yumenguan Pass (both now crumbling remnants of the Great Wall). Surrounded by desert this area was chosen to show the Jeep Brand capabilities and for the Camp Jeep attendees to gather from all corners of China to spend the weekend visiting some of the historical places that bring new and old China together.
One of the destinations the participants were treated to during the 3 day event was The Ghost City also known as “Yadan”. The Ghost City is a vast area where the wind has blown through the Gobi Desert taking everything with it except several large sand formations carved out and left standing as natural monuments. Rising above the desert floor these formations are not only impressive and mesmerizing, they also have historical and geological value. According to ChinaCulture.org the Ghost City is recognized as the largest Yadan landform discovered to date and is said to have been formed over a 300,000 to 700,000 year period.
While the Camp Jeep participants were on the road to the Ghost City; journalists from across China gathered at the dunes outside of Dunhuang to drive the three courses. Here they would see what the Jeep vehicles could do in the desert sand as well as see how the new Pentastar V-6 engine performed in the 2012 Jeep Wrangler. With the easy course beginning in the flatter section of the desert and the extreme course climbing to the apex of some very high dunes the journalists were eager to climb behind the wheel and give it a try. Although I was unable to speak the language it was evident by the smiles, the upbeat and enthusiastic demeanor of the journalists as they returned, they were not only impressed by the vehicles performance and capabilities… they were having fun!
The culmination of the event, in true Camp Jeep fashion, was a huge concert with various singers and Chinese superstars. This kept the attendees entertained for one last evening before everyone packed up and headed back to their respective parts of the country.
For those wanting a vehicle that provides comfort, capability and the ability to customize the looks to fit their personality, and shouts to the masses “this is who I am”, Jeep is making the statement heard around the world!
Since there were so many cultural extras during the various trip I took over there I thought I would share some of the things I saw and places I visited while in China. It isn’t always about the brand but also the places it can take you sometimes!