After soaring in the 1990s, the Grand Cherokee came crashing to earth in the new century. Car buyers began steering clear of SUVs as gasoline prices rose and Al Gore started sharing inconvenient truths about global warming. Making matters worse, the Grand Cherokee drew the flinty attention of Chrysler's finance people, who required each new model to be developed for 20 percent less than its predecessor to try to make money.
Bobby Cerchione’s motivation for spending $95,000 four years ago on his second Dodge Viper was simple. He was worried about how much longer the car and company that built it, Chrysler LLC, might be around.