By on October 7, 2015

All-new 2015 Jeep® Renegade Limited

Total Fiat Chrysler Automobiles volume is up six percent this year thanks to record sales at Jeep, FCA’s top-selling outlet. However, despite that wave of Jeep-directed affection in the U.S., sales at the company’s other brands have fallen two percent through the first nine months of 2015.

Even in September, an extraordinarily high-volume month for the U.S. auto industry, a month in which sales shot up 15 percent compared with the same period one year earlier, FCA’s non-Jeep marques posted only a modest one percent increase. Jeep’s 40 percent surge to more than 77,000 sales produced a 14 percent overall uptick for FCA’s U.S. operations, which includes Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram plus Fiat and Alfa Romeo.

Jeep’s own stable of seven SUVs and crossovers generated 22,000 more sales in September 2015 than in September 2014; more than 116,000 extra sales through the first three-quarters of 2015. The best-selling Cherokee’s continued growth — sales are up 26 percent this year — sets the pace for Jeep as Wranglers are leaving showrooms at a record pace; as the Grand Cherokee continues to post modest growth; as the entry-level lineup has been bolstered by the Renegade’s arrival.

2016 Fiat 500X Trekking Plus

Yet at Fiat, where the boxy Renegade’s curvy 500X sibling is stealing the 500L’s lunch, brand-wide sales are down 10 percent in 2015. For every 11 Renegades sold by Jeep, Fiat is selling just the one 500X. Inventory is piling up. At the beginning of September, Automotive News reports that FCA had a 193-day supply of the 500X. Cars.com now lists more than 5,100 500Xs in their inventory.

The company sold only 1,133 500Xs in September, the model’s best month yet. Sales of the best-selling Fiat, the 500, are down 20 percent this year after falling nine percent through the first nine months of 2014 and 11 percent one year earlier. The always unpopular 500L, meanwhile, has fallen 54 percent since June, when 500X availability began ramping up.

Elsewhere at FCA, the automaker’s U.S. volume is sorely impacted by the loss of tens of thousands of minivan sales. During and after the temporary retooling shut down at FCA’s minivan plant in Windosr, Ontario, sales of the Town & Country and Grand Caravan plunged. Through the first three-quarters of 2015, the duo is down 41 percent.

2016 Chrysler Town & Country Anniversary Edition

With a loss of 48,207 Avenger sales – all of which were made up for by the Chrysler 200’s 96 percent improvement – and the Grand Caravan’s sharp decline, the Dodge brand has tumbled 14 percent in 2015.

Even in a pickup-friendly atmosphere, FCA’s best-selling Ram product line has seen its rate of growth grind to a halt in the second half of 2015. Over the last four months, Ram P/U sales have risen just one percent after climbing four percent in the first half of 2015. Ram sales decreased, albeit by only a handful of units, as U.S. pickup truck sales jumped 11 percent in September. Among full-size trucks, Ram market share slid from 21.1 percent in September 2014 to 19.4 percent in September 2015; from 21.3 percent to 20.7 percent over the first three-quarters of 2015, year-over-year.

There are many concerns about the direction of FCA: whether an obsession over mergers is healthy, whether a one-minivan method is necessary, what the future holds for a company which generates only a quarter of their U.S. sales with passenger cars.

2015 Jeep® Cherokee Limited

Yet there’s no doubt that Jeep’s wild success, and the consistent means by which the brand locates greater success with each new vehicle launch, masks many of those concerns.

Just five years ago, Jeep was only carrying 27 percent of the Chrysler Group’s U.S. sales load. Now, nearly four out of every ten FCA/Chrysler Group products sold in the United States are Jeeps, a figure which only stands to rise as Jeep’s surge continues and FCA’s other products fail to generate growth.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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53 Comments on “Jeep Is the Smiling Mask Hiding FCA’s Frowny Face...”


  • avatar

    Many people love JEEP, the name and the utility of the vehicles – despite them not having fantastic interiors.

    I love my Jeep. It’s fantastic.

    FCA is trying to push these Alfas on us but these things aren’t for American roads. We don’t need small cars with manuals. We need cars the size of Chargers and Jeeps with automatics and AWD.

    The small car/manual crowd is dying as quickly as FCA can ship this stuff over. Most of them aren’t even desiring these vehicles over your typical BMW.

    FCA isn’t targeting Americans properly and that’s why they’ll continue to have money issues. Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep and Ram are good products but you’re not selling them or advertising them well.

    They need to do exactly what they did with the 200.

    AWD, automatic 8/9 speeds, better interior technology/fit and finish.

    Then ADVERTISE THEM.

    Explain how you can get AWD and great equipment for less than the competition.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Jeep itself proves your thesis wrong, BTSR. The Chrysler 200 is not the size of a Charger. The Alfa on the other hand is an enthusiast car aimed at the niche roadster market and is obviously not meant for commodity sales. What Americans want is typically far more than what they need. You need to understand the difference.

      “The small car/manual crowd is dying as quickly as FCA can ship this stuff over. Most of them aren’t even desiring these vehicles.”
      This is proving somewhat untrue as the manual models are becoming more popular and smaller cars are becoming more popular–up to a point. You can’t blame FCA on this as the vast majority of the Fiat 500 series on the lots are automatics, NOT manuals. No, the problem with the Fiats themselves is not their cars, but rather the 40-year-old reputation that people refuse to let go of despite the fact that current models are proving that reputation false. Even I questioned my wife’s choice of a Fiat 500, until I actually drove it. Surprisingly peppy with the automatic even with the base 1.4l engine at 101hp. BUT, I do agree that it is far better as a commuter/daily driver than it is as a family car. There’s no wonder the 500x is eating the 500L’s lunch as they look essentially identical while the AWD system makes it far more capable, especially where there’s risk of snow and ice on the roads part of the year. The Renegade? Not a crossover-styled bubble, which is the only reason the 500L/x isn’t selling more than they are. That, and the name that is.

      FCA is certainly targeting Americans properly as each NEW model sees definitive growth. I’m almost certain that Fiat fully expected the 500x to cannibalize the 500L’s market. Their problem is that they simply cannot just replace legacy, former Daimler designs with a flip of the switch; they have to keep those older models going at least long enough to create a viable replacement while trying to re-create a market for models that haven’t seen American soil in decades.

      Look, BTSR, I’m fully aware that you and most Americans prefer bigger. To you, bigger is better. Me? I’m sick of that viewpoint; it plays to American conceit which is beginning to hurt the US’s credibility in the international market. Americans need to stop believing they are the best at everything because the rest of the world is proving them wrong in almost every global aspect–including manufacturing and education. We have become a nation of consumers, not creators. It is the exception today, not the standard, which is showing any real progress in American industry. And this is coming from an American who has worked through many different aspects of that same industry.

      • 0 avatar

        “Look, BTSR, I’m fully aware that you and most Americans prefer bigger. To you, bigger is better. Me? I’m sick of that viewpoint; it plays to American conceit which is beginning to hurt the US’s credibility in the international market. Americans need to stop believing they are the best at everything because the rest of the world is proving them wrong in almost every global aspect–including manufacturing and education. ”

        There’s so much wrong with that statement that I’m not even going to bother with the entire thing.

        Simple fact is this: Big, inexpensive and easy to use SELLS.

        Your viewpoint – you can have it – you can keep it – you can massage it. whatever.

        As far as education goes – these small socialist countries can’t be compared with America or the rise of this aggressive culture of stupidity that doesn’t even value knowledge.

        I’m not even gonna bother with that either.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Then why is the Toyota HiLux the most popular pickup truck in the world, hmmm? Not the Ram. Not the Chevy. Not the Ford.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Oh. And I suggest looking at how many countries and WHICH countries are ahead of the US in education. The US itself is becoming one of those, “aggressive culture(s) of stupidity that doesn’t even value knowledge.”

        • 0 avatar
          deanst

          An interesting argument, unsupported by the facts:

          -small car sales are up year over year, midsize and large cars are down
          -small pickup sales increased more than large pickup sales year over year
          -small and midsize SUVs are up more than large SUVs

          45% of 200 sales go into fleets – and you think that is the poster child for what is right with FCA?

  • avatar
    Steve_S

    Jeep has some compelling or unique product and gas prices are currently low so it is selling well. Fiat just doesn’t really have much other than a variety of 500 clones. Dodge and Chrysler have old product and platforms.

    They just need updated product.

    I have no problem with bring small, light manual transmission cars to the US as long as it’s not at the expense of the other brands.

    Some of us actually care about driving.

    • 0 avatar

      There is NOTHING wrong with the LX/LY platform.
      Sure they could make the cars a little longer to compete directly with the HYUNDAI GENESIS – but the RWD /AWD platform in Charger/300 currenly has no real competition at that pricepoint.

      Their minivans are solid.

      Their trucks are solid.

      Their only problem is their small cars.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        The 300/Charger has no competition because the large car market is dying in the US. Customers don’t want big sedans anymore.

        The Chrysler 200 is head and shoulders better than its predecessor, but is still dead last in its class.

        FCA has bigger problems beyond small cars.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          “Customers don’t want big sedans anymore.”

          Very true. But many customers are replacing those big sedans with 4-door pickup trucks.

          How else can we explain the annual increase in sales of all pickup trucks that continue to draw new customers who never owned a truck before?

          • 0 avatar
            redliner

            Now that full size sedans and pick-up trucks both get about 20mpg, and they both cost about $30k, it’s not hard to see why trucks are surging in this time of low fuel costs.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            But even before fuel costs came down to where they should have been all along, pickup trucks were the best-selling vehicles in America.

            Not everyone in America is concerned about fuel economy or the price of fuel. People who are concerned about such qualifiers ought not to buy a pickup truck.

            From what I’ve seen, most Americans fill up their fuel tanks no matter what the price.

            People in CA even gladly fork over a dollar or more per gallon than anywhere’s else in America.

            Most Americans do not care about the price of fuel. They’ll pay whatever the market will bear.

            They’ll even stick themselves in debt for it, by using plastic to charge their fuel purchases.

          • 0 avatar

            “Customers don’t want big sedans”

            WRONG

            Customers want SPACIOUS, AFFORDABLE Sedans.

            The decline of large sedans is causing the rise of crossovers – especially with AWD – since ground clearance is better.

            If the Dodge Charger AWD was only $20,000 it would outsell just about everything else.

            Unfortunately, it is way more – over $10,000 more.

            This is a pricing game for space.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “The Chrysler 200 is head and shoulders better than its predecessor, but is still dead last in its class.”

          It’s been hovering at about 5th/6th in the segment in sales. Hardly last.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        Bigtruck, the there is an obvious problem with the LX/LY platform and that problem is weight. I think it’s great that American consumers have the option to buy the 300, Charger, and Challenger, but too much of the inherent V8 RWD goodness is wasted on hundreds of pounds of extra weight. Want E38 with lower operating costs. Get porky police car. Imagine the 300, Charger, and Challenger with 2 inches of extra height sectioned out of the body and Hemi V8s with aluminum blocks instead of cast iron, for example. Once the body is less tall, it should be possible to get more weight savings from wheels that are less huge. Lots of room for improvement.

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatic

          The LT small blocks are aluminum why not the hemi? The Charger/300 are on my short list of vehicles I’m considering to purchase in the next 12 -24 months. Size is ok, fuel economy is fine (though less weight would improve it). I don’t want AWD and the hemi is just too nose heavy. FCA has not invested enough in these cars. Yes they’ve improved the interiors and offer the halo Hellcat models, but the basic car is old and heavy and looks like it will solder on until 2019.

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            “The LT small blocks are aluminum why not the hemi?”

            Likely a cost saving measure. Truck engines are cast iron block for durability so rather than sourcing 2 blocks they use iron across the board. Yes, AL has been successfully used in high HP applications for decades. Doesn’t mean they aren’t more susceptible to warpage under sustained high loads like they can potentially see in the HD pick up truck line compared to iron. I don’t follow GM closely but last I knew their 6.0 in the 2500/3500 trucks were still cast iron as well. MD/HD diesel engine blocks are almost exclusively cast iron with a few exceptions of CGI in recent times. Weight savings aside you can’t go wrong with good ol iron. Kind of a hard argument to push anyway unless your trying to shave a tenth off your track times. The difference in weight between aluminum and an iron block for the 5.7 Hemi is about 90 pounds. It’s something but not enough to make a measurable difference in fuel economy or day to day driving performance.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          4,000lbs is pretty average for a car that size. They return good fuel economy and handle well for what they are. The obsession over weight then becomes more about comparing paper figures than anything meaningful.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            It takes more gas to accelerate that much weight from a dead stop, danio. Losing even 500 pounds can help there. Aerodynamics become an issue once you get over about 50mph. Not paper figures; real world driving.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            The reality is that the even if they could realistically gut that much weight, (not very feasible), it might amount to maybe 1 mpg. In the real world, the LX cars easily beat EPA figures.

            Figures on paper for obsessive types to groan on about.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatic

            4000 is about average and yes its probably more of paper argument. But the Charger at 4300 (V8) or 4100 (V6) would benefit from losing some weight especially off the nose. FCA is pretty good at at least doing the basics to keep the weight distributed. The V8 has 46.5% of the weight on the rear while the V6 has 48.5%. Just me but I’d like to see the V8 at 48.5% and the V6 at 50%. That would mean taking ~200 lbs off the nose of each. Not easy but I think doable in a long over due vehicle update. Of course then the cars would cost too much for this cheapskate to buy.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            My Saturn Vue was 3400 pounds. My Camaro was 3600 pounds. My Fiat 500 is 2700 pounds and my Ford Ranger is about 3200 pounds curb weight. Most sedans until recently averaged about 3500 pounds after the massive diet they went on in the late 70s, though admittedly the bit Panthers and similar-sized cars ran over 4000.

            On the other hands, my former ’90 F-150 only weighed in at about 4200 while today’s F-150 even with the diet rides at or above 5K. At least today’s sedans aren’t three-ton barges like the early- to mid-60s full sized models. Those things had a tendency to split conventional steel rims.

          • 0 avatar
            pragmatic

            Which cars weighed that much? Only Lincoln comes close and its still 780 lbs under three tons. The others are similar to FCAs weights.

            Using automobile-catlog.com and 1965 as a base:
            1965 Impala 396 V8 – weight 4054 lbs
            1965 Chrysler 300L, 413 V8 4343 lbs
            1965 Newport 4 door HT 440 V8, 4321 lbs
            1965 Lincoln 4 door 430V8 5280
            1965 Cadillac Sedan DeVille 428 V8 4740 lbs

            Vulpine wrote:
            “At least today’s sedans aren’t three-ton barges like the early- to mid-60s full sized models. Those things had a tendency to split conventional steel rims.”

      • 0 avatar
        th009

        My colleague picked a Charger from the National rental car lineup today. We put the luggage in the trunk, sat in the car — and got out again. Drove away in an Impala instead.

        Man, that Charger interior is still a serious penalty box. Maybe the Hellcat interior is different, but I sure wouldn’t want to sit in one of the basic versions day in and day out. Even the Cruze is much nicer inside.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Not everybody likes ’em. But not everybody hates ’em either. Personally, I hate Ford across the board, but I had no problem driving one for a week from a rental service. I just wouldn’t own one except under very specific circumstances.

        • 0 avatar
          pragmatic

          The base car screams cheap, the up model interiors are not bad. Its funny the big three barely change. MOPAR was always a bigger engine with a decent transmission in a car that always needed suspension work with a crappy interior. Of course I found them easier to repair so the they were never a horrible trade-off.

  • avatar

    Jeep was perfectly positioned to take advantage of the insatiable global appetite for CUV’s and SUV’s. The Chrysler, Dodge and RAM brands have had little new product except for the stillborn Dart launch and the much more successful new 200. The rest of the line-up is getting a bit long in the tooth. Jeep, RAM and the future Alfa Romeos will be the reason FCA and the crippled VW will merge to form a new automotive juggernaut.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Big trucks:
    This is a sincere question, I’m NOT being sarcastic at all here:

    If the RAM trucks are so good (and I’ve read in several places this statement) how come they are so far behind from Ford and GM in sales?

    • 0 avatar
      GermanReliabilityMyth

      FCA is a smaller company than both Ford and GM in their entirety. What that equates to is a smaller manufacturing footprint and smaller dealer presence which is a recipe for lower numbers when compared directly. It has nothing to do about quality of product, IMHO.

    • 0 avatar
      mason

      Blind brand loyalty.

      Not because they hold up so much better (although the Superduty GENERALLY holds up quite well to abuse).

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      “If the RAM trucks are so good (and I’ve read in several places this statement) how come they are so far behind from Ford and GM in sales?”

      The difference between RAM trucks, even though greatly improved these days, and Ford or GM trucks today is still like the difference between chicken schit and chicken soup.

      But for the truly discerning pickup truck owners, there’s always the Tundra. The Tundra 5.7 outclasses ANY of its competition in its class, size and weight category.

      The biggest drawback with Tundra is its price, now even higher than ever before, feature for feature. i.e. compare an XL to a Tundra-grade or any of the topline trims to the top-trim Tundra. Staggering money difference but well worth it if you can afford it.

      Snob appeal AND capability, durability and reliability. Plus that magnificent 5.7L all-aluminum 32-valve DOHC engine. Tundra.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Huh? Check off the option boxes and you can get a Ram, F-Series and/or Silverado/Sierra way north of the price of a Tundra. The biggest problem with the Tundra is the 4.7 is under powered and way too thirsty. The 5.7 is the far better engine, but it’s fuel economy is 1999 grade in comparison to all the offerings, including the gas burning V8s.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I think I can answer that, schmitt: Public opinion. In many ways RAM suffers a similar problem as the Fiat brand itself; an ancient reputation for poor quality that is near-on to impossible to overcome. Ford and GM are mostly relying on brand cachet rather than true quality while all of the Chrysler brands (and Fiat itself) developed a reputation in the 60s as garage queens that lingered through the 70s and then was reinforced by the K-cars despite their being nearly indestructible otherwise. Fiat itself was already gone, but the old anagram ‘Fix It Again, Tony’ lives on yet today.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Excellent answer. So true.

      • 0 avatar

        People who were buying cars in the 60s are in retirement homes now. It’s time to let it go.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I bought my first car in the 60s (a ’61 model). I’m not in a retirement home yet and don’t plan to for at least 20 more years.

        • 0 avatar
          fincar1

          Not all of us, Zaitcev!

        • 0 avatar
          Altair7

          And on their way to the retirement home, more than a few of them shared their horrific tales of Mopar build quality with future generations.

          For some 50 years, it’s been a safe bet that Chryslers – despite their otherwise positive attributes, which many models have/had in spades – are generally inferior from a reliability and build quality standpoint. Some incredibly so.

          Fiat isn’t going to change that; personally, I think FCA has only gone backwards in this regard. The Dart and 200 had horrible introductions and remain fleet queens, and the Cherokee – though popular with retail buyers – continues to be a reliability nightmare (this from a close friend who’s been a Chrysler service writer since the late-Iacocca era.)

          Fiatsler is not greater than the sum of its parts. It’s the [email protected] offspring of two less-than esteemed automakers, and it has its work cut out for it to improve perceptions. I personally don’t think that will happen any time soon, no matter how many HELLCATS are added to the product line.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Have never been truly stung by any Chrysler or Fiat product so far, though I will gripe about how Daimler ‘cheaped out’ on too many parts as I had a really stupid issue in my Wrangler (handbrake gear teeth broke off and wouldn’t let handbrake fully release.) Took an FCA fix with new part number to fully resolve the issue. For all that your friend may be a service writer, you might remember that he sees dozens of cars each day, every day, where an owner drives one car most of the time. My question would be, how many times does he see the SAME car on a repeated basis and is it always the same issue?

            Follow that up with… Why are they fixing the symptom without looking for the cause? I’ll grant a lot of maintenance has been brought to the “trained monkey” level, but sometimes you have to go beyond the quick fix to discover the real cause. I had this issue myself with my local dealer until I went behind the service writer’s back and talked to the tech himself. When I did that, the cause was found and the problem finally, fully, repaired.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      Schmitt, the RAM pickups are old models that haven’t been fully redesigned since before the Chrysler bankruptcy. They’re not bad, but the competition has invested more in pickup truck redesign and it shows. Sad to see FCA waste money on niche small cars that will never be profitable while they neglect a core product like the RAM 1500.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      The full size truck market is fiercely loyal. It’s a long slog to win market share in that segment. Ram has been building market share in recent years with a competitive and unique product, they used to be much further behind the other two.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I’m puzzled by Fiat; I certainly wouldn’t buy one – at least any of the 500 crowd, but Chrysler products? We drove them for almost 30 years and put up with many of the niggling things about them EXCEPT the Ultra glide & 2.7L issues, thankfully – we stuck with 4 cylinders.

    Would I buy another? Good question, that depends because I’m very pleased with my Chevy for the time being. Whatever I replace it with after I retire in 17 months won’t be a large car, though.

    What I would like to know is exactly WHY FCA consistently comes in or near last on CR’s and other rating services, because the issues aren’t detailed enough to give you any meaningful information to make a qualified judgement.

  • avatar
    stevelovescars

    I believe that Chrysler sales suffer from a similar issue pointed out about Fiat… a brand name historically associated with class-trailing quality and reliability.

    Whether this is still true or not, I can’t say, though their new products like the 200 seem like very nice cars. I had a Fiat 500 Abarth for a couple of years, enjoyed driving it a lot, and never had a single problem with it.

    It’s just a lot of history to overcome. And that history isn’t very ancient, Cerberus and Mercedes ownership days were pretty dark when it came to product investment and quality.

    Jeep quality was always suspect, but their reputation and brand image hold a different sort of appeal. They don’t really compete head to head with Toyota or Honda, IMHO.

    And, what do we see? Their niche-oriented vehicles continue to do well… Jeeps, minivans (aside from production snafus and killing the Caravan option), and large RWD “American” cars. Mass market cars like the Dart, 200, and trucks have a harder time competing despite being pretty good offerings for seemingly good prices. It’s more difficult to get on shoppers’ short lists and this is where the quality reputation hurts the most.

  • avatar
    TrailerTrash

    I can only guess why FCA is doing poorly by my own feelings.
    IF I were to buy any new car/SUV today…I cannot pick any of their cars as my top choices.
    Not one.
    OK…so maybe my never wanting or needing anything 4×4 might make this the main reason.
    But it is what it is…as for my purposes, which I think mirror most buyers…not one of their products would take the top 1,2 or 3 position.
    In any class.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      @TT: While Jeep SUVs may not yet be in your top 3 list, I suggest you go out and drive the different models just to get a feel for them. Maybe you don’t need all-out 4×4 capability, but their many different AWD models could well fit your needs better than you expect. There’s a reason the new Cherokee has become their most dominant seller, and it’s not the off-road prowess specifically. On the other hand, it does better with its AWD than many other AWD systems.

      • 0 avatar
        TrailerTrash

        Vulp…I not only have driven most of them, I owned a few. In fact I think I had a total of 4 Caravans…
        The key part of my opinion was the not needing a 4×4. IF I did…then the game changes and indeed they are something to consider.
        I rented a ton of the 300 and Dodge RWDs.
        I just took out my niece for a test drive of the Renegade.
        I was one of the very first to test drive the GC diesel when it first arrived in dealers. I wanted one badly. Was not impressed at all. I thought the size of the vehicle should have given me a ton more cargo area. And ditto for the cargo space of the Cherokee. The diesel was OK…but nowhere near that special over our family Toureg diesel. At least my brother didn’t have to pay thousands more for it.

        N…I know what I am talking about when I say every segment has at least 3 better choices than FCA would offer…IF I was to spend my money.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Not everybody likes ’em. Me? I’ve only owned one Jeep–a Wrangler– and one Fiat 500. On the other hand, I’ve owned two other Chrysler products as well and found them all to be pretty solid rigs for their respective sizes and a surprising amount of room inside both the 500 and the Wrangler if you know how to pack it. Being ex-Air Force, I had to learn how to pack a car to move from base to base. The Fiat 500 easily handles a Costco trip for a family of two even when you include food, clothing and or electronics (except, of course, a television.)

          Personally, I’ve never been a fan of diesel and still aren’t. I’m less a fan now than ever because of all the added geegaws needed to eliminate particulates (smoke) and the self-cleaning burn off that itself takes up to an hour and generates such horrendous aromas (wait and see of these tiny automotive diesels don’t need that as well after this VW stink.) I was tempted for the Wrangler-type vehicle because of its need for torque, but I’ve changed my mind and decided to trade for a Renegade because that should meet my typical off-road needs as I don’t do extreme trail riding and even the Renegade can handle following old wagon tracks on the way to a good photography site.

          I can’t argue the Renegade’s fuel economy compared to the Wrangler either. I expect I could push highway economy well over 30mpg and even in-town above the EPA rating as I’ve done so with all my vehicles since the EPA ratings were started.

          One thing you get with a Jeep is a rig designed to hold up under unusually harsh driving conditions. They simply don’t flex as much as most of the others and as such don’t squeak and rattle as much. You see, I buy for durability as much as I do for capabilities. What’s good for you may not be good for me.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I wonder about 10 years from now, how all the cars from the “Fiat Era” at Chrysler will be holding up. Better than the prior “Cerberus Era,” “Daimler Era,” or the “K-Car Era” before that?

    Hmm.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      I suspect they will hold-up like all American cars. Most mainstream models will long be out of support, no OEM parts available, waiting for that one repair estimate that sends them to the junk yard.

      A few models will get some love from the aftermarket and will have a strong enthusiast community. Wranglers are a given (just like Mustangs), but who knows what else will have staying power?

      In my experience, if you want to keep a car more than 10 years, you have to go with the Europeans, Toyota or Honda. Everyone else condemns you to off-brand replacement parts after a few years. In other words, it may look like the car you bought, but all the components are cheap copies.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    So basically, FCA’s lifestyle vehicles are selling well, and their boring sedans aren’t. Only Toyota can move boring sedans in significant numbers.

    Not surprised that the 500X is under-performing. Local dealers only stock fully-loaded models. I saw a $37k Canadian sticker on one! That’s Q3 and GLA territory.
    They look too much like regular 500s to move at that price. I suspect they will start incentivizing them soon. They would sell OK if you could get them well equipped at Juke prices, or at Renegade prices.

  • avatar
    enzl

    As someone who’s lived through the great recession helping supervise and run a CDJR franchise, I can tell you that this article vastly undersells the minivan slowdown (40% of one of your biggest products!)and Avenger losses. (a 200 increase quoted presumes all Avenger intenders were picked up by increase in 200 sales)

    It also barely acknowledges that the Cerberus-era product (mostly cars and Ram p/u) that have yet to be reworked meaningfully(including 300 /Charger /Challenger / Patriot/ Compass et al.) Or that the Ram is the oldest of its competitors (and facing Ford’s full F150 production now)

    While the Fiat experiment is not good (as I told all of my CDJR clients to avoid Fiat franchise years ago, I’m not surprised), I think FCA has otherwise wisely invested in the Jeep brand. You’re cherry picking timeframe, as Ram has been strong given dearth of new product other than work vans – over last few years, not few months.

    The Alfa Romeo investment will likely never pay off, but the tech and trickle down effect for FCA product as a result should justify the effort. (RWD has a future at FCA, that is clear)

    Lastly, given finite resources, what mass market brand COULD they have invested in other than Jeep? Dodge, Chrysler and Fiat all have baggage – it seems to me that they are playing the hand dealt quite deftly.

    CDJR is a full product line, when taken as a whole. I would think GM should be taken to task for investing in cars (Impy/ ‘bu/ Cruze/ Volt/ Caddies) when the SRX, Equinox & Traverse are stale product…(just my .02, but I work with GM franchises as well, so I can state categorically that almost no one is anxiously awaiting any GM car bar the Vette.)

  • avatar

    It seems some of this would occur based on consumer trends alone. Sergio has decided that almost all SUV’s and CUV’s will be Jeeps. What are consumers buying more of? CUV’s and SUV’s. The Ram trend is a little more concerning as they have had very steady growth at Ram for a long time. The Chevy and Ford competition are both newer so it’s somewhat to be expected. But there is something else odd in the data. Nissan increased Titan volume 10% I noticed all the nissan dealers here in CT suddenly have lines of 5-10 Titans where a few months ago they maybe had 1 or 2, Nissan seems to be trying to dump the last of the old body style on the dealers I wonder what kind of discounts there slapping on to get those out the door.


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