By on November 15, 2016

Dodge Journey Canada screenshot - FCA Canada websiteIt was early 2014 when an Albertan car salesman drew my attention to a claim he noticed in commercials and promotional material from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Canada. The Dodge Journey, they said, was Canada’s No. 1 selling crossover.

It wasn’t. But at the time, FCA was using some hilariously inappropriate segmentation from R.L. Polk Canada, Inc. to support the claim.

FCA Canada’s more recent Journey-related claim uses altered language to make a similar-sounding statement. FCA calls the Journey, “Canada’s favourite crossover.”

The Dodge Journey is not Canada’s favourite crossover. The Dodge Journey never was Canada’s favourite crossover. Based on current trend lines, the Dodge Journey does not stand a chance of soon becoming Canada’s favourite crossover.

Despite its advanced age, there’s no denying that the Dodge Journey has historically outperformed sales expectations in Canada. While not highly regarded by critics — though given due credit for its value proposition — the Journey has produced nearly one-quarter of its U.S./Canadian volume north of the border, where one-tenth of all U.S./Canadian auto sales are produced. As a result, the Journey has certainly been among Canada’s most popular utility vehicles.

While last year’s all-time record U.S. Journey sales propelled the Dodge into 20th spot among SUVs/crossovers, the Journey has ranked as high as No. 2 in Canada. That was in 2011, when the Ford Escape ended the year with 52-percent more sales than the Dodge Journey.

But on an annual basis, that’s as close as the Journey has ever been. The Journey fell to third spot in 2012, fourth in 2013, sixth in 2014, seventh in 2015. Through the first 11 months of 2016, the Journey ranks 12th among SUVs/crossovers, behind 10 CUVs and the Jeep Wrangler.

Of course, definitions matter. An SUV to you may be a crossover to me. A CUV to FCA may be a SAV at BMW. But the general populace would surely agree that the vehicles which regularly outsell the Dodge Journey in Canada — 2016 will be the fourth consecutive year in which the Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4 have all outsold the Journey — are just as deserving of a “crossover” definition as the Dodge Journey.

But FCA sees things differently. Very differently.Dodge Journey Canada screenshot - FCA Canada websiteFirst, go back to the aforementioned claim from a few years back. Supporting material obtained at the time by GoodCarBadCar.net from the Alberta Motor Vehicle Industry showed that FCA’s “No.1 selling crossover” claim was based on a very narrow definition of the term, “crossover.”

The Buick Enclave, Cadillac SRX, Ford Flex, GMC Acadia,  Hyundai Veracruz, Infiniti QX70, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Murano, Subaru Tribeca, Toyota Venza, Volvo XC70, and Volvo XC90 were listed as “full-size crossovers” while the Ford Edge, Lincoln MKX, Infiniti QX50, Mercedes-Benz GLK, and Volvo XC60 were listed as “midsize crossovers.” Where were the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, and Toyota RAV4 listed? With midsize SUVs, naturally, along with the Lexus RX, Nissan Xterra, Toyota FJ Cruiser, and an eclectic mix of utility vehicles from across a wide spectrum.

Now, FCA is claiming that the Dodge Journey is “Canada’s favourite crossover.” The claim is supported by the following fine print: “Based on IHS Automotive: Polk Canadian Vehicles in Operation data as of July 1st, 2015 for Crossover Segments as defined by FCA Canada Inc.” Take note, FCA isn’t referring to current sales data but rather 15-month-old “vehicles in operation” data. Take special note: the claim made is licensed by FCA from R.L. Polk/IHS Automotive. And take further note of the real problem relating to the closing words: “crossover segments as defined by FCA Canada Inc.”

How does FCA Canada define the crossover segment? Small crossovers, FCA told TTAC yesterday, include the Fiat 500X, Jeep Renegade, Mini Countryman, Mini Paceman, Buick Encore, Honda HR-V, Mazda CX-3, and Nissan Juke. Compact crossovers, why, there are only a couple according to FCA: Mazda CX-5 and Subaru Crosstrek. Full-size crossovers: Buick Enclave, Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Flex, GMC Acadia, Honda Crosstour, Mazda CX-9, Nissan Murano, Subaru Tribeca, Toyota Venza.

And then there’s the Journey’s “midsize crossover” category: Buick Envision, Dodge Journey, Ford Edge, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Outback.

RAV4? Escape? CR-V? Cherokee? Tucson? Santa Fe? Equinox? Nowhere to be found.

Essentially then, FCA is calling the Dodge Journey “Canada’s favourite crossover” based on the fact that Polk/IHS says there were more Journeys on the road on July 1, 2015, than there were Encores, Jukes, Acadias, Muranos, Edges, Rogues, Outbacks, etc. Forget the fact that the number of Ford Escapes already totalled in the six-digits before the Dodge Journey ever came along — the Escape doesn’t count.

(Incidentally, one vehicle that does count by FCA’s definition, the Nissan Rogue, has produced 52,148 Canadian sales since the Polk/IHS measurement period ended on July 1, 2015. During the same stretch, FCA Canada reported 27,760 sales.)

FCA’s claim that the Journey is Canada’s favourite crossover was brought once again to my attention last Saturday night during a Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Pittsburgh Penguins game aired on Hockey Night In Canada.

“What makes the Dodge Journey Canada’s favourite crossover?” the voice-over asks. I rejected the premise of the question.

But after making inquiries with FCA Canada early yesterday morning, head of communications LouAnn Gosselin said, “The TV spots ended in French Canada yesterday (Sunday) and English Canada today (Monday), per the media buy schedule.”

The timing of my inquiry and FCA’s pull of the ad? Coincidental, apparently. Indeed, at least for the time being, while the TV ad has disappeared, Dodge.ca continues to insist that the Journey is Canada’s favourite crossover.

It isn’t. And it wasn’t. In fact, the Journey is currently not even FCA’s own top-selling crossover. Up 5 percent year-to-date, Jeep Cherokee sales totaled 27,434 units in the first ten months of 2016, almost precisely double the number of sales managed by the Journey over the last ten months. Canadian sales of the Journey are down 34 percent this year and they’re down 45 percent from the Journey’s 2011 peak.

If this all feels strangely familiar, there’s a reason. Six months ago, we told you that Words Have Meaning: Dodge Is Not The Fastest-Growing Performance Brand In America, Whatever That Means.

[Images: Dodge.ca]

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.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

35 Comments on “Ignore FCA’s Claims: The Dodge Journey Isn’t, Wasn’t, And Won’t Soon Be “Canada’s Favourite Crossover”...”


  • avatar
    MoDo

    We get it OP, you hate FCA. I hope this gets it out of your system.

    • 0 avatar

      Your anger is misdirected.

      In my opinion, Sergio basically uses that rounded “M” MoPar in your avatar like his personal toilet seat.

      Tell me I’m wrong when Dodge and Chrysler products, desperately in need of updating, are left to wither on the vine so FCA can devote attention toooooo….

      Alfa-Romeo.

      Talk about the answer to the question absolutely no one is asking.

      Between Daimler-Benz, Cerberus and Fiat, what ChryCo has had to endure these past twenty years is borderline criminal if you ask me. There aren’t enough Fiat 500 variations possible to make up for it.

      Within ten years, Ram and Jeep will be owned by Hyundai/Kia or maybe Nissan/Renault. Dodge and Chrysler will smolder on the ash heap of history.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      We get it, you overlook errors, lies and manipulation because you love FCA. Hope it gets out of your system soon.

      You can still be an FCA fan while admitting this was stupid and wrong.

      If this were Ford claiming to sell the country’s favorite Hybrid with some gobbledygook about defining “Hybrid” as an “MPV-style vehicle with a combination of electricity and ICE power” excluding damn-near everything but the Ford. I would be the first to LMAO and call them out, since nobody ever would really define a “Hybrid” as we know it that way. That’s coming from a guy who would be thrilled at the news that Ford dethroned the Prius with a neat little vehicle like the C-Max.

      That’s brought to you by TTAC’s favourite* commenter, me! (Thanks guys!)

      *”commenter” defined as *ANYONE* posting from the exact device I hold in my hand right now, and from my IP address, unless I go somewhere. Subject to change whenever I feel like it, all rights to not tell you when that may be are reserved, of course. ©2016 ;)

    • 0 avatar
      Giltibo

      I get it: you’re an FCAphile. Fine.

      As someone else said, Marchione is slowly undressing Chrysler and taking it apart to finally take the only thing of value: The JEEP brand.

      The Hellcat is Chrysler’s last hurrah for the V8 (The actual engine is too large for most of the new models that the company needs to fulfill the government’s requirements for CAFE.

      The Chrysler brand is now a shell of what it used to be, slowly dying.

      What you may not know is that the new generation Wrangler was slated to be produced in Mexico and Europe, before the public heard of it. Cherokee? Mexico. Pacifica? Production was planned to start in the spring of 2015! Grand Caravan? Was supposed to die as soon as the above Pacifica was produced. Journey and Liberty? Were supposed to disappear more than 2 years ago. Wagoneer? Should have started production 18 months ago. Barracuda? Again, was slated to be introduced 18-24 months ago.

      Something is not right with FCA…

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    As I mentioned in the prior articles’ comments, they do this in the US as well. On their radio ads they’ll make a claim about the RAM 1500 or the Grand Cherokee, and then there’s a solid 15 seconds of disclaimer (read very quickly) at the end of the ad, explaining how they came up with their “award category.”

    Anybody can slice data thin enough to make it show what they want. It’s quite the misleading snake oil type tactic.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    pretty funny sounds more like a used car chain gimmick, the Journey is a cheap way , maybe the cheapest way to get a non mini van space and a SUV?CUV bandwagon spot at the dance, if you do not care about cars and just want something that packs in the kids and looks ok it is there for you.

  • avatar
    Polishdon

    It’s all relative. I remember years ago when the Mercury Villager Minivan was launched. It was touted, at least locally, as “the Best Selling “ALL NEW” minivan”. Well, that year, the only other “Brand New” minivan was the Nissan Quest.

    That’s why you have to read the fine print

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    That’s just one more facet of FCA’s four-square, polyester double-knit dealership experience. It feels like a time warp every time you step into those places.

    That sales model has to be hurting them, just like VWoA’s “no goodwill, no help for common failures” policy hurt them in the US.

  • avatar

    Most Popular Crossover for the Under 550 FICO Crowd 7 Years Running!

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    I need help. I actually like the way the Journey looks (that beltline, so nice and useful). A fully loaded Pentastar equipped R/T model actually appeals. If it could tow 5K, and it had stacks of cash on the hood… Like the 200S, might be worth the risk.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I can schedule an intervention.

    • 0 avatar
      davefromcalgary

      Actually, I seriously want to throw the Buick over a cliff and go buy this.

      http://www.kijiji.ca/v-cars-trucks/calgary/2007-suzuki-sx4-jlx/1214640542?enableSearchNavigationFlag=true

      No intervention required. I like Suzuki.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Time for a come to 3800 meeting.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          I had one as a rental once and it was not something I could really justify spending my own money on. The interior felt like it cost all of 10 dollars and the drive was mediocre at best. The pentastar made good power, but it felt like it was dragging a dead horse behind it.

          As a business proposition it works well for FCA so good for them, but as a consumer, even a Kia Sorento is a HUGE upgrade, a Highlander or Explorer is practically a Rolls-Royce in comparison.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          I actually have a plan!

          The Buick is a turd and I just want it gone. Its depressing to still spend money on driving it.

          Every so often I need a more rugged vehicle for jobsites and site visits out in the boonies. The SX4 has a great front biased AWD for what it is, and decent clearance and angles for a car. I like the SX4, and I’m not ready for a truck yet. So, buy this now, drive it till the Hyundai dies, give it to the lady (since this one is an auto), THEN buy my 6.2L Sierra. (all hail).

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Word of warning, SX4 parts are very expensive, at least in Canada.
            That AWD system is very good for the segment.
            Unlike (for instance) the CR-V it reacts immediately to a loss of traction.

          • 0 avatar
            brandloyalty

            Davefromcalgary:

            If you like the SX4, you should also check out the Grand Vitara. Our ’06, bought new, is the most reliable car we’ve ever owned. Friends who bought an ’08 a few years ago based on our experience are happy with theirs. Cons are mediocre mileage, stiff highway ride and poor cargo area adaptability. Pros are sure footedness that gets better as conditions get worse, low range, and perfect weight distribution. Suzuki did not scrimp on build quality.

            Cost of parts is almost irrelevant because you won’t need many, and extremely few, if any of those will be proprietary parts not available from wreckers. Same for the SX4.

            The only proprietary parts our GV has needed were either recall bits or a shim kit for a valve lifter adjustment.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I like what the Vitara is, but I’d rather the car like ride of the SX4

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      The OTD prices on V6 AWD three-row Journeys can be very attractive. The vehicle isn’t great, there’s n doubt about it. But if it’s $5K less than a five-seat, 4-cyl CR-V? What if it’s $10K less? What if the discount is even steeper?

      Yet the appeal to me, personally, is lost regardless of its price point because I haven’t driven a Journey that didn’t feel like the automatic was about to breathe its last. A great engine becomes not-so-great when the transmission clunks into gear, refuses to upshift, and lacks all manner of intelligence.

    • 0 avatar
      Polishdon

      I currently lease a 2015 Journey R/T AWD. I’m actually thinking about buying at the end of the lease.

      I test drove a few CUV’s and found the Journey the roomiest for the price. The Escape was too small, the Edge was flat out ugly (It’s a 21st century AMC Pacer). The Equinox wasn’t bad and the Traverse was nice. But the Journey, for the price was the best choice. And I haven’t regretted it.

      Now, if you want to blast a vehicle, let’s talk about my OTHER leased P*S 2016 Jeep Patriot High Altitude 4×4…..

      12 months left on the Jeep lease and counting……..

  • avatar
    orenwolf

    Hah, GREAT article. I always wondered about the specifics that manage to let auto manufacturers basically say that all their vehicles are award-winning.. somehow. :)

    • 0 avatar
      la834

      Yep, it’s articles like this one that justify this blog’s name. Someone needs to sound the alarm when any automotive entity tries to pull one over on us like this. I’m used to any specific category (like “entry-luxury sedans”) being si flexible as to what does or doesn’t qualify that I ignore claims that include them. But a broad, well-defined category like “crossover” without qualifiers unquestionably includes every tall-wagon or tall-hatchback thing with available AWD but not real off-road SUV chops, and that category unequivicably includes CR-Vs, RAV4s, and Flexes.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    I really haven’t paid much attention to the Journey over the years. Granted, this model is aging. But it seems to offer solid value. Is it really so very bad? I have some non-enthusiast friends asking about it. Worth it if they can get a good deal on one of the lower trims? Is reliability a particular issue?

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      Entirely anecdotal, but my very gay, knows nothing about cars hairstylist, bought a Journey mainly because of the price. Drove it for a month and traded it on a Equinox, and says the Chevy is like a Rolls Royce in comparison.

      He knows I’m a car guy, I don’t know why he didn’t ask for advice before he bought the Dodge; but he regretted the Dodge soon after he bought it. At least he’s very happy with the Chev.

      • 0 avatar
        Steve Biro

        As for Jagboi’s friend who now owns the Equinox… it’s funny… for the first time in decades, there are a number of GM vehicles that I think are pretty decent and would recommend to others. The Equinox may not be class-leading… but it ain’t bad and it represents good value.

  • avatar
    zeus01

    I’m guessing the Dodge Journey would stand a better chance of topping a list of vehicles with the highest number/ percentage of incidences of buyer’s remorse than of anyone’s favorite vehicle – in ANY category. Something about the bitterness of poor quality remaining long after the sweetness of low price….

    • 0 avatar
      Polishdon

      I don’t know about that. My 2015 Journey R/T has been mechanically trouble free. Only issue I’ve had is that my iPhone doesn’t sync when I enter the car. And before you make any comments, it worked fine till I upgraded it to iOS10 and I need to take it to the dealer for an software upgrade to resolve it.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    It’s rather like an obviously fake phone scam call. The obviously fake claims aren’t a flaw in the marketing, it’s a feature. Only the fish dumb enough to eat the bare rusting hook will respond to it. We self filter for the scam, and they don’t waste time pitching to someone who will never fall for the end game.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • brandloyalty: CR did this with the all-new 2006 Suzuki Grand Vitara. The equivalent Rav4 was later to market so CR...
  • conundrum: Paul Hogan, Crocodile Dundee, about single-handedly rescued Subaru from complete obscurity in 1995 or so....
  • Big Al from Oz: Chrysler has never been a huge success in Australia and I don’t think Australia will miss any...
  • dividebytube: Also a two-tone paintjob does stand out – even a white Mini with a black roof and fender cladding...
  • The Ryan: Yeah, in my town, Mitsubishis are very well represented. Almost as well as Dodge Journeys. Probably says...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States