November Sales Snapshot: Four-Wheelers

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer

In keeping with our Jeep theme today, let’s take a look at how its off-road capable descendants are doing. There are a couple of qualifications here. I included the Dodge Nitro because I forgot to include it in the CUV snapshot. Or where does that belong? And I don’t have the premium European brands SUVs here. Would anyone take one off-road? But then the same applies to a few of the ones here too. Analysis and chart follows:

The Wrangler is clearly the king of the (potential) off-roaders, thanks two at least two developments. The Grand Cherokee has withered over the past few years. And Hummer’s endo, especially in the case of the H3, has handed the Wrangler a nice chunk of business. And of course the four-door Wrangler is more like an old Wagoneer than a CJ of yore. But overall, the category is clearly hurting, and November showed no sign of respite, except the XTerra’s 51% gain; probably an aberration, or? Potential Four Runner buyers are probably anticipating the new 2010 model or a miraculous improvement in their debt-equity ratio.

Ranked, YTD2009 November% changeYTD 09% changeJeep Wrangler4896-20%75246-3%Grand Cherokee3085-41%46231-32%Jeep Liberty3516-16%38894-38%Jeep Patriot

Dodge Nitro









Toyota 4 Runner1689-45%15161-65%Nissan Xterra168251%14591-54%Toyota FJ1108-44%10338-60%Suzuki G.Vitara

Lexus GX









Hummer H31048-89%5288-72%Lexus LX313-20%3230-56%Toyota Land Cruiser159-7%2071-42%Hummer H240-83%1469-74%
Paul Niedermeyer
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  • Pete Zaitcev Pete Zaitcev on Dec 08, 2009

    Where is Suzuki Grand Vitara (it's the one that's NOT based on some GM thing). It's a conventional 4x4 with a transfer case and low gear. Since you managed to get Pathfinder into CUVs, I checked 2 other posts, but it's nowhere.

    • See 2 previous
    • The Luigiian The Luigiian on Dec 08, 2009

      The GV's transfer case is cool, but it still has a long way to go to become a truly good four-wheeler. 8 inch ground clearance and no skid plates available in any trim (and hard to find on later models even in aftermarket) does not a viable 4x4 make. Also, kudos Paul for adding the Patriot to the 4x4 list! I'm glad to see that at least some are beginning to see the FDII Patriot as a viable 4x4. I think it's got more personality than the Liberty. Even if it has lower sales... (And yes I know it's a tad hypocritical to say the GV is less a 4x4 than the Patriot, but I have issues with the GV's lack of underbody protection and lower ground clearance than FDII.)

  • Rpiotr01 Rpiotr01 on Dec 08, 2009

    Can't wait to pick up a Wrangler when my current lease is up this summer. Hopefully Fiatsler is still around making them...

  • Brbook Brbook on Dec 08, 2009

    In September I shopped for an 09 4WD FJ Cruiser in the Houston area. The best deal I encountered was a whopping 2.25% off MSRP. Ok, supply was very limited, I'll wait for the new model. Two weeks ago wandered into dealer I'd done business with in the past. They had a cruiser that fit my needs/desires. wants very well. I'm dealing with the fleet manager , so no nonsense about fighting with the sales manager. His offer?? "we get list price" Are you serious? I respond, even the BMW dealers are making concessions. I decide Mr. Toyoda needs the inventory more than I do & cross the cruiser off my list. I think I'll rebuild the tranny on my 88 FJ-62. Their business model is beyond my perception. Hope they can eat their inventory-they have no realistic expectation of selling cruisers.

    • Wheeljack Wheeljack on Dec 08, 2009

      Between this attitude on the part of the dealers and some of the "cartoonish" details on the FJ that make it hard to live with (lousy visibility, silly 3-wiper system, useless mirrors), no wonder it's not selling well. Say what you want about the Wrangler, but at least the top comes off and the inner fenders won't crack if you decide to take it off road.

  • Billy215 Billy215 on Dec 09, 2009

    Does the inclusion of the Patriot here mean the Caliber is also one of Jeep's "off-road capable descendants"?

    • Paul Niedermeyer Paul Niedermeyer on Dec 09, 2009

      Two explanations: Jeep claims it is. I put it here because I left it out of the CUV snapshot. You can blame either or both of us.