By on December 8, 2009

still king of the hill

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, YTD 2009 November % change YTD 09 % change
Jeep Wrangler 4896 -20% 75246 -3%
Grand Cherokee 3085 -41% 46231 -32%
Jeep Liberty 3516 -16% 38894 -38%
Jeep Patriot

Dodge Nitro









Toyota 4 Runner 1689 -45% 15161 -65%
Nissan Xterra 1682 51% 14591 -54%
Toyota FJ 1108 -44% 10338 -60%
Suzuki G.Vitara

Lexus GX









Hummer H3 1048 -89% 5288 -72%
Lexus LX 313 -20% 3230 -56%
Toyota Land Cruiser 159 -7% 2071 -42%
Hummer H2 40 -83% 1469 -74%
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28 Comments on “November Sales Snapshot: Four-Wheelers...”

  • avatar

    Fuel prices / tough economic times obviously hurt this category alot.  I actually like to believe that environmental awareness plays a role too.  We like our 98 Wrangler, and would like to buy a 2010 4-door, but simply can’t abide by the abysmal fuel economy.  It’s not that we can’t afford the gas – we don’t do that many miles, so fuel costs are not a significant budget item.  It’s just that you feel like a bit of a piggy driving one of these nowadays.  If they had put the 3.0-L diesel in it we likely would have bought one already (and I doubt we are alone in that).  But instead ChryCo is going in the opposite direction, having taken all of their existing diesels off the Canadian market for 2010 (no more diesel Cherokee up here).  Very disappointing.  They really seem to be out of touch with what the market wants.

  • avatar

    Um, I don’t see the Jeep Patriot and “Dodge” Liberty. Do you mean you included the “Jeep” Liberty and Dodge Nitro?

    You’re welcome.

  • avatar
    Paul Niedermeyer

    fixed; sorry.

  • avatar

    None of the vehicles in this category are the least bit fuel efficient. Until they are redesigned with more efficient powertrains, this is a lame duck market segment.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrick Jannene

      Jeep Patriot? It’s most fuel efficient forms (2L/CVT/2WD, 2.4L/5-spd/2WD, 2.4L/5-spd/4WD) all get 25 mpg on the combined cycle.  That’s as good as an I4 Fusion.
      (The Trail Rated Patriot gets 21 mpg combined)

  • avatar

    Tried to buy a Rubicon.  Dealers unable to provide one.  Supply problem?

    • 0 avatar

      Anecdotal evidence suggests that it took a while to get supply out for th10 model year. I have seen LOTS of new Chrysler product filled trucks on the highway recently, and my local dealers lots seem to be filling up.

  • avatar

    The 2011 Wrangler will get the new Pentastar V6 and a diesel option.

    • 0 avatar

      26theone said:

      “The 2011 Wrangler will get the new Pentastar V6 and a diesel option.”

      Yes, for sure on the Pentastar, but where did you get the info on the diesel?  That is one of the longest-standing rumors going – any actual solid information on that?

  • avatar


    I think under the TTAC categorization “system”, the Patriot was to be considered a CUV.

  • avatar

    Correction: I see they do have it listed here. Um, what about the Patriot’s ugly sister Compass?

  • avatar

    Most of the buyers deflected to buy 2010 Outbacks.

  • avatar


    Patriot’s not super pretty, but she does look like a Jeep. Compass is the girl they want to fix you up with who has the “nice personality”

  • avatar

    Compass was a Dumb Daimler Decision, really completely pointless with Patriot. However, it’s a great name that Jeep should use for its upcoming version of the Fiat Panda.

    • 0 avatar
      Garrick Jannene

      I remember reading a Dilbert comic once about how they always present the manager with two options, a logical one (Patriot) and absolute garbage (Compass).  The manager then picks the obvious one, feels like he still has power, and then the engineers/designers continue on with their business.  The Compass/Patriot duo is what happens when the management says “both.”

  • avatar

    This segment is definitely hurting.
    I am not sure I would include any of the following vehicles in the segment.
    I am not sure I would include the Lexus vehicles because I doubt they will ever be offroad, or the Land Crusier for the same reasons.  I wouldn’t include the Hummers either as they are dying brands.  Well, maybe they are still on life support waiting for the Chinese, but that is it.

  • avatar

    There’s got to be a easy reason for the Xterra to get such a boost and the others not so much. Its not gas mileage as the last Xterra I test drove averaged 16 mpg, which now that I think of it, is pretty good for this segment. I’m thinking more that Nissan managed to finagle it as a C4C car or had so many laying around they threw out some really sweet incentives like $5K or 10 yrs of bikini car-washes.

  • avatar

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

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer

      I’ll get it for you as soon as I down my pizza!

    • 0 avatar
      Paul Niedermeyer


    • 0 avatar

      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 4×4 make.

      Also, kudos Paul for adding the Patriot to the 4×4 list! I’m glad to see that at least some are beginning to see the FDII Patriot as a viable 4×4. 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 4×4 than the Patriot, but I have issues with the GV’s lack of underbody protection and lower ground clearance than FDII.)

  • avatar

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

  • avatar

    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.

    • 0 avatar

      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. 

  • avatar

    Does the inclusion of the Patriot here mean the Caliber is also one of Jeep’s “off-road capable descendants”?

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