By on August 11, 2014

2014 Jeep CherokeeOn a percentage scale, through the first seven months of 2014, the only auto brand improving its year-over-year U.S. sales tally more proficiently than Jeep is Maserati. In other words, Jeep is the fastest-growing volume auto brand in America in 2014.

Based on pure volume gains, no auto brand, certainly not Maserati, has improved on its seven-month 2013 sales total as successfully as Jeep has, with 120,708 extra sales over the last seven months.

Subaru sales are up by 43,131 units. The Ram brand is up by 44,916 units. The Toyota brand is up by 60,146 units. Nissan brand sales are up by 84,295 units.

At this stage last year, including 6048 Libertys and not a single Cherokee, Jeep had sold 271,682 vehicles in the United States. Jeep has sold 392,390 vehicles so far this year, making Jeep Chrysler Group/FCA’s highest-volume brand. (The historic pairing of Dodge and Ram have combined for 602,098 sales year-to-date.)

Things could be different. What if the Liberty simply expired? What if FCA decided to rely on the aging, never-completely-loved Compass and Patriot in the small crossover arena? It’s not as though automakers haven’t allowed vehicles to run a long course before. What if Jeep decided to reject a Fiat car-based architecture and styling that was, especially when the vehicle debuted, shocking?

What if the Cherokee had not returned?

First, we have to realize the hypothetical nature of the question, as evidenced by its, “What if,” opening. We can’t know how many Cherokee sales were generated by buyers who would otherwise have selected a Patriot, or perhaps a low-end Grand Cherokee, or maybe even a Wrangler.

Second, we should remember that while the Cherokee isn’t an outright top seller – the Honda CR-V sells nearly twice as often – or even the top-selling Jeep, it has quickly become a common sight on U.S. roads. It’s America’s ninth-best-selling utility vehicle so far this year; 95,259 have been sold in 2014 in addition to the 25,786 sold in the latter stages of 2013.

Jeep USA sales chart July 2014 YTD150,000 Cherokee sales, perhaps 165,000, are to be expected by calendar year’s end. Those numbers are similar to the Liberty’s figures from its heyday: an average of 167,000 were sold annually between 2002 and 2005, when Jeep’s lineup didn’t include a four-door Wrangler, a Patriot, or a Compass.

Excluding the Cherokee from Jeep’s sales tally this year sees the brand’s total volume fall from 392,390 units to 297,131 over the last seven months, or 25,449 more sales than the brand generated during the same period one year ago, a 9.4% increase.

In other words, without the Cherokee, Jeep is still a healthy brand, as the hugely inexpensive Compass and Patriot (up a combined 16% to 90,224 sales year-to-date) increase their volume, as the Grand Cherokee rises 9.4% to a Jeep-high 104,782 units, as total Wrangler volume jumps 10.8% to 102,125 units.

On the other hand, Jeep would not lay claim to Fastest Growing Auto Brand status.

Surprise of the day: expanded product ranges help. Mitsubishi, the next-fastest-growing brand, with a 28.9% year-to-date improvement, has produced meaningful volume gains only because of the Mirage. Without that car, which wasn’t on sale at this time last year, Mitsubishi is up just 1.3%. Talk about brands that have evolved. Or devolved. Eleven years ago, a 25.6% decline meant Mitsubishi sales fell below 257,000 units. In a vastly improved 2014, Mitsubishi might sell 80,000 new vehicles.

Jeep should top 650,000 U.S. sales by year’s end. Next year, with the Renegade assisting, we could be having this discussion again.

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26 Comments on “Cherokee Isn’t Slowing Down Other Jeeps...”

  • avatar

    The 3 row Wagoneer (Due 2017?) should also add healthy volume to the brand, though may take from Grand Cherokee to some extent. But it will probably be Jeeps highest margin vehicle so stealing sales from less expensive vehicles is not all bad. I would also guess that a 3 row Jeep, done properly could sell like gangbusters.

    • 0 avatar

      Of all classic name resurrections I’ve seen recently, the Wagoneer might be the one I’m the most worried about – I still think of the late-model Grand Wagoneer as one of the most perfectly distilled auto designs, sort of like an LL Bean boot, which may not be conventionally beautiful, but nevertheless could not be improved on.

      And if I had a hundred grand and a spare garage space, I’d plunk down for one of these in a heartbeat:

      • 0 avatar

        A new Wagoneer should be Ram-based and come with a 3.0 diesel, 5.7 gas or 6.4 gas with an SRT Hellcat version.

      • 0 avatar

        I loved my ’85 Grand Wagoneer, especially the greenhouse and separate AC/heater. The design IS classically beautiful, but I must say that almost any full size SUV (like my ’05 Expedition) does everything better, more efficiently, and more reliably, and more powerfully. I do miss all the idiosyncrasies…

        • 0 avatar

          As crazy as it may sound, there’s a company in Kerrville, TX selling completely rebuilt Grand Wagoneers. Their site has a list of all the things they replace, repair, repaint, etc.

          They look cool but are you really willing to part with $50K for a fully restored 1986 Spinnaker Blue/Honey Leather Interior Grand Wagoneer with 49k miles on it?

  • avatar

    Don’t sleep on da’ JEEP.

  • avatar

    The mainstream American press keeps on hatin’ the Mirage.

    Mitsubishi keeps on selling them.

    The fundamental disconnect between practical consumers and automotive enthusiasts simply grows wider.

    I don’t get how well the Cherokee sells. Perhaps it’s the subliminal suggestion of having bought both a Viper and Mustang at the same time that’s doing the trick.

    Then again, if the interior quality is as good as the Grand Cherokee, I wouldn’t be surprised if people looked beyond the face they’d only ever see while walking away from the car, anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      I really think that everyone who hates the Cherokee posts on this board.

      In the real world, people love them. Women especially. My favorite +1 (who bought my Grand Cherokee from me) wants a new Cherokee so bad she whimpers every time she sees one. I’d rather have a Renegade, personally, but I like the Cherokee too. Looks way better in the metal than in pictures.

    • 0 avatar

      This is really a no brainer. It’s the Ford EcoSport, Renault Duster of the American market. While many think that American tastes re absolutely unique and merit special efforts, except for the fact that Americans have their own vision of size, America and world tastes in cars is converging and have been for more than a while. If I were Jeep, I’d soon release a 4×2 Cherokee for less money and go laughing to the bank.

    • 0 avatar

      It is true, there is much hate for the new Cherokee. The hardcore Jeepers hate it, the XJ fans hate it. It is frequently mocked on the Instagram Jeep pages.

      While not the Jeep for me and I’m not a fan of it per se, I do understand why people would want it. It does have a polarizing design, while not hardcore like a JK Wrangler, it doesn’t do too bad off road and can certainly embarrass a Rav4 off road. It’d be the perfect Jeep for my mom (indeed, she hates my Wrangler)and anybody that wants a competent SUV/crossover.

      Plus the way I see it, if it makes money for Fiat/Chrysler, then more money for R&D on Wranglers and Grand Cherokees. I’m all for that.

      • 0 avatar

        > the perfect Jeep for my mom

        That could describe a CRV and a bunch of others. I had an XJ, liked it, and could see why others loved it. The current incantation leaves me cold.

  • avatar

    I am surprised that the Compass/Patriot combo nearly makes up a quarter of YTD Jeep brand sales. I wonder how much of that volume is due to Cherokee intenders walking in the showroom and finding the lower payments and more traditional styling of those two more to their liking.

    • 0 avatar

      The sales of the duo were steadily ascending before the Cherokee was introduced. They sell on price, you get a lot of vehicle for under $20 grand. The volume of the Cherokee is basically a price class above the Compatriot.

      • 0 avatar

        I see the Compass/Patriots everywhere here in the MO Ozarks. Indeed…people here see a solid, inexpensive car that still allows them the soft off-road and around town Jeep experience.
        That and the fact they have a 60K pick up truck for their luxury/urban cowboy image. Talk about that knucklehead budget killer thought process! They have enough money for smokes, beer and the fill up of their truck.

    • 0 avatar

      I know they are much maligned, but I have always like the Patriot (Compass less so). Once the interiors were improved, they are honest, handsomely (square) styled vehicles with a decent transverse AWD system (driver selectable low speed lock).

      If I pick up a beater for camping, winter mountain use, etc, it would be a Ranger or a Patriot, running on Nokians.

      • 0 avatar

        Agreed. In some trims, the Patriot is almost handsome and it’s plenty capable for the majority of drivers. I may replace my aging XJ with a second hand Patriot one of these days. Although I’ll miss the power of the I6.

        • 0 avatar

          I have a 2014 Partiot in my fleet at the moment. It’s a 2.4L/4×4/5 spd manual with the 17″ 5 spoke aluminum wheels and A/T tires. It’s got heated cloth seats, satellite radio, uConnect and fog lights as optional equipment. It probably stickers for ~22k.

          It does remarkably well off road. It has an electrontic clutch which can be manually activated to split power 50/50 front and rear. It’s impressed drivers of “Real Jeeps” at mud holes and ORV parks who insist “it can’t make that” with regards to certain trails and obstacles. It can ford 2 feet of water and climb steep wet clay river banks with ease…not that I’d know anything about that though…

          • 0 avatar

            The Patriot was highly underrated. Part of the problem was that the base non 4×4 models were saddled with a very low powered engine and naturally those who buy cheap were sorely disappointed. Even the Compass is much more capable than given credit for.

            My district has a very old fleet of GMC Jimmys that are used by parent/liaisons to drive hither and yon to reach parents who live down god awful roads. If the district was smart they would buy up some of the last of the Compass/Patriots 4×4 as replacements.

          • 0 avatar

            That would be my ideal drivetrain, although I would consider an automatic to make it family friendly. Prior to 2013 or 2014, I think the sole auto was a CVT which kept me from considering them at all.

            I guess I’ll spend this evening net shopping…

          • 0 avatar

            >That would be my ideal drivetrain, although I would consider an automatic to make it family friendly. Prior to 2013 or 2014, I think the sole auto was a CVT which kept me from considering them at all.

            My wife took to it pretty quickly and she was averse to manual transmissions prior. The problem is if you want a manual trans 4×4 with the 2.4L, you’ll pretty much have to buy mine. You won’t find that combo anywhere and they just recently stopped offering the combo with 4×4/AWD. The Powertech 6 speed is worlds better than the Jatco CVT that it mostly replaced, however. It wouldn’t a bad choice.

      • 0 avatar

        Aren’t they rebodied Mitsubishi Outlanders?

  • avatar

    Despite the controversial front end styling, the Cherokee is selling very well. Add the Renegade, (Grand) Wagoneer, and Compass/Patriot replacement and Jeep sales should keep steadily climbing.

  • avatar

    The Patriot/Compass cousins account for almost 1/4 of all sales.

    $2000 cash on the hood of a $16k (base price) CUV can’t hurt. That’s a 12% discount before you start *asking* for more.

    I’m intrigued by the Patriot, even if the Cerebrus-era Chrysler designs scare me. So I went to my local Jeep dealer to check one out.

    Their sales tactics made me leave within 10 minutes. Sorry, Jeep.

  • avatar

    The new Altitude package will increase male participation in Cherokee sales.

    I bet the Renegade won’t cannibalize any other Jeep either.

  • avatar

    I actually don’t mind the Cherokee’s looks much anymore. I think it’s because I see them constantly and I’m just used to it now. I can’t get used to the Fiat 500 at all. No matter what they do to “macho” it up, I don’t see anything but “Chickmobile” when I see one.

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