By on April 7, 2015

2015 Jeep Renegade redEverything was coming up roses for Jeep in March 2015.

During a period in which it seemed highly likely that FCA/Chrysler Group would fail to report their 60th consecutive month of year-over-year sales increases – five years of growth without a pause – a slight 2% increase across the company’s large number of brands helped to propel the U.S. auto industry to a narrow 0.5% year-over-year gain.

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US produced the company’s marginal gains despite a 24% drop in sales at Dodge, a 5% decline at Fiat, a 58% plunge in minivan volume, and the first Ram pickup truck decrease since April 2010.

The responsibility for growth was thus placed on commercial vans, a specific passenger car trio, and the high-flying Jeep brand.

FCA currently competes with three different vans targeted at the commercial market: the soon-to-disappear Grand Caravan-based Ram Cargo Van, the full-size Ram ProMaster, and the small Ram ProMaster City. Their combined sales increased by 1481 units, or 76%, to 3428 in March 2015.

FCA USA auto sales chart 2015 Q1The Chrysler 200 and Dodge Dart reported best-ever monthly sales for the respective nameplates, and together with the Dodge Challenger doubled the trio’s sales to 34,872 units in March. This counteracted passenger car sales declines from the Chrysler 300, Dodge Avenger, Dodge Charger, Dodge Viper, and the Fiat lineup. (Combined 200/Avenger sales were up 19% in March but fell 5% in the first-quarter of 2015.)

Jeeps, however, were the real difference makers last month. The Cherokee and Patriot posted best-ever sales months, combining for 30,882 sales, a 39% jump compared with March 2014.

Last month also resulted in best-ever March results for the Wrangler and Compass. Year-over-year, that duo’s sales rose 16% to 22,944.

The Grand Cherokee’s March volume was up 5% to 16,815 – the Grand Cherokee is on pace to make 2015 the best year since 2005.

The Chrysler Toledo Assembly Complex used to produce Jeep Cherokee in ToledoJeep also began selling the Renegade, which is expected to be a hot ticket in the near future. Only 943 were sold in its abbreviated first month, but inventory levels are rising rapidly. Expect to see a long period of Renegade growth before any levelling off.

Put it all together – the best-ever months for two nameplates, best-ever seasonal sales for two more, growth from the Grand Cherokee, an all-new model – and it’s not difficult to conclude that U.S. Jeep sales were at the highest level ever in March 2015. Not just the highest March level, but the highest level regardless of month.

March 2015 Jeep sales broke the previous brand’s record, set in May 2014, by 1381 units, or 2%. That record was set in a month, which in terms of overall auto industry volume, was 4% larger. Thus, Jeep’s market share last month, 4.6%, was a meaningful improvement compared with the 4.4% from the previous record-setting month.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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44 Comments on “Jeep’s Extraordinary March 2015 Sales Performance Sets Records...”


  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Someone in my apartment complex just bought a Renegade Trailhawk, in that non-metallic blue/green. I was probably one of its biggest detractors in discussions here, but man these things look pretty neat in person. I’m still bothered by how heavy and poorly packaged they are, but they are cool looking little trucklets with a respectable amount of clearance and good approach/departure angles. All that’s missing IMO is the new Cherokee’s rear locker.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I wanted to like the Renegade, even pre-selecting it as a potential new car for me.

      Then I drove one, and was severely let down. The 2.4 is a rough engine, the 9-speed shifts abruptly and unevenly, and the build quality was questionable. Frame rails shouldn’t be pink on a red car. The vehicle was noisy, but maybe that authenticates its “Jeep-ness”. It even had torque steer, and tended to dart around in the lane. The back seats were very tight on legroom.

      There are better, more refined vehicles for the money; the Renegade is off my list.

    • 0 avatar
      Timtoolman

      Someone in my driveway bought a new Wrangler last month. Wait! It was ME!

    • 0 avatar
      Timtoolman

      Someone in my driveway bought a new Wrangler Unlimited with a 6-speed manual. It was ME!

  • avatar
    Thatkat09

    Am I the only one who thinks the Patriot/Compass are the modern day Omni/Horizon? Simple yet outdated compact hatches slated for discontinuation but soilder on because strong sales and no viable replacement.
    My sister let me drive her Patriot loner after she smashed up her daily driver, I didn’t hate it. Not as good as the competitors but its so cheap and good looking that performance takes a back seat. First car since the 90s that I’ve driven without a height adjustable driver seat though.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      They’re cheap, good looking and useful. If it weren’t for their suspect reliability I’d want one as my DD, particularly the Patriot. But my family’s experience with Chrysler products has been uniformly abysmal.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I rather like the Patriot, it’s an very honest vehicle IMO. It’s shortfalls are the tiny trunk and fat pillars that impede visibility, and the MPG rating is an abysmal 20/23 if you get the more capable “Freedom Drive II” AWD system… very close to a 4000lb+ 4Runner with a 4.0L V6, real transfer case, and BOF construction. But I think the sweet spot with them is a base model with FD1 AWD, you can even find them with stick shifts.

    • 0 avatar

      If we’re taking entry-level, budget compact CUVs, I actually prefer the Captiva Sport over either the Patriot/Compass twins or the Rogue Select (pauses for laughter). No, seriously, hear me out. It may not be the best thing ever and you may not have been able to buy it new, but it’s got a decent, clean design and perhaps better interior plastics than the pricier Equinox and Terrain. And with the addition of a rearview camera and faux-MyLink, it can be had decently-equipped.

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        If I’m not mistaken that used to be a Saturn Vue. I had a 2002 and I loved it….when it wasn’t broken. I was told by most of the mechanics that got rich off it that I should have waited 2 years. Loved the mileage and the work capacity. Long long list of things I replaced which included about 4 computers. Bad experience.

  • avatar
    bryanska

    No surprise. The Cherokee is perfectly positioned as the most comfortable and powerful CUV outside the luxury brands. In this sense, it’s the Chrysler 300 of the compact CUVs.

    The Renegade is a car for the times.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      It may be the most powerful compact CUV, but it isn’t the most comfortable. I also find it to have the worst space utilization of any of the small CUVs.

      • 0 avatar
        bryanska

        Tell me about the comfort! I am seriously considering one, and I’m gun shy because the 20 minute test drive seemed fine. But I know the real comfort issues don’t show until you’ve lived with it for a while.

        Not many compact CUVs can tow over 2000 lbs, and are near-luxury, and have modern infotainment. I like the UConnect system so much that I’m afraid I’m being blind to other things.

        What is behind your thoughts regarding comfort? It would be a big help.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I don’t think the Cherokee is uncomfortable. It’s a good vehicle. Personally, I am more comfortable driving an Escape or Forester. Maybe it’s just the way the seats and front cabin are set up. I wouldn’t buy a compact SUV anyway. I’d pay the extra $$$ to step into an Edge or Grand Cherokee. Both are vastly more comfortable than their smaller brothers.

          I also like MFT over UConnect. While UConnect works fine, the graphics remind me of a $79 Chinese Android tablet from 2012. I think I am in the minority though.

          I do think that the Cherokee is an excellent value for the price they move them at. FCA wants to deal.

          • 0 avatar
            bryanska

            Thanks – I’m in the city, so size does indeed matter (though smaller is better). I prefer smaller cars whenever I can get them, but here I need 2000+ lbs towing. Somehow none of the common compact CUVs are compelling to me. I do like the Lincoln MKC but I’m afraid of the price.

            The only bigger CUV I am actually considering is a 2013-or-newer SRX with the 3.6 and CUE.

            The dark horse is a second-gen Escape with a system swapped for an aftermarket AVIC, but I don’t think that particular Escape would have the luxury touches I want in Minnesota (heated wheel, ventilated seats).

            Therefore the Cherokee is the leading candidate by way of deduction. I just wish I LOVED it more. If you love cars, deduction isn’t a thrilling way to choose.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The SRX is about a foot longer than the Cherokee. If you are considering that, both the new Edge and JGC are shorter than the SRX. The Edge is only 6″ longer than the Cherokee, although I am sure it’s wider.

        • 0 avatar
          BarryO

          bryanska,

          I just bought a 2015 Cherokee Latitude, which now has about 3500 miles. It’s got the 6 cylinder engine, all wheel drive and leather seats that the dealer installed as an after market item. My wife wanted to sit up high and have heated seats, and she fell in love with the Eco Green color so all of a sudden I went from being a Mazda guy to a Jeep person. FWIW, I’m 6′ and I tend to drive fairly conservatively.

          Anyway, after 2 months of ownership, here’s my take on it:

          1. Comfort is terrific. I have a 50+ mile commute (one way), mostly highway, and comfort is not an issue at all. Very nice ride.

          2. I track mileage, and the last 3 fillups got me 25.6 mpg on March 9, 26.9 mpg on March 23, and exactly 30 on April 3. With a 6 and all wheel drive, that definitely exceeded my expectations, but it’s real. The worst mileage I got was 22.3 mpg late February, when it was brutally cold.

          3. I would recommend getting the better sound system. The standard system is decent, but quality would probably be better with an upgrade, but it’s not a huge deal. That’s the only thing I’d do differently.

          The power lift gate is a real treat, by the way. Never had that before.

          I don’t tow anything, so can’t comment on that.

          I’ve had no mechanical issues at all, so far so good. The Cherokee would be at the top of my list if I had to do it again.

          • 0 avatar
            bryanska

            SUPER helpful. This will be “the big car” in our family, and she wants a MINI 4-door (her car, her choice).

            This car must handle road-trip duty for our 3-person family while towing a cargo trailer or popup camper. It must be small enough because I hate driving big cars every day.

            It’s also my reward after a slog through a part-time MBA and getting our one kid through daycare. So something luxurious is a must (all my MBA peers are into their luxury leases and dammit I work hard too). Therefore CRV doesn’t cut it, and while Edge is nice… it’s not premium enough. I know the Cherokee isn’t necessarily premium but it just seems nicer than a Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Toyota or Ford.

            Honestly, I’d get the CTS, 200C or 300C if they could tow. The X1 and Q3 can’t tow over 1000lbs. I only like the SRX because it seems like a balance of luxury and coolness.

            If the Cherokee had a nicer nose, and maybe an SRT package, I’d be over the moon.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “This car must handle road-trip duty for our 3-person family while towing a cargo trailer or popup camper.”

            At the risk of exposing myself to attacks from the “I traveled in the back of a Chevette growing up” masochists, I’d argue that stepping up to a Grand Cherokee is probably the biggest favor you could do yourself in this situation. A significant jump in rear cargo space, and it will tow 2000lb more comfortably than the smaller Cherokee, not just in terms of available power but added wheelbase and heft for stability. And you’d certainly get that premium parking lot cred with a Grand Cherokee, most won’t notice if it isn’t an Overland Summit but a simpler Laredo with leather seats.

        • 0 avatar
          enzl

          Just months in on Cherokee Trailhawk lease. It drives like a big car and the interior, IMO, has enough lux cues and UConnect to give the illusion you’re in a much more expensive car.

          I like it, my wife loves it. Just my .02.

          • 0 avatar
            BarryO

            The ‘big car’ is a funny comment…our other vehicle is a Mazda 6, and the Cherokee is shorter and more narrow, but the inside feels like a much bigger vehicle. Out of all the CUV’s I test drove, which was about 7 of them, this was the winner mostly because it had more of a luxury feel to it and the others felt more utilitarian or common. The Cherokee also felt larger inside than the rest. The Rav4 was close, but I didn’t care for the Econ button and when I test drove it, it was raining and the hood kicked up a water spray in 2 places from the front of the hood that hit the windshield and made for a very unpleasant and distracting experience. Unfortunate design choice on that thing.

            And even though it’s relatively smaller, it drives and feels like a larger vehicle. Nice turning radius, also.

            I should mention that the Cherokee came with engine auto stop-start so when you come to a red light, the engine turns itself off to save gas. You can turn the feature off, but after I got used to the silence, I always use it. I was concerned about the starter, but a friend who has a strong automotive background said that the starter is made for this purpose and should be the last thing to worry about.

            Congratulations on the MBA. You should definitely treat yourself.

          • 0 avatar
            bryanska

            Exact impression I am getting, thank you.

        • 0 avatar
          Chan

          My friend has a Cherokee Sport with the 2.4 Multiair. He has used it from California to Arizona and he likes it. His biggest complaint is that the engine sometimes isn’t quite enough for an SUV creeping towards 4000 pounds.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            “creeping towards 4000 pounds”

            It crept up to 4000 and kept creeping :) Edmunds says a 4cyl weighs in at 4040lb

        • 0 avatar
          Chopsui

          bryanska,

          I got a trailhawk V6 back in August/September. I Just passed 9000 miles. For the last couple of months I’ve been commuting about 45 minutes one way to work every day. In addition, I’ve taken a couple of 6 hour road trips.

          I love this thing.

          I find the seats to be very comfortable. My only gripes are the fuel mileage – I’m averaging ~22 with an admittedly heavy foot – and the sometimes balky transmission. I think I’m actually 2 firmware updates behind on the transmission so hopefully once I get around to taking it in for service, that will clear up.

          It’s surprisingly quiet considering the large offroadish tires that the Trailhawk comes with. I’d imagine that the other models would be even better in this regard. And the interior materials and features are pretty damn good for this price range in my opinion.

          Anyway, this is my first Jeep so take that for whatever it’s worth. In all honesty, I’m a little hesitant to recommend one only because it seems like I’ve read a lot of horror stories concerning reliability and quality issues but that may just be a case of growing pains with a new model. All I can say is that I haven’t had any such issues.

          • 0 avatar
            bryanska

            Again, really helpful. I want a highway car. Do you think the Trailhawk is the way to go? I am a Limited guy, but my wife was really impressed with the Trailhawk looks (and I’ll be honest, I’ll take a hint to be more macho when it’s that easy). I just wonder if the Trailhawk has a real downside in terms of MPG and noise.

            I’d NEVER use the Trailhawk capabilities. Maybe once. Therefore maybe some blacked out trim on an Eco Green Limited would do the trick. And some extra lights.

          • 0 avatar
            Chopsui

            I can’t really say anything about the Limited vs Trailhawk as I didn’t even bother driving any of the other models. I would just guess that the tires on the Limited would be a bit quieter – not that the ones on the TH are loud. Best thing to do is just go drive both yourself.

            I imagine that the Limited is the smarter choice, but yeah, the TH is way better looking. :)

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t know how comfortable it is, as I’ve not sampled or sat in one. My grandfather and his new wife (who I met this past January; she’s a very sweet woman) bought a new Cherokee last month. I’m not sure what trim level it was, but it looked decently-equipped.

  • avatar
    sketch447

    The Jeep Patriot is flying off the lots b/c you can land a 4wd stick for $17.5k or so with discounts. Millenials love the thing, but its appeal crosses all age groups. If a shrewd Jeep dealer stocked a dozen Patriot 4wd sticks, they’d sell them all in a week…..

    The Patriot represents what the Cherokee straight-six used to be: cheap, bulletproof, go-anywhere wheels with a low cost-to-own.

    Why pay $4k more for a Eurotrash Renegade with a buzzy turbo?

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Not sure just how bulletproof they are per se, all of the Dodge Caliber platform variants seem to have chronically weak ball joints, and when I was looking on forums, water leaks into the interior seemed to be a very common complaint. But aside from that and a smattering of sensor issues, they do seem to hold up pretty well and have low cost of ownership, owing to their straightforward simplicity. Thrashy Chrysler “world” engines don’t set the world on fire with refinement, power, or economy, but they don’t have any glaring issues either, and parts will be easy to get years from now. This is like a budget priced Forester with worse visibility and less cargo space, but without the future headaches of headgasket replacement.

      • 0 avatar

        Ugh. My dad bought a 2007 Dodge Caliber SXT my freshman year of high school. It had all sorts of issues including, indeed, water ingress from the passenger door seal, which the dealer was unable to rectify satisfactorily. The 2.0-liter “Global Engine” was indeed thrashy, and Dodge’s implementation of a CVT had to be *way* worse than any Nissan I’ve ever driven, including the Murano we had at the time. It also just slowly disintegrated into a rolling pile of s**t over the next 90,000 miles as components failed or fell off for no reason whatsoever. I was so glad when it got totaled and he bought a real car (a Sonata). Unfortunately, living with a Caliber would make a Patriot or Compass a non-starter for me. I would certainly be willing to give other Chrysler vehicles a chance, though…like the new Cherokee.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I had a Patriot with a 2.4L, 4×4 and manual transmission for a while. It was good for what it was. Always averaged 23mpg in mixed driving. Surprisingly capable off road too.

      I never liked the CVTs they put in them. They’re a similar Jatco unit to those used in some Nissan models, and I never cared for those either.

      • 0 avatar
        cgjeep

        Is the 2.4 engine that Jeep/Chrysler use the same as the one that Hyundai uses?

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I think so, the “world engine” used by Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Chrysler. Not a bad motor by any stretch, it’s just rough around the edges. But it’s a timing chain motor with plain old port injection and it’s been around forever now.

  • avatar
    Chan

    Chrysler products are becoming Italian. That is, they have skewed strongly to one or two characteristics (styling and the excellent uConnect system) to attract buyers, but the other aspects are lacking.

    I rented a 200 with the 2.4 Multiair. The engine was fine, but the 9-speed transmission was a mess. At parking lot speeds it hunted and jerked. On the road it was sluggish when I needed to downshift for acceleration. Pretty sure this is a software problem.

    The car’s thick pillars and swoopy roofline created poor sightlines. Worst of all, the bro-bodybuilder B pillar blocks my vision when changing lanes–in both directions!!

    The car looks great and I really wanted to like it. But I don’t see anyone buying these for practical reasons, and that is a killer for what is supposedly a family vehicle.

    Jeep is on fire, because they sell on style and off-road abilities. They have always had the latter. Fiat has helped them bring the former back from the abyss.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      Chan, it is not surprising that Chrysler products are becoming Italian. What was once known as Chrysler is now a sub-division of Fiatsler, and Italian company.

      When Toyota and Honda and all the other foreign OEMs set up shop in America, their products became distinctively more American, along with the resulting drop in quality, reliability and durability that the Detroit Three were infamous for.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Well, except for the corrosion resistance side of things, that’s markedly improved since then! I am also thankful for the “Americanization” of foreign makes in the sense that their HVAC performance has finally caught up, my little Civic has colder A/C than I’ve ever had in any previous Honda.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Yup! There have been many improvements as a result of this cross-polination.

          I see this in my 2011 Tundra – kinda like a conglomeration of all the best things of Detroit pickup trucks incorporated into a Toyota pickup truck product, and then further improved upon with a better engine, better NVH and bigger/better floating caliper disc brakes.

          I see the Daimler influence in our 2012 Grand Cherokee – a world class SUV the likes of a Mercedes-Benz ML-series, further improved upon with the 5.7L or the 6.4L V8. Gotta love that!

          It’s too bad that the North American suppliers are still stagnated at the Detroit-3 quality level of yester decades, and still taking shortcuts, or otherwise undermining the reputation of what used to be high quality brands.

    • 0 avatar

      I actually think it was a good idea for Chrysler to move into a more niche segment with the 200. The Accord/Sonata/Camry segment is one that it could not have hoped to compete in.

      • 0 avatar
        Chan

        A 200 with the Pentastar V6 is definitely an interesting niche product. Near-premium status with compromised practicality. I could see this against the Acura TLX and maybe even the Lexus ES in a stretch.

        Still need to fix that transmission, though. Hard shifting at 5 mph in the dealer lot is not going to impress any customers.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    Why are Challenger sales UP? Because Hellcat. Halo’s work.


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