By on November 11, 2015

2016 Jeep® Renegade Trailhawk

In October 2015, not the first time, Jeep was FCA’s meal ticket in the United States.

Little more than one month ago, we discussed the fact that non-Jeep sales at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ U.S. division were unhealthy at best, particularly given the boom experienced by the industry as a whole.

Fortunately for FCA, October was different. Combined sales at Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, and Ram were up six percent last month. (The five lower-volume brands are down one percent, year-to-date.) Yet across the FCA lineup, as year-over-year sales improved by 25,065 units, Jeep accounted for 18,363 of those extra sales on its own, or 73 percent of the increased volume.

Jeep’s October 2015 results displayed 33-percent growth. The addition of an extra nameplate that wasn’t on sale in October 2014 certainly helped, but every established Jeep posted notable gains.

Even without the Renegade, Jeep sales shot up 19 percent, a greater rate of growth than that managed by the industry as a whole. The Cherokee, Compass, Grand Cherokee, Patriot, and Wrangler combined for 10,568 more new vehicle sales in the U.S. in October 2015 than they did in October 2014. Jeep’s Renegade-excluded total from October 2015 was better than the brand’s total output from all but two months in 2014 and would represent the brand’s best-ever October volume.

Jeep
October
2015
October
2014
%
Change
10 mos.
2015
10 mos.
2014
%
Change
Cherokee
17,673 15,715 12.5% 178,785 114,057 24.3%
Grand Cherokee
16,050 14,993 7.1% 157,899 151,303 4.4%
Wrangler
15,751 13,665 15.3% 173,264 147,733 17.3%
Patriot
10,191 6,524 56.2% 98,910 76,482 29.3%
Renegade
7,795 44,626
Compass
6,101 4,301 41.9% 52,987 52,219 1.5%
Total
73,561
55,198 33.3% 706,471 571,585 23.6%

But Jeep did sell Renegades in October 2015: 7,795 of them, to be precise. This was down four percent from August’s high-water mark; down two percent from September’s results. Heading into October, Automotive News estimated that Jeep dealers had a 95-day supply of Renegades, well above the 60-day industry average. With Renegade sales failing to stray too far above or below 8,000/month and Renegade supply plentiful, we can assume sales of the smallest Jeep have leveled off for the time being.

That leveling off, however, represents near category-topping volume. Among direct rivals, only the Chevrolet Trax sold more often in October. The Renegade outsold the Subaru XV Crosstrek and Buick Encore by 482 and 1,162 units, respectively. For every Honda HR-V sold in America in October, Jeep sold 1.7 Renegades. The Renegade’s fraternal Fiat twin, the 500X, produced its best month yet in October, but with only 2,178 sales – the 500X has increased its U.S. volume every month since launch – the Renegade outsold the Fiat by more than 3.5-to-1.

Subcompact Utility
October
2015
October
2014
%
Change
10 mos.
2015
10 mos.
2014
%
Change
Chevrolet Trax
8,175 51,226
Jeep Renegade
7,795 44,626
Subaru XV Crosstrek
7,313 5,372 36.1% 74,051 59,675 24.1%
Buick Encore
6,633 4,780 38.8% 55,918 41,213 35.7%
Honda HR-V
4,502 33,727
Mitsubishi Outlander Sport
3,094 2,468 25.4% 30,655 25,620 19.7%
Fiat 500X
2,178 5,634
Nissan Juke
1,804 1,768 2.0% 23,266 34,021 -31.6%
Mazda CX-3
1,382 3,420
Mini Countryman
1,219 2,035 -40.1% 13,278 19,159 -30.7%
Mini Paceman
23 183 -87.4% 1,340 1,682 -20.3%
Total
44,118
16,606 166% 337,141 181,370 85.9%

The Outlander Sport, Juke, CX-3, Countryman, Paceman? Combined, they didn’t sell as often in October as the Renegade, let alone the Trax.

Despite the attention they receive, subcompact utilities continue to form a small percentage of the overall market. The Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, and Nissan Rogue – America’s three top-selling SUVs/CUVs in October – were nearly twice as common as the whole subcompact group last month. Jeep’s own Cherokee, America’s seventh-best-selling utility vehicle this year, sold twice as often as the Renegade in October.

But what makes the subcompact segment noteworthy is its rate of expansion. True, the rapid growth won’t continue unabated. Moreover, the rapid growth is fuelled largely by the addition of new nameplates – in October 2014, the Trax, Renegade, HR-V, 500X, and CX-3 weren’t yet available. Yet the sales figures clearly suggest that the market will tolerate smaller and smaller vehicles with available all-wheel-drive, slightly elevated ride height, and SUV styling cues.

Jeep TTAC sales chart

Say what you will about the little Jeep’s tinniness, its dreadful upgrade powertrain, poor ride quality, and fiddly optional roof, consumers sense a degree of authenticity in the Renegade. Perhaps they’ve seen the videos, perhaps they trust the brand. No matter how much grey cladding is added to the wheelarches of a Mazda CX-3, the Mazda will have to be twice the on-road partner that the Renegade is just to sell half as often.

The Jeep Renegade isn’t burdened by a lack of consumer belief. Instead, consumers seem to have enough faith in Jeep for the brand to overcome poor reliability ratings; enough faith for the Renegade to overcome negative reviews.

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.

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24 Comments on “Jeep Carries FCA Again, Renegade Near Top Of Subcompact Crossover Heap...”


  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Free consumer tips:

    -Don’t get black wheels on your Grand Cherokee. It looks rubbish and cheap.
    -Don’t buy a chintzy sports-brougham Renegade, just get something else! A leftover Patriot perhaps.

    • 0 avatar
      caltemus

      The patriot, at least the rental I had, is truly a hateful place to be. I’ve used playskool kitchens with higher quality materials

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I’m not sure the Renegade is much better, honestly. I’ve been in a Compass and it was awful too. But at least it was a little honest and simple. The Renegade is just so_decked_out in trendy.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I secretly want to get a Freedom Drive II equipped Patriot Latitude and swap over some half-decent all terrain tires and take it wheeling. I hated them when they came out but now I see the Patriot as a useful little utilitarian rig. Sort of a cut-rate Subaru. In my mind it plays in the “dirt cheap small AWD CUV” league occupied by the Outlander Sport and Rogue Select.

          The patriot’s problem is that with the FDII package, fuel economy becomes a BOF SUV-like 21mpg combined, in a tiny crossover!! Blame the shortened gearing on the optional offroad package. Since 2014(?) A 6spd automatic has been available on simpler AWD variants. I’ve driven the CVT model and it is fairly typical in terms of refinement and performance of what I’d call a “gen 1” CVT. A modern Honda or Subaru is better, but I find the one in the Patriot tolerable. Some of the NVH issues stem from the course 2.4L engine.

          • 0 avatar
            davefromcalgary

            I’d take a fully loaded Patriot hands down. Its extremely aesthetically pleasing, and while the drive train is underwhelming, the 2.4L has proven durable and has one of the better slip’n’grip transverse AWD system, having the ability to lock the center at low speeds. The FD2 models are really decent for the class.

            I hate that the fugly Renegade has replaced the nice looking Patriot.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            I had a Patriot for a while and I ended up liking it for what it was. 2.4L, 4×4 and 5 speed manual. 17″ aluminum wheels with A/T tires, it was surprisingly good off-road. Always averaged 23 mpg in my mixed drive.

        • 0 avatar
          davefromcalgary

          “Honest and simple”

          Thats why I like the Patriot.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Apparently FDII package has this somewhat less than refined engine/CVT combo spinning at 2800rpm at 60 mph… no thank you! That explains the extremely poor 23 mpg highway rating.

            It’s too bad, the FDII offroad package is the only one that gets skid plates and Jeep’s very competent “BLD” offroad simulated limited slip differentials (individual braking of wheels that are spinning to move power across the axle). Folks on the forum complain that 1st gear on the 5spd models is too high for technical offroad as well. Maybe Jeep should have considered a “Super Low” gear below 1st like Honda used in the old RT4wd Civic Wagons. Or for the 6spd automatic just include the BLD system, hell it’s all programming at that point using existing ABS hardware.

            So even though I’d pick one of these FDII patriots for offroad work over a Subaru, their inferior fuel economy, powertrain smoothness, and smaller cargo capacity ultimately makes them worse vehicles overall. Comparing the Patriot and Renegade is also interesting. Patriot wins in cargo space and I’d argue reliability, not to mention value. Renegade undoubtedly is a more refined vehicle to drive on the highway.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Not crazy about the Renegade but I’m gung ho for the league it plays in and I celebrate its growth.

    Old people want these things ’cause they’re tall but still easily fit into garages and parking places while accommodating plenty of groceries for those who no longer need to haul anything else.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “No matter how much grey cladding is added to the wheelarches of a Mazda CX-3, the Mazda will have to be twice the on-road partner that the Renegade is just to sell half as often.”

    That is The Truth About Subcompact Crossover Cars.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      And the CX3 may well be twice the on road partner the Renegade is.

      But I’m not paying upwards of thirty grand for a glorified Mazda 2 (or Scion whatever-it-is).

  • avatar
    Speed3

    Patriot and Compass combined sold 16,292 last month. What happens when the “Compatriot” replacement (long wheel base Renegade) is released in a year or so? I don’t see Renegade and Compatriot sales being that much more than the current Patriot and Compass, which are at the end of their life cycle anyway.

    Basically, I think Jeep has about maxed out their sub-compact/compact CUV volume. The growth will need to come from somewhere else…enter Grand Wagoneer, Wrangler Truck, etc.

    Heck, if FCA actually does make a RAM Suburban, why NOT make a Jeep variation. The full-size GM SUVs come in so many sizes, trim packages, etc you would think FCA might as well make both a RAM and Jeep version.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I really think they will keep the branding separate. The GW will never have a larger alternative Jeep version of RAM Suburban – there would be too many sales toes stepped on. I think they’re close to brand saturation already, as you mentioned. They have to expand their model lines if they want more share.

      And they’ve got to be very careful how they do it, especially pitching the GW as premium product with a $70K+ price.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    A whole new generation falls for the looks of a vehicle but gets suckered by Fiat (and Chrysler) unreliability.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I argue the unreliability, as I own both a Jeep and a Fiat. I may not like some of the Chrysler dealerships (very predatory) but the vehicles themselves on the average seem very good as far as reliability. (With exceptions due to the way Daimler abused Chrysler.)

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Take a look at what’s happening with Cherokee 9 speeds and get back to me. Endless reflashes, but many folks are on their second or even third transmissions. One is left to wonder whether the same issue afflicts the Renegade 9 speed.

        I briefly looked at newer Grand Cherokees but a quick look at owner forums turned me off of them completely. Transmission and electrical issues are many, and of course anyone with the Quadralift air suspension is now kicking themselves for it.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          Do you have evidence of all these 9-speed issues? Strangely, I’ve not heard of “endless reflashes” after the first few months from introduction. I’ve also not heard of ANY transmission replacements, even from sites that focus on Chrysler/Jeep products that tend not to pull any punches when it comes to reporting issues.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    I thought the HR-V was going to destroy the Trax and Encore.

    Don’t understand why the Subaru XV Crosstrek and the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport are on this list.

    • 0 avatar
      rdclark

      While the Crosstrek is not based on a subcompact platform and is larger in all dimensions than any of these other cars, the question is: what other vehicles is the Crosstrek cross-shopped with? Does it compete with a CR-V? Then you’d buy a Forester if you want a Subaru. Does it compete with the HR-V? Then you’d buy a Crosstrek.

      The other makers could do what Subaru does and build a smaller CUV based on their compact platform. What would a lifted AWD Scion iM be like? How about that treatment on an Elantra GT? That only Subaru chose to go this route (and already had the AWD compact platform) is no reason to penalize them.

    • 0 avatar

      Isn’t Renegade longer than Outlander Sport?

    • 0 avatar
      Timothy Cain

      Re: XV, I’d direct you to this comment from the last time we covered these vehicles. (https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/09/subcompact-crossover-sales-doubled-august-subaru-jeep-lead/#comment-6383930)

      Re: Outlander Sport, it’s three inches longer than Renegade, not as wide, not as tall. Passenger volume is slightly smaller in Mitsu, max. cargo volume is down slightly compared with Renegade, as well. Price range very similar.

      Perhaps you’re mixing up Outlander and Outlander Sport? In Canada, Outlander Sport is RVR, hence no mix-up.

      HR-V supply is still very limited.

  • avatar
    agroal

    Like the older advertisement went: Only In A Jeep. The first time I ever made love was in a Jeep. I was all alone at the time. Thank you, you’ve been a great crowd. I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Say what you want about the Renegade; it’s clearly a polarizing model. All I know right now is that unless I see a true Jeep pickup truck before the middle of 2017, I will be replacing my ’08 Wrangler with a Renegade.

  • avatar
    LectroByte

    The 500L didn’t make the list but the Renegade is crushing it? Somewhere in FCA land, they’re laughing so hard they peed their pants.


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