By on June 27, 2016

Compass Patriot Replacement Poster, Image: © 2016 The Truth About Cars

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ fourth-quarter reveal of Jeep’s replacement for the Compass and Patriot comes after mountains of late-in-life success for the small SUV duo.

In Jeep’s U.S. home market, sales of the Compass — known as one of The Worst Cars Today since way back in 2006 — soared to an all-time record high of 66,698 units in calendar year 2015. Through the first five months of 2016, Compass sales are up 72 percent, a gain of 16,411 sales for Jeep’s lowest-volume model.

The Patriot, meanwhile, topped the list of TTAC’s The Worst Cars Today in 2016, sales of the Patriot also having shot up to record levels of 118,464 units in 2015. Year-over-year, U.S. Patriot sales through the first five months of 2016 grew 4 percent to 52,067 units. Combined, the Dodge Caliber-based tandem essentially produce one-quarter of Jeep’s sales in the brand’s home market, outselling every other individual Jeep nameplate.

Against this backdrop of outrageous success for two critically panned trucklets with seven-slot grilles, a single Jeep candidate will step in to fill their shoes at a Brazilian debut later this year. Jeep already has a subcompact SUV: the Renegade. Jeep already has a small and affordable off-roader: the non-Unlimited Wrangler. Jeep already has an entry to challenge America’s leading crossovers: the Cherokee.

Can Jeep find space in tight quarters for yet another small SUV? If not, we’re about to see the first Jeep flop since the Commander arrived in 2005.

2014 Jeep Compass Limited, Image: Jeep

Yet Jeep has already proven the brand can find high-volume niches inside its SUV-only lineup. Who’d have thought the Compass and Patriot would rapidly grow their sales while Jeep contributed 42,549 Renegade sales to the cute-ute craze in early 2016?

Fleet sales are undoubtedly a factor, though FCA spokesperson Ralph Kisiel told TTAC, “The Jeep Compass, in particular, has been performing well this year on the retail level.”

Meanwhile, a non-FCA industry source confirmed with TTAC that the Patriot derives an above-FCA-average percentage of its volume from retail sales.

Regardless of the source of the buyer — daily rental fleets or individual consumers — Jeep carved out continually available space for the antiquated Compass and Patriot by amplifying the affordability quotient. The least costly all-wheel-drive 2016 Jeep Compass is priced from $22,690, but standard discounts drop the price to $22,190 and Jeep further incentivizes with 1.9-percent financing over seven years. Edmunds.com’s pricing tools say a typical Compass Sport customer pays 6-percent below sticker. The more popular Patriot’s most expensive all-wheel-drive trim level starts at just $27,635, but with $2,500 in rebates, the price falls to $25,980. There are nine less costly Patriot variants.

But can a new Jeep entry be so inexpensive? The Patriot and Compass are easily discountable 10-year-olds, moneymakers with costs that have long since been paid for.

2014 Jeep Patriot, Image: FCA

Moreover, we’ve seen FCA fail at replacing a Mitsubishi-related PM/MK-platform vehicle in the recent past.

Say what you will about the Dodge Caliber — no, really, we want to hear you say it — but the Chrysler Group managed to sell 277,461 Calibers in America in its first three years on the market, 2006 through 2008. Its successor — the Dodge Dart about which FCA boss Sergio Marchionne once said, “If you’re a serious carmaker and you can’t make it in this segment, you’re doomed” — is quite literally doomed. FCA won’t redevelop a Dart successor, recognizing apparently that they can’t make it in this segment. Fewer than 235,000 Darts were sold in America in its first full three years, an even worse sales performance than what the dreaded and dreadful Caliber achieved. FCA is now selling barely more than 5,000 Darts per month in the United States, well below the Caliber’s 8,400/month pace at its peak.

As already mentioned, Jeep has been known to flub a new vehicle launch. The ghastly Commander didn’t offer the requisite third-row space of a big SUV, was terrible to look at, and did 13 miles per gallon in the city (Hemi 4×4) after a fuel price spike when consumers were veering away from light trucks and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid travelled twice as far on a gallon of fuel. U.S. Commander volume tumbled 69-percent between 2006 and 2008.

We live in a new age now, however, an age in which the 2014 Cherokee fended off styling criticism to become the best-selling model at America’s top seller of SUVs and crossovers.

And it’s that fact, the realization that Jeep is operating in a market and an era in which SUVs/crossovers now generate nearly 4 in 10 U.S. new vehicle sales as the only non-luxury SUV-only brand, that solidifies the ComPatriot successor’s likelihood of victory.

Can a Jeep flop? Sure, it’s possible. But can a new, small, affordable Jeep flop in this market at this time? Almost certainly not. What’s past is prologue. We’re not looking for Jeep guidance from polls with a high margin of error, a small sampling size, and skewed demographics. These are results.

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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78 Comments on “Can Jeep Flip Flop? Will The American Consumer Continue To Vote For A Compass/Patriot Successor?...”


  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Can FCA make a reliable Jeep?

    Or, put another way, can they make a real Jeep Jeep?

    I was warned away by a sales guy for a Tier 1 supplier to FCA from buying any of these micro Jeeps after he told me the horror stories of these Fiat-sourced architectures. The dead actor was just icing on the cake. When the Fiat 500L manual parking brake goes horribly wrong, then the Fiat 500X electronic parking brake goes even more spectacularly wrong, and then the whiz-bang transmission kills the guy I liked from Star Trek – I question how they are a serious car maker anymore.

    The ghost of lost pride from Kenosha screams out – Willys, Save Me! Make me a Jeep Jeep! One that is as reliable as a pack mule and slightly more fun!

    • 0 avatar

      And yet none of it matters to the faithful. It’s like various British cars of years past. The true believers view these nameplates as so wrapped in mythos that one should just shrug and accept the good with the bad.

    • 0 avatar
      iNeon

      Are you citing actual “horrible” “spectacular” failures and provable culpability in the death of the Star Trek actor, or are you just vomiting words that seem related to the topic-at-hand?

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        He’s just ranting, confusing pre-FCA Jeeps with FCA Fiats, hinting at “spectacular” faults that nobody else knows about.

        Meanwhile, Jeep was the most improved brand in JD Power’s new car survey. They also did well in this Spring’s 3-year survey.

        • 0 avatar
          MrGreenMan

          I went to go check out a Fiat 500X. I was told – go look up the electronic parking brake. The Star Trek one was a joke, but the other remarks were from data.

          I was told to look up the problem with the manual parking brake on the Fiat 500L.

          I conclude that – the more Fiat and the less Chrysler these things become – the less they can actually make a car.

          I was told, and the forums suggest, that this is considered an actual problem.

          But, anyway, iNeon, Heavy Handle, live in the dream and wonder why FCA is a bit player now begging PSA to join them in the life raft straight to perdition. I wanted to buy the vehicle, but it’s like the 2.7 all over again – what should have been a real nice car has some key component that they cannot make correctly. You Mopar guys are real dead enders.

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            As soon as you drop the pretense that good cars are faultless– you’ll start to see this as it actually is.

            I work for Toyota and bought this Dart to replace a PT Cruiser– that replaced a neon(I know, I know) and will ask you to please stop telling the world that my automotive experience has been different than it actually was.

            You don’t need to save the world from Mopar.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            MGM, I would suggest you ignore reviews of the sorts you were reading as any more I have found that such negative reviews are often payola, trying to drive customers away from anything Fiat. You can’t guarantee that even half the people who CLAIM to own a Fiat and presenting such supposed problems DO own a Fiat of any kind. Worse, many of them are me, too, arguments or third party of the sort that, “My friend owns a Fiat and he says this,” or “My sister says her hairdresser’s friend…” Well, you get the point.

            Are there problems? Well, any car can have problems, no matter the manufacturer. My personal experience with the Fiat brand and corporate Fiat has been great. My experience with FCA dealerships and the Chrysler Group/Daimler-Chrysler before them has been abysmal; some of the most abusive and money-grubbing service shops in existence–maybe second only to Ford (really, $700 for a timing chain replacement on a 302W in 1985? I had a near-pristine 350W dropped under the hood entire for the same price. Oh, that 302W only had 70K miles on it at the time. I’ve got that on my Wrangler’s 3.8 and it’s still going strong.

            So if you ask me, a lot of the panning of FCA products is blown far out of proportion to the number of cars on the road. It’s like those three battery fires in the Tesla Model S that was so overblown you’d think every single one of them torched. Even the Ford F-150 had enough engine fires that they had to send out a recall while we’ve heard of no more battery fires while the car was rolling (and only one at a Supercharger where it was later discovered that the system had been tampered with.)

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      “Reliability” and “Jeep” are terms that historically didn’t often go together. The Willys scout-cars had the Go-Devil engine, yes, but decontented of various procedures to ensure long life – for cost savings. Which made sense since the life of an MB was typically measured in months.

      Anyone remember the Willys Motors and Kaiser Jeep years? The Tornado OHC engine…a great idea that got cost-cutted to where it didn’t work. Which, standing back, was to be expected – take a thirty-year-old Continental Engine Co. design, and graft an aluminum OHC lid onto it. What could go wrong?

      AMC. In its last years, AMC apparently saved money by letting quality-control inspectors go. While the design of their hardware was robust, if obsolete, assembly-line translation, especially of Toledo Jeeps, was execrable.

      It was only in the Chrysler era that the total quality gestalt came together. Daimler managed to fark that up by decontenting EVERYTHING, although assembly-line quality did remain.

      So a Jeep that’s junk rolling out of the factory is just a hat-tip to time-honored traditions. The question needs be asked: WHY are these things SELLING?

      • 0 avatar

        This! Jeeps have never been known as reliable (durable yes particularly the XJ). That has never stopped or slowed sales before and it won’t now. You can sell cars on reliability, style or price, some times it doesn’t matter which.

        • 0 avatar
          DweezilSFV

          Plus two. Even 60s/70s era CR data featured black dots in major systems. That has continued for decades. It’s just one metric, but the consistency over so many years is pretty amazing.

          That said, the Patriot/Compass have had average reliability rates for quite awhile.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        Add to that the 70’s-80’s AMC era trouble prone Quadra Trac that was in Wagoneer’s and Cherokee’s.

        I know plenty of people have had great experiences with XJ Cherokee’s and YJ Wranglers. Over 300k out of each with barely an issue with normal maintenance.

    • 0 avatar
      zerofoo

      To be fair, the WK/WK2 architecture predates FCA.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Can FCA make anything reliable?Glenn Lazarus an Australian Federal Senator, has been calling for Lemon Laws to be introduced into Australia. Why the call? FCA. He is a former Rugby League front row forward, who has been pretty effective as a Senator. A News paper shot showed him crushing a fairly new Chrysler with a WW2 Centurion Tank
      http://www.motoring.com.au/senator-glenn-lazarus-calls-for-lemon-laws-102907/

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      None of the Jeeps, ever, were all that reliable. Reliable as a pack mule? Absolutely! A hard-headed, balky, go when it wants to go, pack mule. But when it wanted to go, nothing on God’s green Earth would stop it, either. Every Jeep owner has their story about how their machine let them down spectacularly; but a true Jeep owner simply doesn’t care because that Jeep did things for them no other vehicle has ever done. It has taken them places they would have never thought of going and let them see things almost no other vehicle can even reach… and stay long enough to appreciate it.

      I couldn’t care less what some Tier 1 salesperson has to say. Fiat 500L manual parking brake issue? I had a manual parking brake issue in my ’08 Wrangler that makes that one look like nothing worse than a blown tail lamp. But I still own and drive that Wrangler. I could hardly care less about the Fiat 500x electronic parking brake, considering my Wrangler went absolutely insane when I went to lock it with the key fob. Do I blame Jeep? No. I blame the dealership that chose to consistently treat the symptom and not even try to find the cause. I had to bypass the service consultant entirely and talk to the technician working on it as the only symptom he was told was how when I pushed the unlock button, every door BUT the driver’s door would unlock on the first click. That design, by the way, came when Daimler essentially owned the company. My Fiat 500 is a rock by comparison.

      My next car or truck? VERY likely to be another Jeep as I need to reduce my fleet to two vehicles and yet all three serve different purposes and can’t really be cross-utilized all that well. One 4×4, one pickup truck and one economy car (that’s also fun as all heck!) Chevy? No. Full sized is massively too large and has vibration issues practically off the lot. Mid-sized is still too large; equivalent to 25-year-old full sized. Ram? Too big. Ford? Wouldn’t buy one if my life depended on it. (Ford’s reputation for me makes my Wrangler look factory fresh; one car costing as much each month in repairs as a new car payment at a time when I couldn’t, according to the bank, afford a new car payment. Or even a used-car one. Foreign? Possible, but not too likely. I’ve never been a fan of any of the Japanese cars, though their small trucks were great! Note I said SMALL trucks.

      So. I’m apparently 18 months out from buying a new 4×4 truck… built by Jeep. Unless, that is, the Ram 700 shows up sooner.

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        I can authoritatively state that Wrangler reliability is better than it ever has been, but I still would not consider it as best-in-class reliability (which is likely the 4Runner when averaged out). I have had a couple minor problems on the most recent Wrangler, but nothing that left me stranded on the side of the road. So its more reliable than a Rover, which is good.

        As for the Grand Cherokee, I have been hearing about average on reliability figures, less so for the plain Cherokee – mostly due to transmission issues on the 9-speed abomination. Most of those have been fixed by now. The Acura MDX uses the same transmission, the Cherokee would be the bellwether for future trans reliability.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        “Mid-sized is still too large; equivalent to 25-year-old full sized.”

        Oh boy, here we go again. I hope you mean in capacities and not outward dimensions.

    • 0 avatar

      Most Jeeps are quite reliable, especially Wrangler. You can look it up at TrueDelta. I know, I had the same stupid preconceptions that arise from Consumer Reports. But Michael Karesh has set me straight. Or, actually, it started with a friend who goes through a new Jeep every 3 years. He’s not one of those doing “builds”, he just drives them. And he told me that in his experience the reliability of Jeeps was continuously improved in the last 30 years, to the point where there’s little to choose between Wrangler and FJ. That prompted me to look at the actual data and the rest is history.

  • avatar

    Does the Wrangler really count as “affordable”? I mean, yes, you can get it with a manual and no options for $24,000, but how many really get ordered that way?

    The Wrangler is a lifestyle vehicle. If you are a serious off-roader or want to pretend to be one, there really isn’t any competition. But someone who is looking for a practical CUV is not going to consider a 2 door truck with a plastic roof.

    • 0 avatar

      The Wrangler should exist forever, for being so pure at what it does. I can respect it even if I’d never buy one. But it’s also one of the most overpriced vehicles of all time.

    • 0 avatar
      SSJeep

      People dont buy practical if they dont have to. The Wrangler is one of the last remaining true small body-on-frame trucks. It is equally adept at urban pothole and snow duty as it is off road. And the kids love them – an Unlimited can haul 4 passengers and their luggage comfortably, and go off the beaten path once they get there… And tow a fishing boat along for the ride. No, a Wrangler isnt perfect, but it is very capable and adaptable. Try doing the same with any CUV.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “an Unlimited can haul 4 passengers and their luggage comfortably”

        Have you tried to sit in the back seat of an Unlimited? Uncomfortably upright, although the aftermarket apparently has a solution. Likewise the rollbars intrude quite a bit into interior space. Payload is also very low (soft tall springs to maximize articulation), limiting the people+cargo+ towing quotient.

        It’d be neat to see a Wrangler hardtop wagon IMO, a return to the XJ Cherokee concept.

        • 0 avatar
          SSJeep

          I used washers to add a slight incline to the rear seat. It helped tremendously. There is an article on one of the XJ forums on how to do it.

          Total max payload and towing (with the tow package – important) is 1100lbs in the cab and 3500 behind it on a hitch.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I’m not so certain about that ‘limited interior space, though I admit I never carry passengers AND luggage in the rear, it’s either/or and the Unlimited can carry a decent amount. Even with the seats up you can carry as much as pretty much any similarly-sized crossover/SUV when loaded efficiently. Of course, you may need a cargo net to keep it from flying around. Good thing there’s plenty of places to hook the bungees around the roll cage.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    The dead actor accident was a ZF sourced part.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      So? Do automakers avoid all responsibility for their product, so long as it involves a vendor-sourced part? Isn’t every single part on a car either bought from a vendor or manufactured from materials sourced from vendors?

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        Do the persons that purchase these vehicles have no responsibility to learn to operate them fully/properly?

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        Yes.

        That is common in the rail industry, where GM, which had the ability to manufacture EVERY part of their EMD locomotives, farmed out safety glass, heaters, switches, other small component parts. I always believed that the reason was to provide liability cover.

        It’s natural human nature and good sense. Find ways to avoid being hurt legally, especially if it’s due to lawyers and judges who have little grasp of what they’re asserting.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I can not write Jeep off, I hated the new ones , cherokee and renegade but give them credit they sell, The wrangler is great for what it is, even if 99% do not use it for that.I like the GC but to damm pricy and I do not trust FCA to make a good long lasting product. I am sure they can squeeze another cut in the lineup. Figures I have seen a few commanders around and did not know a lot about them, I like them , they look like a real Jeep, figures they were a sales flop.It seems Jeep buyers will hand over what ever cash they have for their brand.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      seth1065,
      I even believe the Wrangler has changed for the worse. In an attempt to appease the “hairdresser” set and make the Wrangler a pretty vehicle it has gained sales for the blacktop driving trend setters, whilst removing the more hardcore off roaders.

      The Compass and Patriot here in Australia are a flop. Initial sales were promising, but then the usual Chrysler and Fiat reliability issues arose.

      FCA is using the Jeep brand name for the wrong reasons.

      Jeep should only consist of the following vehicles;
      1. A Wrangler (real and not plasticky)
      2. A LWB Wrangler cab/chassis/pickup
      3. A midsize Wrangler 4 door on a mid length wheelbase.
      5. A small or miniature Wrangler with a 1.6. For developing nations as well,
      6. A full size Jeep 4 door wagon and LWB cab/chassis/pickup
      7. Have one midsize 4 door SUV, ie, The Grand Cherokee.

      No Jeep should ever be sold without 4×4 with hi and lo range.

      Ram should take over the more “luxurious” commercials, ie, Ram midsizer, Ram 1500, 2500, 3500 and vans, etc.

      Much could be shared between Ram and Jeep. These are the two brands that FCA needs to develop for the future of FCA.

      Ram based SUV on all BOF pickups.

      FCA need to look at how they are producing their vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        SSJeep

        Disagreed here, Big Al. The current iteration of the Wrangler Rubicon is the single best off-road ready Wrangler ever produced by Jeep. And the highway version (Sahara, Islander, and similar) have been around since the mid ’80s.

        I think you would be very hard pressed to find anyone that thinks the older YJ and TJ interiors are better or more functional than the XJ – off road or on.

        That said, off-road enthusiasts will typically pick up a Sport version lightly used and mod it out as they see fit. Rubicon is a wealthy adventurers rig.

        As for making a “prettier” Wrangler, well, they have looked the same since 1986. Some would argue since WWII, although I wont go that far.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I think there is room at the small end of Jeeps lineup for another CUV. Back in the day we all wondered why Jeep made both the Patriot and the Compass off the same platform at similar price points. They did because some people prefer the outdoors SUV look, some people prefer the station wagon CUV look. The new model looks like it is going for the CUV look, so it will be a good compliment to the Renegades more rugged styling.

  • avatar
    Lorenzo

    One model to replace two? Somebody is forgetting the Compass was the swoopy version, while the Patriot had traditional squared off Jeep lines. The reason was to tap into two markets. If the Cherokee is any indication, the replacement will be more swoopy than squared off – but the Patriot outsells the Compass.

    The bottom line is that the Patriot & Compass inventory on dealer lots has to be pared to miniscule numbers before the replacement, likelier higher priced, arrives. Otherwise sales of the replacement Jeep are going to take it in the shorts, to coin a phrase.

  • avatar

    I enjoyed reading this

  • avatar
    RS

    If FCA wants to increase Chrysler 200 sales numbers, it should lobby TTAC’s B&B to put it at the top of “TTAC’s The Worst Cars Today” list…

  • avatar
    tjh8402

    re: the Dart vs Caliber – how many sales were lost on the Dart due to a lack of a hatchback model? Yeah I know others like the Cruze, Civic, and Corolla did fine without hatchs (although Toyota did include Matrix sales with the Corolla). But, many of the other segment entrants do offer them (Forte, Mazda, Elantra, Focus, Lancer, Impreza), and for some small car buyers, a hatchback is a non negotiable (likely far more than those for whom a sedan is a non negotiable). The sales difference between the Caliber and Dart is only like 12k/year over 3 years, or roughly 10%. I bet the take rate on most manufacturers hatchbacks is greater than 10%. I’m only a sample size of one, but I ultimately crossed the Dart off my shopping list due to the lack of a liftback variant.

    As far as the Jeeps go, I’m trying to understand their appeal. The Renegade and Cherokee both seem like dynamically superior vehicles. Is it size? Do they offer Cherokee rivaling space at Renegade prices?

    • 0 avatar
      RS

      Offering the Dart as a hatchback may have helped a great deal and helped to differentiate themselves in the market. SUV’s, especially the small ones are the ultimate hatch back. More utility and a better seating position than small sedans. Given that the average new car buyer is over 50 years old these days, it makes sense that SUV’s are attracting sales.

      IMO, Chrysler let the designers go overboard on the Dart and 200. Too much style over utility/ergonomics. Hopefully the new Compass will not go overboard. If it looks like a downsized GC, it will sell well.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        The Dart failed for many reasons.

        It was a sedan launched into a crossover market, and coming from a brand that wasn’t known for small sedans (the Neon had been gone for most of a decade).

        They didn’t offer an automatic for the first 6 months. They should have just waited.

        They initially had 3 motors with very similar numbers. They also had at least 4 trim levels. That guaranteed that you wouldn’t find the combination you wanted. It didn’t help that the cars in the brochure looked nothing like the “diesel gray interior” cars in dealerships.

        They also equipped-it “old school.” They should have made the rear light bar standard. They shouldn’t have gone with grey fabric and stitched vinyl interiors. The shouldn’t have forced you to go to the top spec to get basic options.

        They may have fixed some of these issues by now, but I doubt dealers are ordering any more Darts than they absolutely have to.

      • 0 avatar
        tjh8402

        While SUV’s are certainly winning the market, I have to disagree with you that they are the ultimate hatchback. They are the compromised hatchback. They have the inferior seating position, no better utility, worse mpg, and worse driving dynamics. It’s why I never gave any CUV any consideration. If I can’t have an enjoyable practical car to drive, I’d rather just get a Prius than a compromised uninspiring blob. At least the Prius will save me a bunch of $ I can spend on alternative entertainment.

        • 0 avatar
          VoGo

          A great car can overcome a botched launch. The Dart does not fall into this category.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          inferior seating position -> subjective, I like the chair position given a choice.

          no better utility -> false, most CUVs and SUVs have taller cargo spaces than the equivalent hatchback or wagon

          worse mpg-> mitigated to the point of being irrelevant with the current breed compact CUVs getting 30+ mpg highway, also: cheap gas

          worse driving dynamics-> I’ll agree here. Undeniably taller center of gravity. To combat this and maintain handling like a sedan, many (looking at you Rav4) stiffen the suspension and as a consequence ruin the ride. I’d rather just take the tippy handling and a softer ride. Supposedly the Rogue is fairly compliant.

          let me add that the increased ground clearance can be appreciated by most folks even when pulling up to a curb or driving over speed bumps, considering how low to the ground regular sedans have gotten.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m guessing the appeal is price. Chrysler is offering $3000 – $3750 on the hood of Patriots and Compasses, plus whatever the dealer is willing to knock off. If you just need a cheap compact CUV, that’s a pretty good deal. Much like the Avenger’s sales bump at the end, even a cheap “bad” new car is still loads better than a lot of used cars, or whatever someone is driving now.

    • 0 avatar

      Caliber was also available as a cheap AWD.

  • avatar
    LXbuilder

    IMO the Dart suffered a badly botched launch with no automatic transmission even available at the beginning, and poor marketing. Add to that the previous Caliper ownership experience likely chasing previous small Mopar customers away in droves.
    Also Dart is a nice car that is only middle of the road competitive in it’s segment. After Caliper, Dodge needed something special not middle of the road.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    In Las Vegas, the Patriot is the second-lowest priced new vehicle you can buy. Towbin Jeep (anybody remember the “King of Cars” reality show?) advertises a new Patriot, with zero options except a/c, for $12,900.

    (Yes, air conditioning is still optional on these!)

    To the uninitiated, this looks like a heckuva bargain compared to the lowest-priced new car, a Nissan Versa sedan, advertised for $950 less.

    I’m not gonna lie. I was even tempted by a Patriot when I was shopping. I was just too scared of the Patriot’s reputation.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Extended warranty should put one around 15. This really is a steal if you want a FWD stick and don’t mind the risk of a Mitsu GS, er “Jeep”.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah it will be tough to keep the pricing going. That’s what sells these your buying a brand “jeep” with decent equity for rock bottom pricing. Even without the brand the patriot is a solid value for money.

      • 0 avatar
        iNeon

        No one has ever bought a new Patriot(even without a/c) for $12,900. Please don’t propagate such pricing– people will actually believe you.

        That price includes incentives that don’t exist and is an outright lie.

        • 0 avatar

          True car says I can get one here in CT FWD w/AC for $14,150

        • 0 avatar
          eggsalad

          Hey man, I’m not a liar. If you want to call me a propagator, that’s fine.

          I have no idea what Towbin would charge a person to buy the car. I just read websites.

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            That type of advertisement isn’t to be believed and it isn’t personal. I apologize. None of it may even relate, but I’m in a typing mood–

            These advertisements make my days very long, and they make the buying public distrustful of myself and those like me. I’m an automotive internet agent and have to explain this all day long :/

        • 0 avatar
          jpolicke

          To get to that number they factor in every rebate possible: college grad, military, left handed, you name it. It’s probably technically impossible to qualify for that price.

          • 0 avatar
            iNeon

            Dealers will usually include Realtor, Farm Bureau, College Grad, Military, Loyalty and Conquest to get the bait numbers.

            FCA really are offering huge discounts on these. They should be selling very well right now! I didn’t realize they were so cheap!

    • 0 avatar

      But will the Blue Genie sell it to me?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Maybe it’s time to start ignoring obsolete reputations, hmmm eggy?

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Patriots still look modern and relevant with a 10 year old design, the new nose on the Compass has me confusing them at a glance with GCs (its only redeeming feature IMO). I’m no Chrysler fan but the Patriot just plain speaks to me. Both the higher Trim Latitudes with the 5 spoke alloys wheels and factory 1 inch lift, and the base-trim cars with steel wheels.

  • avatar
    SavageATL

    The Compass and Patriot are advertised online in Atlanta for 14-15K. For a new car. For something which isn’t as dorky looking as a Chevy Sonic or Mitsubishi Mirage and won’t have been an abused Rental.

    What is better at the price? You can’t even get a used Civic for that price unless it’s several years old with fairly high mileage. For 14K the same dealer has a 2012 fusion with 30K miles, which is likely to have been an abused rental and is 4 years old. New cars in that range are bottom feeder Korean Hatchback clown car looking things.

    Marchionne is doing whatever is necessary to prop up Jeep sales to try to sell Jeep and throw away Chrysler and Dodge. I’m a little surprised Honda or Hyundai/Kia hasn’t been interested in Jeep/Ram as they are weak in those segments and strong where FCA isn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      If I were interested in buying another Jeep product, the only one I would buy today would be the WK2 Grand Cherokee, in any trim and with any engine.

      We handed over our 2012 Overland Summit and 2012 SRT8 to my grand daughter when she got married in June 2015, and both GCs had served us very well for more than 85K miles each. They continue to serve my grand daughter and her new husband as daily drivers.

      They’re not exactly “trouble-free” in the truest sense of the word, but whatever ails them can usefully be cured by the owner/driver – such as EHPS fluid disappearing, plastic parts falling off (just glue them back on with some sticky stuff), TPMS giving false readings (manually check your tire pressure), no battery-status/charging indicator, etc. Nit noy schit.

      Once a dealer reflashes the EMC EEPROM with firmware that matches your driving style and altitude, you’re good-to-go for a long time.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Sergio still has hopes of merging FCA with somebody. That’s the biggest payoff for the Agnelli family owners and Sergio’s golden parachute. He’d really rather not part out FCA. Chrysler/Dodge won’t fetch much, and after the sale of Ram/Jeep and the spinoff of Maserati/Alfa, there will still be Fiat left over, probably the European version of chapter 7 liquidation. The bond and stock holders will eat the big enchilada, since the debt is much larger than the asset values. A merger allows the Agnellis and Sergio to walk away with clean hands.

      • 0 avatar
        highdesertcat

        Good analysis, and all true.

        When you get right down to the nitty gritty, in the worst case Fiat will be reduced to where it was before Fiat took over Chrysler.

  • avatar
    Banger

    “The Worst Cars Today,” huh?

    I seem to remember the abbreviation being slightly, err, less-safe-for-work than “TWCT.”

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      That’s “Ten Worst Automobiles Today”, Banger, you’re correct. But then the author is from “Good Cars/Bad Cars” not the TTAC regular staff writers.

  • avatar
    SP

    “We’re not looking for Jeep guidance from polls with a high margin of error, a small sampling size, and skewed demographics.”

    Are we to understand, then, that comments on this article are not desired?

  • avatar
    TMA1

    Where are the Calibers of yesteryear?

    Nearly 300K sold in 3 years, and I haven’t seen one on the road in a long time.

  • avatar
    gearhead77

    I had a Patriot as a rental that I drove from Durango CO to the 4 corners area and back a few years ago. It was, on the merits of being a tall car, good enough. It was quiet until the 2.4 needed to work, then it was noisy. A general lack of refinement permeated the vehicle.

    But I took a few cliche pictures of it near the entrance to the monument area and damned if it didn’t look the “rugged”part. And most people who buy these, let alone any small crossover, want it to look the part. Look, I have a Jeep! Whatever that means to some folks, there you go. It can’t be a tall station wagon if it has Jeep on it, right?

    • 0 avatar

      It’s funny that nobody could find a way for Jeep dealers to sell cars – AMC, Renault, Eagle were not exactly big successes. Turns out the way to sell cars at Jeep dealers is to make them look like Jeeps.

      • 0 avatar
        JustPassinThru

        That…is a long story. And I was right in the middle of it, twelve years old, as my old man bought a Wagoneer six months before Kaiser Jeep ceased to be an independent company.

        Most of the Jeep dealers closed or became used-car or some other dealer. They were ordered to take AMC cars and spend money to upgrade to AMC standards. They weren’t interested – many of them were storefront operations, unchanged from the 1940s era where a dealer might have one car in a storefront and maybe twelve models out back.

        The Jeep dealers in five different regions where my old man had goings-on, in Cleveland, Western New York, Central New York and Pennsylvania, all ceased to be. Some AMC dealers, not all, took on Jeeps. It wasn’t clear at first that it would be a moneymaker – it took about five years for Jeep to get on a roll, with the Cherokee and the Renegade package. Then the CJ7 launched the brand into its own…but by then there were other problems on the car side.

        Renault failed because their cars were failures. The Americanized Renaults looked good – but were almost as shoddy as Yugo cars. Moreover, AMC lost money on every Alliance they sold. Not sure why but by all accounts they did – which was why Chrysler immediately pulled the plug on that model once the deal was signed.

        Eagle failed because nobody knew what the brand WAS. Was it he Eagle ex-Hornet Sportwagon? Was it economy Mitsubushis? Was it sporty Mitsubushis? Was it the AMC Renault that was ready to go when the deal was inked, that Lido didn’t know what to do with? How LONG would it last?…not very long, as it turned out.

        It was a urine-poor marketing plan, which apparently was supposed to let Jeep pull the stillborn Eagle brand.

        It’s really one more manifestation of the Jeep Curse. Jeep is LETHAL to every carmaker that gets involved with it, while still surviving and sometimes thriving as a brand itself.

    • 0 avatar
      JustPassinThru

      “It can’t be a tall station wagon if it has Jeep on it, right?”

      Wrong. The original Wagoneer had four-wheel-drive as an OPTION.

      Two-wheel-drive units came with a double-wishbone, TORTION-BAR front suspension.

      Good luck trying to find one of those. Most of the pre-1966 J-100 Wagoneers rusted out or got worked to rubble long before Jeep became kewel.

      But that was how Jeeps WERE. For that matter, the original Jeepster…didn’t even have 4wd as an OPTION.

      • 0 avatar
        gearhead77

        I’m not a Jeep person, but I do know some of the history. I didn’t mean Wagoneer and earlier Jeeps. I’m talking about today’s ” I can’t POSSIBLY drive a station wagon or minivan” mindset. People won’t buy a true wagon based on a car, but they’ll buy a small, square tall-ish car because it “looks like a rugged Jeep”.

        • 0 avatar
          JustPassinThru

          What you mean to say, is that today’s buyers are buying image.

          Obviously.

          What they’re buying the image OF, is an untrue past. Jeeps of the past were the purview of parks departments, the Forest Service, gas stations. A few (not many) adventuresome private owners.

          The first stab Willys took at the civilian market, the VJ Jeepster, was a colossal failure. The related “basket-weave” two-door station wagon succeeded – but mostly with institutional buyers.

          So, the real history of the Jeep is that of a drudge. And before that, of GI Joe…which is also a past that Biff and Buffy don’t much respect, as they’re braving the trail down to Starbucks.

  • avatar
    jthorner

    The Patriot and Compass sell well because they are bargain priced, look like a Jeep, are a smallish CUV and are bargain priced (I know I already said that, but price is a huge factor).

    A coworker just bought a 4wd new Patriot to send their daughter off to college in the mountains. Many thousands of dollars less than similar capabilities (size, awd, etc.) from any other auto maker.

  • avatar
    NotFast

    Anything that keeps my fellow Illinoisians (including my sister in law) employed at the Belvidere plant is good for me.


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