By on June 2, 2016

2016 Jeep Renegade

More than 90,000 Jeeps were sold in the United States in May 2016, a record for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ best-selling auto brand during an abbreviated sales month in which industry-wide sales fell 6 percent.

There were only 24 selling days on the auto sales calendar in May, a “month” which didn’t officially begin until May 3. Compared with May 2015, when there were 26 selling days, real Jeep volume jumped 14 percent, the greatest year-over-year increase of any volume auto brand, accounting for nearly 11,000 additional sales.

Rapidly rising Jeep Renegade sales are partly to thank. Yet even with the Renegade excluded, sales of Jeep’s five more established models rose 6 percent, or 15 percent on a daily selling rate basis. Five Jeeps ranked among America’s 20 best-selling SUVs and crossovers in May 2016. As for the Compass? It ranked 21st. 

For FCA, it was certainly vital that Jeep over-perform in May, as sales at Alfa Romeo, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, and Ram fell 7 percent last month. Thanks to Jeep, FCA posted a 1-percent year-over-year increase last month.

Jeep has consistently performed as FCA’s jet fuel thrusting the company’s combined brands to own 13.4 percent of the U.S. auto market so far this year.

“The Jeep brand has set a sales record in every month dating back to November 2013,” FCA reported in its monthly sales release yesterday. May’s results nevertheless manifested a high-water mark for the Jeep brand within the FCA family, as Jeep produced 44 percent of FCA’s total sales in the United States in May 2016, up five percentage points from May 2015, up eight percentage points from May 2014, and up 18 percentage points since May 2013.

Jeep FCA sales chart market share

Meanwhile, FCA’s passenger car volume plunged by more than one-third in May 2016 and by 31 percent in the first five months of this year. Those are worrisome figures for any FCA executive troubled by the possibility, however unlikely, that fuel prices may suddenly skyrocket or steadily surge.

Admittedly, the post-Katrina decline in “light truck” sales – light truck volume fell 21 percent in September and October 2005 after rising 5 percent through the first two-thirds of 2005 – would possibly be less severe if fuel prices were to climb now as they did then. The utility vehicles and pickup trucks American consumers are snatching up in 2016 are more efficient; their presence less anti-social.

We know not what the future holds for U.S. fuel prices. We do know that FCA is placing greater emphasis on light trucks and less emphasis on passenger cars. With Jeep conquering greater swathes of the market while Chrysler 200 sales plummet by 11,000 units per month, it’s no wonder.

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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58 Comments on “Jeep Is FCA’s Jet Fuel – May Jeep Sales Soar Above 90,000 For First Time Ever...”


  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I really like the Grand Cherokee, but cannot bring myself to purchase an FCA car at this time (yet I have my third Volkswagen; beat you to the punch-line).

    But it’s not hard to see why Jeep sells as well as it does. A lot of it’s in the equity of the name, but at the same time, Jeep does build competitive products.

    • 0 avatar

      Volkswagon has a Tiguan coming with a 3rd row seat (I saw it in Denver Colorado Prototype vehicle critique).

      I LOVE my Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT so much I purchased it twice (Black and then Silver).

      I get lots of complements. Around here, you usually only see the SRT model in Black, Red or White. Hopefully my TRACKHAWK will offer limited edition colors to set it apart.

      I do think, however, weight reduction would make it a better vehicle.

      5200 pounds without passengers is pretty damn heavy.

      Aluminum could shave off 700 pounds or so.

      As for these smaller vehicles, The Cherokee isn’t big enough for me – but I have friends with them and they love them.

      The Renegade isn’t my cup of tea.

      I’d actually prefer it if it was an EV like the Fiat EV.

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      I agree with you, as I chose a 16 Golf Sportwagen SE tsi for our daily driver. VW’s that are based on the MQB platform feel like they are milled from solid billet. Nothing in the Jeep lineup has that kind of handling, structural rigidity, or fun to drive feel…IMHO…..sorry BTSR. My road trip car is a 335d..too small for BTSR but if you fit it is the most amazing machine out there for long distance high speed runs. (last week Denver to Ventura county…1200 miles, 13.5 hrs, 31 mpg)

  • avatar

    Like FCA has to worry about making the wrong call on crude prices. The taxpayers will simply be on the hook for bailing out any mismanaged auto companies, the union voting blocks that work at their factories, and the financial liabilities of the buyers who rushed out to purchase guzzlers during times of plenty.

    Yes, it’s nearly a decade later and yes, I still get upset when I think about that travesty.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      I don’t expect the US government to bail out a European firm.

      The 2008/9 bailout was expensive at $12B, but if it makes you feel better, that’s like a week’s worth of spend on a decade long Iraq war to save us from WMDs.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        yeah, that’s the thing which really irritates me. It’s somehow a crime against nature that we spend $12 bn or so to prevent two large companies from going under (which would have taken a lot more other companies with them) and prevented a severe recession from getting much worse, but nobody bats an eye about how we’ve spent almost $2 *trillion* so far on a war we should never have started in the first place.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        It’s not crude prices that will sink truck and SUV sales, it’s the economy. Crude prices are on their way back up with fuel prices and not one SUV sale has been lost. Many were gained 4-5 years ago when crude was still well over $100/bbl.

        Even if there is some event, it’s not like truck and SUV sales will convert to cars anyway.

    • 0 avatar

      Believe it or not, gentlemen, it is possible to be against both, and it probably shouldn’t be assumed that one is automatically okay with the latter simply for criticizing the former. Also–and as I stated–it wasn’t just about bailing out two auto companies. The entire thing was one huge mess; a bail out of the incompetent and/or irresponsible of all stars and stripes.

      “It’s somehow a crime against nature that we spend $12 bn or so to prevent two large companies from going under (which would have taken a lot more other companies with them) and prevented a severe recession from getting much worse…”

      Enjoy your omelet; the eggs were still rotten.

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        believe it or not, I might have not been referring to one specific person. but that the same side of the political spectrum which was calling for letting GM and Chrysler go bust was in favor of the invasion of Iraq.

        “Also–and as I stated–it wasn’t just about bailing out two auto companies. The entire thing was one huge mess; a bail out of the incompetent and/or irresponsible of all stars and stripes.”

        if the banks hadn’t had free reign to trash the financial markets and close off access to credit, they might have been able to go through bankruptcy proceedings on their own.

        “Enjoy your omelet; the eggs were still rotten.”

        pithy idioms don’t really enhance your point.

        • 0 avatar

          “but that the same side of the political spectrum which was calling for letting GM and Chrysler go bust was in favor of the invasion of Iraq.”

          You’re absolutely correct to point that out. I’m in the camp that views both affronts as a travesty, for the record, and views both “sides” as virtual factories producing one ironic viewpoint after another.

          “if the banks hadn’t had free reign to trash the financial markets and close off access to credit, they might have been able to go through bankruptcy proceedings on their own.”

          Are we to pretend the scope of the culpable parties involved consisted of the financial sector only? This was multiple entities who had their mistakes off-shored onto the backs of the taxpayer. Not that the bailouts made any sense anyway. Take the banks, for example, since you mentioned them. I can’t grok how the solution to banks needing a bailout because they were A) irresponsible and B) “too big to fail” is rolling them into even larger financial institutions. Banks should have been broken up and forced to keep 100% reserves. That would have been more meaningful, long-term.

          It didn’t happen because the politicians of both parties are heavily controlled by the financial sector. It was a case of paybacks, all endorsed by folks on the sidelines who believe easy credit is the path to long-term prosperity in the U.S.

          “pithy idioms don’t really enhance your point.”

          On the contrary, this cuts right to the point. You think the eggs being broken (the sleazy acts done during the bailout) were worth the omelet–what you see as the prevention of a deeper financial crisis. You’re an omelet guy. I’m not an omelet guy; I can’t ignore rotten eggs because of a “solution” seen as pragmatic.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I test-drove a Renegade Latitude last week and have to admit I liked nearly everything about it–nearly everything. Need to test drive a Trailhawk before I can take that any farther.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    That chart for Jeep sales reminds me of the Hummer sales chart. Until it all fell apart.

    FCA has no meaningful hedge for when oil prices go back up.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      Hummer didn’t have a Renegade, Cherokee, or Compass/Patriot. It’s not like the smaller Jeeps still only get 14 mpg like the smallest Hummer.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        True enough, but Jeeps (and FCA more broadly) tend to be at the bottom of their respective classes in fuel economy. Part of that is about Jeep capability, and part of it is due to it being a low priority for FCA.

        • 0 avatar
          zoomzoom91

          @VoGo

          I felt a need to respond to this, because I see this type of statement a lot. It’s kind of true but only in isolation, e.g. the Hellcat Charger is less fuel-efficient than a BMW 550i, or the Wrangler is less fuel-efficient than a car-based V6 midsize crossover. I would almost call the “FCA lags in fuel economy” thing a misconception.

          Here are some examples, across their product line.
          All mpg ratings are EPA combined #s.

          Jeep Cherokee V6 4wd–combined: 23mpg.
          Ford Escape 2.0T awd–combined: 23mpg.
          Ford Edge V6 awd–combined: 20mpg.
          Chevy Equinox V6 awd–combined: 20mpg.

          Fullsize Pickup, most fuel efficient spec. All 4wd.
          Ram 1500 Ecodiesel V6: 22mpg
          Chevy Silverado V6: 19mpg
          Ford F-150 Ecoboost 2.7L V6: 19mpg
          Toyota Tundra 4.6L V8: 16mpg
          (For what it’s worth, the gas V6 Ram gets 19 as well).

          3-row SUVs. All 2wd (front or rear) V6.
          Dodge Durango: 22mpg
          Ford Explorer: 20mpg
          GMC Acadia: 18mpg
          Honda Pilot: 23mpg

          Full size sedans. 2wd (front or rear) V6.
          Dodge Charger: 23mpg
          Ford Taurus: 21mpg
          Chevy Impala: 22mpg
          Toyota Avalon: 24mpg

          People constantly trash FCA for bad fuel economy, but when you do apples-to-apples comparisons, it simply isn’t true.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      Hummer made thirsty BOF trucks. Jeep is now in the crossover area.

      • 0 avatar
        VoGo

        …making relatively thirst crossovers. My point isn’t about engine layout or chassis design; it’s about fuel efficiency and building products that are in demand regardless of the price of oil.

        • 0 avatar
          npaladin2000

          They’re not all THAT thirsty, especially compared to a BOF truck. And the Thunderfish or whatever it is doesn’t even have DI yet, so they’ve got a lot of easy improvements when they move to Apache Tomcat 2. Sorry, but their engine names just beg to be made fun of. :D

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            The fuel economy difference between a crossover like a Cherokee and a sedan like a 200 only amounts to a few hundred per year, if that. It’s not a huge gap like it used to be.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          I would argue that the Jeep’s real world economy isn’t as bad as some want to believe. There’s a lot in how you drive it that can and will affect the FE. I expect the non-Trailhawk versions of the Renegade could easily exceed 30mpg on the highway and they’re only rated for 27/28 highway. The Trailhawk might not do as well, but then again might realize the same due to actually USING top gear compared to the others.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      I posted it above, but it bears repeating:

      It’s not crude prices that will sink truck and SUV sales, it’s the economy. Crude prices are on their way back up with fuel prices and not one SUV sale has been lost. Many were gained 4-5 years ago when crude was still well over $100/bbl.

      Even if there is some event, truck and SUV sales won’t convert to cars anyway.

  • avatar
    Fred

    Ram sales are down? Wonder if that’s because of Toyota’s rise?

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I’m mystified by the Renegade’s popularity. I loved it from a distance, until I drove it, although I still like its looks.

    Maybe its coarseness is appealing in a ‘Jeep’ sort of way. Maybe the tagline is true: “It’s a Jeep thing, you wouldn’t understand.” Well, I don’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      I see very few of them here in the Houston area. 4 door Jeeps are popular tho.

    • 0 avatar
      VoGo

      Isn’t it really a Fiat thing, at heart? I truly don’t understand.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      If you got into a Renegade expecting it to handle like a Miata, then I’d say the problem is with you.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I was expecting:

        1. A smooth drivetrain. What I experienced was a rough idling, loud engine, and the now-legendary weird-shifting 9-speed automatic.

        2. A decent ride. What I experienced was a CJ-5 that darted around on the road.

        3. Modern fit and finish. What I experienced was a loose headlight switch in the dash, and paint misses under the hood.

        4. A roomy interior, based on the numbers. What I experienced was a surprisingly tight interior, with too many Jeep icons.

        5. An eager salesman. What I experienced was someone who really wanted to sell me a Grand Cherokee, and didn’t consider the Renegade to be a ‘real Jeep’.

        I expected a competent commuter package like the CR-V, RAV4, or Sportage. It isn’t.

        • 0 avatar
          Zackman

          So after stating your five points, did you buy anyway?

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          1. A smooth drivetrain. What I experienced was a rough idling, loud engine, and the now-legendary weird-shifting 9-speed automatic.
          — Hmph. Never noticed that in the Latitude I drove.

          2. A decent ride. What I experienced was a CJ-5 that darted around on the road.
          — Hmph. Never noticed any of that, and I drove on one pretty bad road. She tracked straight and true for me on good roads.

          3. Modern fit and finish. What I experienced was a loose headlight switch in the dash, and paint misses under the hood.
          — Hmph. Maybe you found a lemon; you should mention that to them. The one I drove had no obvious issues like that and I manhandled nearly every switch and knob on the dash. As for the paint; didn’t see anything wrong there, either.

          4. A roomy interior, based on the numbers. What I experienced was a surprisingly tight interior, with too many Jeep icons.
          — I’m wondering just how roomy an interior you were looking for. Granted, the thing ain’t no Taj Mahal, but it’s no worse than my JKU inside.

          5. An eager salesman. What I experienced was someone who really wanted to sell me a Grand Cherokee, and didn’t consider the Renegade to be a ‘real Jeep’.
          — Must have gone at a bad time of the month or someone looking for a BIG commission to make ends meet. My salesperson was almost too eager (just as much of a red flag as far as I’m concerned.)

          And personally, I wouldn’t consider a Renegade as a ‘commuter’ car; it’s got a lot more chops in bad road conditions than any of the other three you mentioned. You want a commuter car, buy yourself a Fiat 500 (not x or L) and if you still need more oomph, then get an Abarth. 40mpg highway and amazingly agile in traffic.

    • 0 avatar
      npaladin2000

      It’s the same thing that gets people into a Crosstrek, except the Renegade looks more “manly” I suppose. But essentially it’s a very practical vehicle, good storage, upright seating, AWD. I see a lot of Renegades and Cherokees up here in the Hudson Valley NY area, they’re hitting the niche Subaru owned for a long time.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      The Renegade would look much better if FCA would remove most of the cheap black plastic from the exterior (e.g. around the taillights, up front).

      I can’t imagine how awful it is going to look after a few years exposed to the sun and elements.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      “I’m mystified by the Renegade’s popularity. I loved it from a distance, until I drove it, although I still like its looks.”

      Exactly what didn’t you like about the Renegade you drove? For me it was the power… I was expecting a bit more oomph from something with 40 more horses than my ’02 Saturn Vue which was surprisingly quick (with a stick). I’m thinking the Trailhawk may have the final drive ratio that fixes it.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I see Renegades all over town, so someone’s buying/leasing them by the dozen.

    Me? No FCA in my future, although a part of me still wants a (almost bare-bones) Wrangler…

  • avatar
    npaladin2000

    At this rate they should almost drop Chrysler…all it’s got is the 300 and the Pacifica anyway. All the growth and popularity is with Jeep (and some for the 500x). If they truly want to keep Chrysler around, it needs a version of the Cherokee, and maybe the Renegade. But honestly, I wouldn’t, a lot of the reason for their success is the Jeep name.

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    Keep punting out these wimpy crossovers until the jeep brand has no more cache and heritage left to back up the badge.. That’ll work great long term.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Oh, hush. They’ve still got the GC and Wrangler, and soon the Wagoneer. If crossovers didn’t sell, Jeep wouldn’t make them. What proof do you have that traditional SUVs will be a good bet “long term”?

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Cache: In short, a hoard or collection of stored materials.

      Cachet: The state of being respected or admired.

      Still, a Chrysler or Dodge crossover that loses the cutsey Fiat look would probably do pretty well, even if it is the same car underneath.

    • 0 avatar

      They started selling crossovers a decade ago (Patriot/Compass) has not damaged sales in the least, I would say as long as they keep building wranglers and Grand Cherokees they will be fine.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      People said the same thing about BMW and Porsche. I guess they still do. It still doesn’t matter.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    These Renegades (aka upright, Fiat-platform sh!tboxes) aren’t that popular in the metro Detroit area, because they don’t have a burly enough image, they’re not actually inexpensive, and Michigan potholes would swallow them whole.

    Then again, I’ve been seeing way more Promaster Sprinters and deformed, alien-esque shaped Transit Connects on the roads here, so…

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Looks like they still sell 10,000 Patriots a month, despite it being a horrible and antiquated piece of poo.

    Why? Price. The local Jeep dealers (in this notoriously overpriced city) sell new Patriots starting at $13.5k. On paper, that’s a lot of car for very little money. People who buy on price (or payment) rather than quality see the Patriot as an incredible bargain.

    • 0 avatar
      pbxtech

      I had a Patriot as a company truck. The gas mileage was significantly lower than the EPA rating and it had too small of a gas tank, other than that I liked it. It was quiet, well equipped, comfortable and had a nice interior. I put 70K mile on it and only changed the oil. I was impressed enough to shop it when I needed a car for my daughter. She wanted the Dart instead and that was even cheaper. If you don’t have a lot to spend and you want something new, you’d be nuts not to look at it. If you have more money and like new tech, run away as fast as you can.

    • 0 avatar
      mattwc1

      I rented a Patriot High Latitude (2.4L/6speed auto) for a week in British Columbia. I came away mildly impressed (I mentioned this several weeks ago during the Best/Worst Cars of 2016 voting). For the price point (and a lot of cash on the hood) , the Patriot (in the 2.4L 6speed trim. I have no experience with the CVT equipped model) is a decent bargain. FCA has had 10 years to iron out the bugs on the model and offer a proper 6speed automatic.

      IF quality is not taking a car into a dealership for numerous “fixes” on a wonky 9 speed automatic and other teething problems with the Renegade, then a properly equipped Patriot might fit the bill. Not best of breed for CUVs, but a decent first car or decently priced new car for buyers on a budget.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do suspect FCA will screw up the Jeep name.

    My logic is Jeep is earning FCA some money and FCA will attempt to use the Jeep name on some real unreliable softcock vehicles.

    FCA will have a problem in transitioning Jeep from an iconic rugged 4×4 image into the softcock image.

    This might destroy Jeep.

    • 0 avatar

      I doubt it, Jeep has had a dubious reliability reputation for quite some time. I remember my relatives complaining about it back in the 80’s and 90’s but they kept buying cherokess and grand cherokees so it seems to have little effect. As mentioned they have been selling CUV’s for a decade and that only seemed to make the brand stronger.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The thing is, dubious reliability by today’s standards is an acceptable level to more people than ever. In the first 3 years, the difference between first and worst is 1 problem.

  • avatar
    Joss

    FCA needs to get back in with Amblin/Universal with Jurassic World franchise. Good exposure.

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