Americans Prefer Patriot, So Why Is Jeep Killing It and Keeping Compass Name Instead?

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
americans prefer patriot so why is jeep killing it and keeping compass name instead

Searching for new buyers with car-based Jeeps in 2006, DaimlerChrysler assumed the more obviously car-like of the two new Jeeps, the Compass, would be more popular. Square, boxy, and later to the party, the Patriot would fill in the gaps with a more male-centric demographic.

Incorrect.

From the get-go, the Jeep Patriot was the more popular of the two Dodge Caliber-related baby Jeeps. In the U.S., Jeep reported 53-percent more Patriot sales than Compass sales between 2007 and August 2016. In fact, the Patriot has outsold the Compass every year since its debut.

Naturally then, when it came time to wisely replace the antiquated and critically condemned first-generation Patriot and Compass with an all-new model, Jeep chose the Compass nameplate.

Wait a second, what?

We twice asked for comment from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Jeep’s parent company, regarding the name choice.

“At this point we’re not able to comment or provide further info prior to the LA auto show,” Jordan Wasylyk, the product PR manager for the Patriot and Compass in Canada, told TTAC.

Even with FCA’s silence on the issue, it’s not difficult to see the factors at play. True, the more traditionally boxy Jeep, the Patriot, was wildly more popular than the awkward Compass in both the U.S. and Canada. But Jeep is not an exclusively North American brand.

The 2017 Jeep Compass, as we reported yesterday, will initially be built in Brazil and sold in over 100 markets with 17 powertrain options.

Meanwhile, the old Compass is wildly more popular than the dying Patriot in — guess where? — global markets. Nearly three times more popular over the last three years.

The Jeep of 2017 is not intended to be an accurate facsimile of the brand with which you grew up. Owned by a Dutch-incorporated, London-headquartered automaker, Jeep’s latest model (the Renegade) is imported from an Italian assembly plant. But Jeep has consistently generated only one-quarter of the brand’s volume in global markets, the very markets which account for four-fifths of global new vehicle sales.

If Jeep’s global aspirations are ever to be cemented in reality, Jeep knows it must become more than the SUV answer to apple pie and rushing the quarterback.

Clearly Jeep believes that Compass, not Patriot, will play better where footballs are kicked into nets rather than through uprights.

[Images: Jeep]

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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  • Chan Chan on Sep 29, 2016

    I find it slightly ridiculous and in poor taste to name a car "Patriot". That it wasn't a very competitive car is just icing on the cake. Similarly, "Liberty" is such a played-out term that screams 'Murica and everything crass that it stands for, as if the idea of civil liberty is somehow unique to this country. In the era of global Jeep, I'm not surprised that these names didn't make the cut. Note how the "Freestar" name also didn't last very long for Ford.

  • Verbal Verbal on Sep 29, 2016

    I think they should split and re-combine the existing names of the two vehicles, and call it the Jeep Ass Riot.

  • Paul Alexander I'd love to buy a car without infotainment.
  • EBFlex Chrysler has the best infotainment by far. The older uConnect system was bulletproof and never had issues. The newer one based on android auto is a big step backward but it's still very good. Nothing else comes close to Chrysler's infotainment.
  • EBFlex People don't want compromises. They want a vehicle that will match what they have now with ICE which includes very short refueling times, long range, and batteries that don't degrade over a rather short time. In the midwest, people don't live on top of each other. People like their space and are spread out. 30+ mile commutes are common. So is outdoor living which includes towing.Government cars make sense for the coasts where people love to live on top of each other and everything is within walking distance. They don't make sense in areas where it's cold and 40% of your range could be lost. Government cars are just not viable right now for the majority of people and the sales reflect it.
  • MaintenanceCosts There are a lot of lifestyles outside of urban America that don't work well yet with EVs. I live in Seattle and would face minimal (if any) inconvenience from driving only EVs. We are in fact planning to replace our big family car with an EV in 2024. But my relatives in small-town Texas would have to change some things they do unless/until there is a complete fast charging network along rural I-20. That network is coming, but it will be a few more years.
  • VoGhost Five years ago, Tesla was ten years ahead of the competition. I haven't seen anything to suggest that's changed.
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