A Country Falls Out of Love With Jeep's Renegade

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
a country falls out of love with jeeps renegade

One of the most fervent wishes of late Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne was to see Jeeps enter the garages of consumers in as many countries as possible. The brand’s expansion in past years has been considerable, but not every model is having an easy time, and not all markets have proven receptive.

This week, residents of a country mourning the impending loss of a home-grown brand learned that a Jeep model will soon be no more. Don’t expect an outpouring of angst, however, as they’d already given up on it. Even the Ford EcoSport sells better.

As reported by CarAdvice, Jeep has discontinued the Renegade in Australia, claiming the weak Aussie dollar makes the subcompact model’s boat trip unviable.

That financial element may be true, but it’s also a fact that few Australian buyers are interested in owning one. In 2019, Jeep sold just 70 examples in the kangaroo-infested country. Compare that to the unpopular Ford EcoSport, which unloaded some 481 units in the same year.

While a brand spokesperson said the model could return if it suddenly becomes “commercially viable,” Australians are advised not to hold their breath. With this latest development, the compact Compass becomes the smallest Jeep vehicle in that market.

First sold in North America in 2015, the Renegade, which recently received a potent 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, also faces declining popularity in this market. The model’s first full year of sales, 2016, was its best. Declining each year thereafter, Renegade sales fell 21 percent in 2019. In Canada, sales fell 44 percent to just 664 vehicles (down from 2,266 Renegades in 2016).

Hardly a sales powerhouse, though the model is still flying the Jeep flag high in Europe — a market for which the Fiat-based vehicle is better suited. European Renegade volume hit a new high water mark in 2019, with nearly 79,000 units sold.

Sadly for FCA, the same cannot be said for China, where the Renegade went from player to pushover in the past few years. After selling some 38,715 Renegades in that market in 2018, Jeep watched sales fall to 5,640 units in 2019. A number of reasons can be blamed for the decline, not all of them FCA’s fault.

Despite all of this, the Renegade is not giving up. This year brings a plug-in hybrid variant of the little ute, no doubt earning it increased attention in regions that prioritize reduced emissions over all else.

[Images: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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3 of 41 comments
  • Rpol35 Rpol35 on Feb 19, 2020

    I haven't owned one but I have rented two, in one instance one for a week. I found them both to be basically turds.

  • PrincipalDan PrincipalDan on Feb 20, 2020

    Didn't Jeep recently start putting a 2.0T in the Cherokee? Drop that sucker in the Renegade and lets have some fun. If they built a TrackHawk edition and lowered it a bit that would be closer to the spirit of the original Mini than current Minis are.

    • MiataReallyIsTheAnswer MiataReallyIsTheAnswer on Feb 20, 2020

      Except if you go down the lowering/performance route, a 500X will look about a thousand times better setup that way than a Renegade. Somewhere I saw pics of a 500X done up that way and it was sweet.

  • Keith Maybe my market's different. but 4.5k whack. Plus mods like his are just donations for the next owner. I'd consider driving it as a fun but practical yet disposable work/airport car if it was priced right. Some VAG's (yep, even Audis) are capable, long lasting reliable cars despite what the haters preach. I can't lie I've done the same as this guy: I had a decently clean 4 Runner V8 with about the same miles- I put it up for sale around the same price as the lower mile examples. I heard crickets chirp until I dropped the price. Folks just don't want NYC cab miles.
  • Max So GM will be making TESLAS in the future. YEA They really shouldn’t be taking cues from Elon musk. Tesla is just about to be over.
  • Malcolm It's not that commenters attack Tesla, musk has brought it on the company. The delivery of the first semi was half loaded in 70 degree weather hauling potato chips for frito lay. No company underutilizes their loads like this. Musk shouted at the world "look at us". Freightliners e-cascads has been delivering loads for 6-8 months before Tesla delivered one semi. What commenters are asking "What's the actual usable range when in say Leadville when its blowing snow and -20F outside with a full trailer?
  • Funky D I despise Google for a whole host of reasons. So why on earth would I willing spend a large amount of $ on a car that will force Google spyware on me.The only connectivity to the world I will put up with is through my phone, which at least gives me the option of turning it off or disconnecting it from the car should I choose to.No CarPlay, no sale.
  • William I think it's important to understand the factors that made GM as big as it once was and would like to be today. Let's roll back to 1965, or even before that. GM was the biggest of the Big Three. It's main competition was Ford and Chrysler, as well as it's own 5 brands competing with themselves. The import competition was all but non existent. Volkswagen was the most popular imported cars at the time. So GM had its successful 5 brands, and very little competition compared to today's market. GM was big, huge in fact. It was diversified into many other lines of business, from trains to information data processing (EDS). Again GM was huge. But being huge didn't make it better. There are many examples of GM not building the best cars they could, it's no surprise that they were building cars to maximize their profits, not to be the best built cars on the road, the closest brand to achieve that status was Cadillac. Anyone who owned a Cadillac knew it could have been a much higher level of quality than it was. It had a higher level of engineering and design features compared to it's competition. But as my Godfather used to say "how good is good?" Being as good as your competitors, isn't being as good as you could be. So, today GM does not hold 50% of the automotive market as it once did, and because of a multitude of reasons it never will again. No matter how much it improves it's quality, market value and dealer network, based on competition alone it can't have a 50% market share again. It has only 3 of its original 5 brands, and there are too many strong competitors taking pieces of the market share. So that says it's playing in a different game, therfore there's a whole new normal to use as a baseline than before. GM has to continue downsizing to fit into today's market. It can still be big, but in a different game and scale. The new normal will never be the same scale it once was as compared to the now "worlds" automotive industry. Just like how the US railroad industry had to reinvent its self to meet the changing transportation industry, and IBM has had to reinvent its self to play in the ever changing Information Technology industry it finds it's self in. IBM was once the industry leader, now it has to scale it's self down to remain in the industry it created. GM is in the same place that the railroads, IBM and other big companies like AT&T and Standard Oil have found themselves in. It seems like being the industry leader is always followed by having to reinvent it's self to just remain viable. It's part of the business cycle. GM, it's time you accept your fate, not dead, but not huge either.