By on February 19, 2020

Image: FCA

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).

fca

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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41 Comments on “A Country Falls Out of Love With Jeep’s Renegade...”


  • avatar
    thornmark

    maybe because it’s not really a JEEP?

    isn’t it a FIAT wearing “JEEP” styling?

    FIAT really should have died long ago but for maneuvering by one of Italy’s richest families

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      No. It is engineered by Jeep but shares components with Fiat

      • 0 avatar
        zerofoo

        Jeep may have engineered the interior and body panels, but the Renegade platform is based on this:

        https://www.fiat.com/panda/panda

      • 0 avatar
        DRdR

        No, it’s not based on the Panda, it is based on the small pickup Toro (RAM 700 in some markets)

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        It’s the Fiat components, especially the drivetrain, that made it unloved in America. It didn’t take long for Americans to realize it was a Fiat in Jeep’s clothing.

        • 0 avatar
          Steve203

          >>It’s the Fiat components, especially the drivetrain, <<

          The automatic trans is the ZF 9 speed that is built in Kokomo, Indiana. The 2.4 that the vast majority of Renegades came with prior to 2019 is built in Dundee, Mi. It is a development of a joint venture engine program between Chrysler and Hyundai.

          • 0 avatar
            NoID

            Likewise, the driveline is designed by UK-based GKN Driveline (most of the engineering occurs in the US and Germany), and is built in multiple countries (US, Mexico, Germany, and Brazil if I’m not mistaken.)

            But yes please continue, your ignorance is our bliss.

  • avatar
    NoID

    I blame all the sales that the Fiat 500L and 500X are cannibalizing.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    “which recently received a potent 1.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder,”

    Funny even. When I tested this in 2017, I like the car but I thought, let them install something bigger than 1.4L with MT and then, I’ll buy it.
    Biggest problem with this car as I saw – range. Small frame, small fuel tank, small range. And of course, 1.4L wasn’t super economical and worked hard every time.

    • 0 avatar
      NoID

      To be fair, the 1.3 provides about a 10% bump in HP and torque over the outgoing 1.4. Whether that provides a meaningful increase in performance I wouldn’t be able to tell you, as I’ve driven neither.

      I wonder if they could fit the new 2.0L turbo into this phone booth. That could make for a fun package.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        I see no reason why they can’t fit 2L.T, since they already had 2.4L in it. Problem was, 2.4 did not come with MT.

        And this one important issue, I forgot about… 1.4 Demanded Premium gasoline. And all reviews pointed out that 1.4 and 2.4 in real life were well short of EPA ratings, accelerated about the same and had about same efficiency. To me, this is not working. Underpowered-fuel efficient. But underpowered and not efficient does not sit well with me.

        • 0 avatar
          Steve203

          >>And this one important issue, I forgot about… 1.4 Demanded Premium gasoline.<<

          The new 1.3T also prefers premium. The manual says it will run on 87, but will put out more power with premium.

          Another wrinkle of both the 1.4 and the 1.3: they don't like cold weather. If it's -20, the engine will not crank at all. You start getting a warning on the DIC to use a block heater around -4.

          The old 2.4, besides being happy with regular gas, will not refuse to crank until -30. Imagine the shipping costs on the 2.4 though: built in Michigan, shipped to Italy, along with the US built 9 speed trans, installed in the Renegades, then shipped back to the US. The new 1.3T is built in Poland, so less shipping cost than the 2.4.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            “The manual says it will run on 87”

            The old manual used to say “Recommended fuel”. I contacted a couple of manufacturers about it. Basically, recommended=required. Unless, like in Mazda turbo, or whatever you read in new Jeep manual, unless you see, “you can use 87”, you better use what they “recommend”.
            Well, not a surprise – this is a European car for you.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      I rode shotgun in a trailhawk version in S. Idaho on the BLM rangeland and I was really surprised. Ya it’s a cute-ute, but it was much more capable than I expected and I imagined with better tires it would be a fun little car.

      I think a trackhawk would be a riot as well.

  • avatar
    MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

    Sold 70 – SEVENTY – all year?? Seriously? That sounds like an exposure/marketing problem.

  • avatar
    retrocrank

    The infestation is of humans and their cars. The kangaroos were there (if anything in even greater numbers) when the human population was a few thousand hunter/gatherers using stone tools, not millions of consumers busily transferring earth’s content to its atmosphere.

    • 0 avatar
      MrIcky

      You must be fun at parties.

      • 0 avatar
        retrocrank

        Pretty much.

        I was only making a correction of a factual error made by Steph. If we don’t keep the facts straight, what is said here becomes untrustworthy and of interest only to the nonrational and serves only to troll the EVers and other do-gooders. Go read Snakebit’s comment. Same idea.

        • 0 avatar
          teddyc73

          “I was only making a correction of a factual error made by Steph. If we don’t keep the facts straight, what is said here becomes untrustworthy” You must be really busy correct CNN’s website. Nothing they say is factual or trustworthy.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      fook off

    • 0 avatar
      teddyc73

      What criteria are you using to determine how many humans constitute an infestation? Humans are part of this planet just like every other living creature. Did you know if you were to put ever human shoulder to shoulder in one spot the entire humane population would take up a very small portion of land? So if you are so indignant about humans using a naturally occurring substance found on Earth then I assume you do not use anything made by that substance.
      By the way, the Kangaroo comment was not meant to be taken literally.

  • avatar
    Steve203

    RHD Renegades for the Aussie market are built in the same plant in Italy where US and EU market Renegades are built. The RHD Compass for the Aussie market is built in India, where labor rates make Mexicans look rich and takes a much shorter ship ride to Oz than Italian Renegades. The Compass in Oz must be vastly more profitable than the Renegade, which is probably reflected in the Aussie prices, which would impact sales.

    Similarly, the Compass must be more profitable for FCA in North America than the Renegade. The Renegade is built by relatively expensive Italian labor and takes a long ship ride to get here. The Compass is built by cheap Mexican labor and takes a short train ride to get here. The Renegade and Compass sticker prices are nearly identical, but I bet the Compass has more profit in it.

    Can’t remember if I rolled out the Steve Plan for Jeep on this site. The Steve Plan called for replacing the Cherokee with the Commander, and the Grand Commander replacing the Journey.

    Then, with EU market Compass production started in Italy, and the Journey and Fiat 500 discontinued, that would free up enough capacity at Toluca for Jeep to drop the Renegade in North America and shuttle Renegade prospects to the Compass.

    If it happens that way, remember, you read it here first.

  • avatar
    Zoomers_StandingOnGenius_Shoulders

    Wow when the EcoSport outsells this thing, you know you’re selling JUNK.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve203

      Wow when the EcoSport outsells this thing, you know you’re selling JUNK.

      RHD Ecosports are also built in hyper cheap India.

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      QUOTE: “Wow when the EcoSport outsells this thing, you know you’re selling JUNK.”

      Yeah no. Having driven both let me tell you the Renegade is like a Range Rover to the Ecosport’s 1981 Chevy Citation.

  • avatar
    StudeDude

    The Australian market has fallen out of love with Jeep as a brand, not just the Renegade. FCA has alienated the Aussie buying public with their lousy service and exorbitant part prices. For more, check out autoexpert.com.au with John Cadogan.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve203

      >>The Australian market has fallen out of love with Jeep as a brand,<<

      Same thing in China, where Jeep sales are falling fast. My hunch is FCA is trying to get the same price premium for the Jeep brand there that they get here, but other markets don't buy into the "Jeep thing", so are not willing to pay the premium price. While the Renegade sells fairly well in the EU, the Fiat 500X outsells it.

      • 0 avatar
        slavuta

        Chinese are shrewd customers.

        • 0 avatar
          Steve203

          >>Chinese are shrewd customers.<<

          So are Indians, it seems. I have seen a couple Indian market comparison tests between an Indian built Compass and comparable models from Tata, Mahindra and Hyundai. The testers all agreed, the Compass is very nice, but *wow* is it expensive. One test even showed a graph of the price ranges of the Compass and others in the test. The Compass base price started where the other makes topped out for a fully optioned example.

          The Compass doesn't sell worth a lick in India. Last December, the Compass ranked 16th among SUVs in India, moving 742 examples. In the same month, Ford shifted 1727 Ecosports, good for 9th place. Hyundai moved 6,713 Cretas, in 3rd place, and 9521 Venues, in 2nd place. The best selling SUV was the Maruti Suzuki Vitara Brezza with 13658 sold. No premium for the "Jeep thing" in India.

          • 0 avatar
            slavuta

            “So are Indians, it seems.”

            No. There is some serious difference between Chinese and Indians. Indians are simply cheap. Not even that, they just will talk you to death, trick you buy giving you $150 but really giving you $120. With no relation to product. Chinese are measuring WHAT they get for the money. If they have to pay great amount of money but they see it as a good deal, they will pay. Indians will negotiate even “free”

            Actually, I now remember, even Russel Peters talked about this – Indian guy will pull a button off the shirt in a store, to get it with discount. Watch on youtube. This is funny

          • 0 avatar
            Art Vandelay

            Das Racist

  • avatar
    snakebit

    First, let’s stop with the misuse of the word ‘infested’. Like posting ‘the shark-infested Pacific Ocean’ when that’s their native home, kangaroos happen to be native to Australia, they weren’t mistakenly introduced to ‘down under’. When man first landed in Australia, kangaroos were part of ‘Welcome Wagon’ at the port. As to the Renegade, sorry that they didn’t make sense to Australians, owing to the exchange rate, they seem reasonably popular with my locals here near Lake Tahoe. The preferred ride is a Ram crewcab(for some reason) here, but for those folks who can’t come up with Ram money, Renegade seems to work for the locals on a tighter budget.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    I still like the Renegade, but am hesitant about the new engine option. I will continue with my V6 Escape as long as I can

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      Got almost 200,000 miles out of my V6 Escape 4WD and it was looking and running like new when I simply needed to move to the usefulness of a Suburban (then had 3 more of those fantastic vehicles).

  • avatar
    rpol35

    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.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      MiataReallyIsTheAnswer

      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.

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