September 2017 gross sales at Fiat Chrysler Cars decreased on a year-over-year foundation for a 14th consecutive month, extending a stretch of declines that started in August of final yr.
For a lot of that point span, the U.S. car trade was reporting declining gross sales, as nicely. And for a lot of that time span, whilst whole U.S. auto gross sales saved on sliding, SUV/crossover gross sales had been rising. For a lot of that point span, Jeep gross sales had been falling.
Technically, formally, Jeep gross sales saved on falling in September 2017, the U.S. auto trade’s first month of improved gross sales this yr.
However when you’d simply ignore the Jeep Patriot for a second, we are able to take a look at a clearer image.
Jeep’s precipitous decline from the lofty document heights of 2016 — by which level U.S. Jeep quantity had basically doubled in 4 years — really started earlier than 2016 even ended. Had the expansion price Jeep achieved over the course of 2016 prolonged by 2017, Jeep would have closed in on 1 million gross sales in 2017, simply within the U.S. alone.
As an alternative, Jeep started 2017 with a first-quarter by which gross sales tumbled 11 p.c. By the tip of the first-half, Jeep was off final yr’s tempo by 13 p.c. By the tip of August, the model’s quantity was down by almost 82,000 items.
Granted, September gained’t be regarded again upon because the month by which Jeep was restored to full well being, perched on the peak of the SUV enviornment the seven-slat model has each motive to think about ripe for domination. Complete quantity was down four p.c in a market which grew 6 p.c; in a light-weight truck market that jumped 12 p.c.
However a lot of Jeep’s decline in September, nay, all of Jeep’s decline in September might be traced again to 1 mannequin.
A discontinued mannequin.
A quickly to be forgotten mannequin.
An oft-despised mannequin.
The Jeep Patriot.Jeep offered 12,316 Patriots at the moment final yr, the second-highest month-to-month whole within the nameplate’s historical past. Comparisons with such a efficiency are deceptive at finest, ineffective at worst.
Study Jeeps different autos for a greater concept of September’s success. As FCA continues to lower its reliance on fleet gross sales — GM offered 21 p.c of its autos to fleets in September; Ford Motor Firm 24 p.c — to the tune of 16 p.c of the corporate’s whole quantity, FCA’s latest gross sales outcomes are a extra correct illustration of true demand.
Non-Patriot Jeep gross sales rose 12 p.c, twice the speed of development skilled by the trade at giant. Whereas the getting old Cherokee continued its dive, the Grand Cherokee continued its climb, rising 20 p.c to 22,270 items. The subcompact Renegade jumped 38 p.c to 9,350 items. Wrangler quantity rose 10 p.c. The Compass registered its finest month ever, taking pictures up 75 p.c to 11,356, its first-ever five-digit month.
With a brand new Wrangler due quickly, Jeep is about to expertise a world of constructive consideration, consideration which will nicely pay dividends throughout the lineup. Jeep boss Mike Manley mentioned in July that the model was positioned proper the place it anticipated to be at this level.
We’re starting to see the explanation Manley was optimistic a few forthcoming turnaround.
[Image: Jeep; Chart: The Truth About Cars]
Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Reality About Automobiles and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.web. Observe on Twitter @timcaincars and Instagram.