Jeep sales have just reached a new record in 2015. Though there is not data yet, the SUV brand sold 865,000 units only in the US, more than twice its 2011 total. Now that Ferrari is not part of the family anymore, Jeep more than Maserati has become the real profit generator of the group. The Jeep boom is not only a matter of the USA. The brand posted a big sales increase in Europe, Mexico, Canada, and in China, and is one of the few brands of FCA to head without problems to its 2018 goal. Part of the success is explained by lower gas prices that boost SUV and trucks demand in North America and the outstanding sales results of the Renegade in Europe, Brazil and USA. The brand has been able to grow thanks to a range of products with an average age of 5 years old but soon they won’t be enough to mantain the good pace.
The latest all-new Jeep is the Renegade and it was globally revealed in March 2014 at Geneva motor show. Since then the brand hasn’t shown anything real new but the demand seems to keep strong. Therefore Jeep is somehow gaining time and saving money by delaying the next launches, due to take place in 2016 but likely to happen in 2017. This is for sure a risky move because as stated before, the whole group profitability relies more and more on this brand to achieve its 2018 goals and generate cash to relaunch Alfa Romeo. In one side it’s true that all Jeep models are very popular in USA (where Jeep sells around 75% of its cars) with the old Compass and Patriot posting sales increases during 2015. From this point of view the US car market doesn’t seem to be a problem in case the new launches are really delayed.
The challenge is to keep the strong growth seen in overseas regions with only one popular model, the Renegade. Jeep’s sales increase won’t last for long if the range isn’t enlarged with fresher products and more competitive compact and mid-size SUVs. The good Renegade cannot make it all and soon it will start its maturation commercial phase and will face tougher competition from Audi with its imminent Q2. Jeep Europe must be prepared when this happens. The best way it can do it is by launching the all-new C-SUV that was due to be introduced this year. Compact SUVs are still the most popular in Europe, and Jeep lost its battle due to the unsuccessful Compass. If it really wants to keep the good momentum it must launch a very competitive and capable C-SUV that can face both the light compact SUVs such as the new VW Tiguan, Renault Kadjar and Nissan Qashqai, and the premium ones like the Audi Q3, BMW X1 and Mercedes GLA. Non-official information indicates that the new C-SUV is almost ready and it features a modern look following the style seen in the Cherokee and not the boxy design of the Renegade and Wrangler. It will be probably built in USA for Europe and this would have a negative impact on its price.
But Jeep needs more. The Cherokee plays two completely different roles in both sides of the Atlantic ocean, and gets ready to become a popular China made SUV. The Grand Cherokee has already reached its sales peak and needs a new generation or a deep restyling. This update should also arrive soon but nothing is confirmed. The brand is also preparing the 2017 all-new Wrangler, while the Grand Wagoneer, the full-size luxury SUV to compete against the Range Rovers, won’t arrive before 2018. Many plans and few new cars. The delay of the new products may save money but it could also have a big cost in the coming years.