Jeep, FCA’s most important brand, sold 1,485,000 vehicles in 2019. Although the volume fell by 5% compared to 2018 record, it was the second highest results for Jeep in its history. Things went relatively well considering the challenging times in North America, Europe and China, and the fact that some key models are quite old.
The only global brand of the group
Jeep’s main strength is its high awareness all over the world. The brand is available in more countries than any other FCA brand with strong presence in the Americas, Europe and somehow in China and the Middle East. This has allowed it to keep the sales growth started in 2010 and become a key driver of growth for the group.
However, as an American maker, its operations in USA-Canada are still very important for its global sales, as two in three of the Jeeps sold globally remained over there. In contrast to the general trend in the industry of having big declines from old models, sales fell by 5% to 993,400 units not because of the older models but some of the recent ones. The Cherokee, Compass and Renegade were responsible for the general drop, while the Grand Cherokee, the oldest Jeep, saw an increase of 10%.
South America was the safe haven for Jeep in 2019. Thanks to the Brazilian made Renegade and Compass, the brand increased its sales by 14% to 168,000 units, or almost the same quantity sold in Europe. The bad conditions of the roads in some Latin American countries, and the good prices offered by the Renegade were two strong reasons for many consumers to consider this brand.
The situation in Europe is less good than in Latin America. Although it offers the same models, the competition is tougher in terms of more modern products. From the bottom, it is not easy to compete against the popular mini SUVs from Volkswagen, Renault, Ford and Opel. In the mainstream compact segments, the Compass looks outdated when compared to the Tiguan, 3008, Karoq, Tucson; and in the top of the range, the Grand Cherokee is extremely old when compared to the advanced premium Germans.
Small range of products
The problem persists: Jeep has a very small range of products. As an SUV maker it should be one of the leaders, and should be imposing trends in terms of new segments. For example, Jeep is still absent from the Coupe-SUV trend, which is gaining traction in China and Europe. At the same time, it doesn’t offer a 7-seat SUV (excluding the Commander for China only), or a luxury SUV.
With the current line up, Jeep covers 4 of the 11 SUV subsegments, leaving a lot of room to its competitors. For instance, Volkswagen, which never had a SUV positioning, is now present in 7 of these subsegments. Jeep should target the tiny SUV segment (A-SUV) for India and South America; it should also develop a Coupe version of the Compass; a 7-seat version of the Cherokee; a D-Coupe SUV; a 7-seat and a Coupe version of the Grand Cherokee; and a luxury one that sits above the latter.
What’s next in THE plans?
Officially, Jeep is currently working on the new generation Grand Cherokee, a 7-seat version of the Compass and a luxury SUV. The next to arrive should be the all-new Grand Cherokee, but it is likely that plans changed following the pandemic outbreak. In any case, the brand needs to go faster in order to make use of the SUV boom and boost FCA global sales.
Source: FGW database, Jeep