A few days ago, we posted the following news item (and today we seek to explain it):
A reader pointed out that the Jeep UK site has no mention of the Jeep Patriot, though it features the Compass, Grand Cherokee, and Wrangler. The reader wrote that Patriot international orders for late summer/early fall delivery were cancelled by the factory without notice, and the next available builds and shipments will not take place until late October or November. He wrote:
“Both the Patriot and Compass have been runaway successes in our small Bermuda market and we hear the same is true in much of the Caribbean as well. It’s a shame the factory is apparently putting the North American markets ahead of so much international interest in the vehicles. Maybe Sergio should take a second look at ending their run at the end of next year and consider how much interest both CUVs have generated outside the US and Canada.”
Our reader contacted us to provide some explanations:
I’ve continued my research on worldwide Chrysler/Jeep sites and am reaching the conclusion that Chrysler must be pursuing some kind of allocation strategy for world markets between Patriot and Compass. One or the other is available on specific national or regional Chrysler/Jeep websites, in some cases both are advertised, and once in a while neither appears. It makes me wonder if that’s a Chrysler/Jeep decision or if the dealers in a specific market choose not to carry one or the other model, or neither of them.
I must admit I was surprised when the Patriot was dropped from the UK website since it had been in their market for some time. The Patriot outsells the Compass in Bermuda - many are now buying the Compass only because of the sudden delay in shipment of Patriots caused by the summer order cancellation. Most of the next batch of Patriots that were supposed to be delivered during the summer had been presold and the production delay was not greeted warmly.
If the Patriot were not such a unique vehicle for our very restricted market – its size just barely squeaks into the upper limit of our personal vehicle classes – I think many of those who ordered the cars would have gone elsewhere. Our vehicle rules on the island are pretty strange and the Patriot was a breath of fresh air – so nice to have a ‘big car’ option other than a Suzuki APV, especially one as good as the Patriot/Compass. And not to be jingo-istic but I do enjoy driving a ragingly American car in a land of Renaults, Peugeots, English Fords, Fiats, and Kias.
Most countries have unique rules and regulations. As an example, when our dealer in Bermuda orders Patriots they have to be scheduled for a special build because the privacy window tint that is standard on the Patriot is about 3 shades too dark to be allowed by Bermuda’s rules. So our Patriots are built without any window shading on the side and rear glass. The dealer also said the diesel engine option that is available on Patriots built for European markets was not offered for our market – I gather that is true in some of the far east markets as well. Our Renault, Peugeot, Ford, Fiat, and some of the Japanese models offer diesel options, so one wonders why Chrysler would not compete in all markets since the cars all come off the same assembly line.
Our biggest issue on this little island is vehicle size. The Patriot/Compass is the only SUV-type vehicle currently available here that squeezes into our maximum length/width restrictions for personal autos. If you saw our roads you’d understand why we have the limitations. We have lost from our market the small SUVs from Toyota, Hyundai, Kia, Honda and even the MPVs from Ford UK, Peugeot and Renault because as new generations were introduced they were too big to be imported.
Just to show you how silly it gets, the Peugeot 308 four door hatchback sedan can only be brought in with the side rub strip trim removed, because leaving it in place makes the car about 1/4″ too wide for the regulations. The trim is packed in the car and the dealer replaces it after the cars have been inspected and cleared by Customs and the Transport authority.
I am keeping my fingers crossed that whatever Sergio has in mind to replace the Patriot/Compass will still respect our size limits so we can continue to enjoy the cars. I also hope he understands that a Jeep is not a Fiat and that customers will know the difference.
After a lifetime of easy availability of cars in the US it is certainly an eye-opener to live in a small market where the dealers and customers are at the mercy of a company’s moment to moment decisions. I guess we sometimes don’t appreciate how good we have it in the States without all these strange rules and restrictions.