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Cherokee vs Wrangler race, revisited

by David Zatz on

When we last visited the sales race between the new FWD/AWD Jeep Cherokee and the 4×4-only Jeep Wrangler — a fully modern, lighter-duty vehicle and a heavy-duty traditional standby — the Wrangler had been falling behind.  One reason is restricted production: Daimler did not build the plant with any expansion in mind, and it is surrounded by support facilities.

2015 Jeep Wrangler Altitude


Those constraints will not ease until, ironically, the Wrangler takes over the Cherokee’s plant, pushing the more modern Jeep out of Ohio.

The Wrangler sells despite the lack of a recent redesign or most of the Cherokee’s gizmos and creature comforts. It is limited to an older five-speed automatic, while the Cherokee has a nine-speed which has been upgraded for the 2016 model year.

18-inch wheels with pad prints

With November’s sales in and just one more month to go, the newer vehicle has a definite lead over any other Jeep in the US.  American buyers have picked up 196,211 Jeep Cherokees, versus 187,111 Jeep Wranglers and 174,950 Jeep Grand Cherokees.

Outside North America, the Cherokee appears to outsell the Wrangler, so worldwide sales emphasize the gap.

To catch up, the Wrangler would have to beat the Cherokee by 9,101 vehicles, which seems unlikely for an SUV with November sales of 13,847.


The other Jeep race is between the new Jeep Renegade and the Jeep Compass, and that one is closer. The old Compass’ November sales were up by 19% over last year, but at 4,886 to the Renegade’s 7,345, the writing is on the wall. Jeep has sold 57,873 Compasses in the US, and 51,971 Renegades. That means Renegade has to increase its 2,500-car lead to 5,903 cars to beat the Compass for the year, which seems unlikely. For 2016, though, the Renegade is likely to be the winner — unless it’s pitched against the Patriot. The Patriot has had sales of 107,258 so far, over double that of the Renegade, and the Patriot was a thousand sales over the Renegade in November.

For 2016, we envision similar results: Cherokee on top, followed by Wrangler, then Cherokee, then Patriot. Compass and Renegade are fighting for last place until a new Compass is built.

Finally, one disclaimer: while there are two Jeep Wranglers, two door and four door, on different wheelbases, there are also two cars using the same basic chassis on the Grand Cherokee side. The Dodge Durango adds 56,562 sales if you count it — easily pushing the Grand Cherokee/Durango combined over any other Jeep, with 30,000 sales to spare.

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