Jeep’s Back Is Against The Wall

Estimated read time 4 min read

Stellantis’ cash cow has been put out to pasture.

It’s no secret the crazy days of sky-high new car prices are coming to a close, but Jeep has an even deeper problem on its hands. Once the ultimate cash cow and the envy of the industry, consumers have suddenly soured on the brand. That’s not good news for Stellantis and its future plans.

Check out how one dealer is hiding its excess Jeep stock here.

As we covered before, Jeep bottomed out in Q1 of this year with sales falling 20% to a level the brand hasn’t experienced in six years. We’re sure Stellantis executives were hopeful that was just a single quarter blip, but Q2 sales still were down 11% as the cash cow seems to be drying up as the slump really started two years ago.

For Q1 2023 three models were the albatross around Jeep’s neck: the Grand Cherokee, Wagoneer, and Grand Wagoneer. With those also being the big money makers for the brand, that put a real dent in Stellantis’ wallet. Surprisingly, the Wagoneer was the only Jeep model to not see a sales drop but in fact got a nice 61% bump, although only 860 were sold.

It was the Renegade that saw the biggest percentage drop this time at 50%, followed by the Grand Wagoneer at 40%. What’s even more shocking was the Gladiator, which was like a money machine for Jeep before, saw sales plummet 33%. Interestingly, Wrangler sales slumped 17%.

In other words, it seems the Jeep brand as a whole just isn’t bringing in customers. There are many theories about why that might be, although you can skip past anyone claiming it’s just a single model dragging Jeep down. This seems to be an across-the-board problem.

One glaring sign of the magic of Jeep tarnishing is the golden boy Wrangler getting a price reduction for the 2024 model year. MSRP for the base Sport trim is $33,690 and while a $700 drop isn’t huge, this does signal that Jeep’s favorite child is needing to actually be competitive.

The new Ford Bronco has been directly competing with the Wrangler, and with the announcement of the new Toyota Land Cruiser with a price point more on par with the top-of-the-line Wranglers, the competition is heating up.

But that’s just the Wrangler. Why are other Jeep models struggling as well? And why is the brand as a whole tanking so much? There are many opinions, but the most probable are as follows:

Jeeps have become too expensive. Just try buying a new Wrangler these days and you’ll see what we’re talking about. And don’t even get us started on the Grand Wagoneer, which Jeep thought would compete for Range Rover sales. Many enthusiasts are holding onto their older Jeeps for this reason alone.

Jeep has gotten away from its rugged roots. The Grand Cherokee and Cherokee have gone soft (at least the Cherokee has been retired again, for now). The only truly rugged models are the Gladiator and Wrangler, but those come loaded with so many luxuries they feel not so much like a Jeep anymore. Plus, all those luxuries have helped fuel price increases.

Jeep is leaning into electrification hard and it’s turning off its core enthusiasts. This one is controversial because some very vocal people try to pretend it’s the opposite, that Jeep has fallen behind in electrification and so people are turning their backs on the brand. But we’ve found most off-road enthusiasts like tried and proven technologies, so they’re wary of hybrids and especially EVs used on remote trails. And we can’t blame them. Plus this has helped fuel the price increases. Seeing a trend yet?

The big question is will Stellantis turn Jeep around?

Images via Stellantis

Steven Symes https://writerstevensymes.com/

Steven Symes is an accomplished automotive journalist with a passion for all things related to cars. His extensive knowledge and love for the automotive world shine through in his writing, which covers a diverse range of topics.

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