Jeep’s Deep Problem


People don’t want to buy Jeeps. That is one likely takeaway from a Wall Street Journal article on car companies with too much inventory. Jeep is near the top of that list at 102 days of inventory. Buick and Jaguar, two moribund brands, are barely worse off. The industry average is 60 days. (These are the most dangerous cars on the road today.)

Part of the problem is that Jeep sales have been horrible this year. Through the first quarter, they were down 20% to 154,203. Not a single model had an increase in sales. Sales of the top-selling Grand Cherokee (inappropriately named after an Indian nation) cratered 27% to 54,502.

Quality is also a problem. Consumer Reports recently trashed two models, as the Wrangler and Gladiator were both on the magazine’s “10 Least Reliable Cars” list. Whether or not every model is on the list, the overall effect harms the brand. Jeep has made a stab at improving quality, but the results are not evident yet.

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Jeep also has a small army of competitors. This certainly includes models from Honda, Toyota, Ford and Chevy. Each is manufactured by a car company with an impressive dealer network, product development, marketing and manufacturing expertise.

Jeep is famous as the first four-wheel drive vehicle. However, after eight decades, its best years may be behind it. Parent Stellantis North America will wring out what profits it can, but Jeep is not a major priority.

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