The trend of record-breaking auto sales continued in April, and Fiat Chrysler was at the forefront of that wave with their best sales month since 2007 (back when they were just Chrysler, ‘natch) and Jeep’s best sales month ever. Turns out the 2015 Jeep Renegade is a big hit right off the bat.
The Detroit News reports that Fiat Chrysler as a whole sold 189,000 vehicles in April, a six percent year-over-year increase. For Chrysler itself that was 26 percent better than last April, and 20 percent for Jeep.
Jeep moved 71,759 vehicles in April, leading to the best sales month in their history, according to numbers from our friends at GoodCarBadCar. That was bolstered by 4,200 sales of the all-new Renegade, and continued strong sales of the Cherokee, which moved more than 19,000 units. I suspect the Renegade’s lesser numbers are because it’s brand-new and not as widely available yet, because that little SUV is pretty well-positioned to be a huge hit.
Why is Jeep doing so well? Lots of reasons. Widely available credit, a continued economic recovery, their best range of new models in a long time (possibly ever) and perhaps most importantly, a continuing trend of cheap gas prices that have allowed us to rekindle our love affair with what Bloomberg calls “larger, more rugged vehicles.”
Not that the Renegade or Cherokee are bad on gas, though, but they’re what people want. Meanwhile, Americans continue to use the cheaper gas prices to justify getting back into larger trucks and crossover SUVs, even though gas prices have increased 15 percent since the start of this year.
Part of this is because today’s generation of crossovers is far more fuel-efficient than their truck-based SUV predecessors, but they’re also just what we want and what we deserve, analysts tell Bloomberg:
American consumers have become convinced lower fuel prices are here to stay and they are reverting to the vehicle equivalent of comfort food: roomy SUVs and pickups. Their focus on fuel economy has waned.
[...] “Lower gas prices are influencing people tremendously,” said John Wolkonowicz, a Boston-based independent auto analyst and historian. “Big is what we want. Americans don’t want those little cars.”
This can only end well!