Like most of you I was pretty excited about the new Jeep Renegade, and I don’t even really like crossovers. Jeep clearly had history and hype on its side when it launched the nameplate, but last month Honda crashed the crossover party with the HR-V and left Jeep in the dust. So how did they do it?
According to GoodCarBadCar.net, Honda sold 6,381 HR-Vs in its debut month. What is surprising, is that the HR-V outsold what is arguably the more appealing Jeep Renegade. Jeep managed to move only 4,416 Renegades.
It is important to mention that the HR-V crossover did not have the same level of auto-journo excitement nor a long established ad campaign (Jeep started advertising the Renegade back in February). Remember, this is a segment that targets those all important millennial buyers where style and technology are a top priority. Despite the Jeep looking the part a little better, it seems that young people will gravitate to a safe bet. Wards Auto reports that a third of the HR-V buyers were new to the Honda brand.
However, they may be more going on here than just style and substance. Normally domestic cars offer significantly lower price points than their import rivals, but in this case Honda may have won the value game. The Renegade has a starting MSRP of $18,990, that is only about $1,000 cheaper than the base HR-V $19,995. On a purchase that extra grand may play a significant role, but more and more young people are leasing their inexpensive cars and this is where Jeep is getting clobbered.
On Jeep’s website they have an advertised lease special on a 2WD Sport, manual Renegade with A/C and upgraded radio that carries an MSRP of $21,685. With a down-payment of $2,999 and 12,000 miles per year, payments would be $229 a month for 36 months (before taxes and fees).
Honda currently does not have any advertised lease specials for the H-RV, because it is too new to establish those incentives, but they are offering a CR-V LX AWD with automatic trans (MSRP $25,575) for $209/mo for 36 months and only $2,199 down (before taxes and fees).
In summary, Honda will lease you a larger, more expensive crossover for less money down and a lower monthly payment. They are able to do so because of a strong resale value.
To give you a real world example, I had a customer in New Jersey that wanted to lease a four-wheel drive or all-wheel drive crossover for 36 months 12,000 miles per year and had $3,000 to put down. They wanted to be under $300 a month (including all taxes and fees). This customer wasn’t set on any one particular car, but did mention she liked the Renegade. On a $24,000 Jeep, the lease quote was $299 a month with $3,000 down. On a $31,000 Nissan Rogue SL AWD, it was $276 a month with $3,000 down. She went with the Nissan. Jeep’s low residual values are essentially pricing it out of the market when it comes to leases.
In addition to the lease advantage, Honda also seems have hit a sweet spot when it comes to options and pricing. A loaded HR-V AWD stickers for $26,720 and is equipped with navigation, leather seats, Honda Lane Watch and other goodies. If you want similar equipment on a mid-level Renegade Latitude 4WD, Jeep will make you bundle the options for a total MSRP of $28,570. The Renegade will come with a few more bells and whistles and a “Trail Rated” four-wheel-drive system, but most buyers in this segment don’t care about off-road ability and many will find it hard to justify the almost $2000 premium.
The Renegade is certainly a fun little crossover for the money, but those buyers that want to get their hands on one may want to wait until the inventory builds up and it forces Jeep to throw some heavy incentives in order to drive the price down. Or you can pick up a heavily depreciated example in a year or two.
If you have a question, a tip, or something you would like to to share about car-buying, drop me a line at AutomatchConsulting@gmail.com and be sure to include your Kinja handle.