Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep SUV brand is struggling for market share in SUV-friendly Russia due to a lack of marketing and a small vehicle lineup.
According to data obtained by Wards Automotive, Jeep sales in Russia were at their highest in 2014 at 8,221 units, but dipped sharply to just 2,057 units in 2015 and fell further to 1,269 units in 2016. SUVs and crossovers are popular with consumers in Russia, so Jeep’s problem is related to the type of vehicle it’s offering.
Jeep’s issue in Russia, according to one automotive dealer that spoke to Wards, pertains to its model selection. The company isn’t importing its latest and most up-to-date vehicles, which would of course prove to be the most popular. Its lineup in the region consists of the Jeep Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited, the Renegade, the Grand Cherokee and the Cherokee. The Wrangler and Grand Cherokee are considered expensive by local standards, leaving the majority of consumers to pick between the subcompact Renegade or the mid-size Cherokee. With stiff competition in the crossover segment from rival automakers, it’s easy to se why Jeep is having trouble in Russia.
Contributing to its woes in the region are deteriorating relationships with some of the country’s major automotive dealer networks. Russia’s Autocenter Aurora recently terminated a contract with Jeep over “issues of business,”, while another dealer, Elva Motors, moved to do the same in the fall of 2016. A representative of Autocenter Aurora told Wards the company isn’t importing updated versions of its vehicles or the most desirable models, making it hard to sell them.