Less than a week ago, General Motors reported that sales were down 20 percent for the first quarter of 2022. That sounds like bad news—and it is—but in context, it’s average: Nissan is down nearly 30 percent despite strong Frontier sales, Honda is off by 23 percent, and Toyota dropped by 15 percent. Hyundai is faring much better, seeing a decline of only four percent. With those numbers in mind, Stellantis is not doing too badly with a 14 percent downturn in U.S. sales. And embedded in that number is actually a bright spot.
Jeep sales have only dropped by two percent, largely on the backs of its updated Grand Cherokee and all-new Wagoneer line. Interestingly, the Wagoneer has outsold the Grand Wagoneer at a ratio of two to one; 7,055 Wagoneers were sold in Q1 to 3,169 Grand Wagoneers.
The difference in price between the two is staggering. Jeep’s Wagoneer starts at about $60,000 while the Grand Wagoneer takes its first name very seriously, adding nearly 30 grand to the base cost. Powerplants are also different; the Wagoneer brings a 392-hp, 5.7-liter V8 engine to the party while the Grand Wagoneer has a standard 471-hp 6.4-liter V8. Both are beefy behemoths on the road. I drove the Grand Wagoneer for 2,600 miles last year to evaluate it myself, and it does have a lot going for it, price aside.
Stellantis also reported that the Grand Cherokee had its best-ever Q1 total sales, which are up by 36 percent. Considering the long history of the Grand Cherokee, that’s a noteworthy feat. Retail sales were also up by an impressive amount, finishing the quarter up 44 percent.
Autotrader analyst Michelle Krebs told the Detroit Free Press that Stellantis could have done better.
"Stellantis sales came in a bit lower than we expected," Krebs said. "The automaker has done a pretty good job focusing on maintaining and building inventory of its biggest profit-margin vehicles like Ram trucks and Jeeps. Both Ram and Jeep have inventory that is at the high end of the spectrum."
With the market experiencing a lot of turbulence due to a number of financial factors and chip shortages not letting up any time soon, it will be interesting to see what happens in Q2.
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