Is the Cherokee still up to the task?
Ford has had enough of Jeep ruling the American off-road SUV market. The new Ford Bronco and Bronco Sport aim to change the rules of the game and already the Blue Oval is seeing the benefits. The Bronco SUV is expected to arrive in dealerships this summer but the Bronco Sport has been on sale for months. It's been a massive hit since day one.
Thanks to its standard all-wheel drive, powerful engine options, and outstanding suspension, the Bronco Sport has proven itself to be a highly capable off-roader while still serving as a comfortable daily driver. Does that formula sound familiar? It should, because it's exactly the same one Jeep follows with the likes of the Cherokee and Grand Cherokee.
Only now Ford has raised the stakes. The automaker recently released its May sales figures and a closer examination of the side notes reveals something quite interesting: Bronco Sports. No. 1 source of sales is coming from Jeep. Ford managed to sell an impressive 14,947 units last month, a 6.9 percent increase from April which previously held the best monthly sales performance status.
Equally important, Ford says it's been seeing a greater number of conquests, meaning buyers who've been lured over from a rivaling brand. Ford has confirmed 63 percent of Bronco Sport sales are now coming from outside of the brand, with the most coming from Jeep.
What can Jeep do about this? A completely redesigned Jeep Grand Cherokee is due in the very near future but it's not a direct Bronco Sport rival. That honor belongs to the Cherokee, an SUV that dates back to 2014. A 2019 model year facelift brought some styling and trim updates but nothing substantial. A major redesign is now needed.
The Bronco Sport's success combined with America's increasing thirst for SUVs will definitely force Jeep to pick up the next-generation Cherokee development pace. So far this year, Ford has sold almost 52,000 Bronco Sports. A price increase beginning this month isn't likely to dampen sales.