Jeep Sales Grow With a Long Way to Go in `Incredibly Busy' 2018

(Bloomberg) -- Jeep has had a hot start to the year thanks to growth around the globe, but it may not be enough to meet Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV CEO Sergio Marchionne’s goal of selling 2 million of the sport utility vehicles this year.

A new Wrangler, spruced-up Cherokee, continued rollout of the Compass and the China-exclusive Commander make for a “very busy start for the year,” Mike Manley, the head of the Jeep brand, said Tuesday.

While Jeep sales are up 14 percent in the first two months of the year, the brand needs worldwide growth of more than 40 percent in 2018 to meet its goal. The company doesn’t typically report global sales by brand. Trade magazine Automotive News reported that the brand’s total sales slipped less than 1 percent last year to 1.39 million.

“We’ve been public in terms of what we hope to be able to achieve this year, so there’s a long, long way to go. But I’m relatively pleased with the start we had,” Manley told reporters at the automaker’s Auburn Hills, Michigan, design dome, where the company was showing off concept vehicles to take to the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah.

At the event, thousands of enthusiasts will gather to steer their SUVs through picturesque, high-desert trails, a turnout that “really does represent the spirit of Jeep,” Manley said.

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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