Jeep Compass Trailhawk

2017 Jeep Compass Trailhawk

Searching for new buyers with car-based Jeeps in 2006, DaimlerChrysler assumed the more obviously car-like of the two new Jeeps, the Compass, would be more popular. Square, boxy, and later to the party, the Patriot would fill in the gaps with a more male-centric demographic.


From the get-go, the Jeep Patriot was the more popular of the two Dodge Caliber-related baby Jeeps. In the U.S., Jeep reported 53-percent more Patriot sales than Compass sales between 2007 and August 2016. In fact, the Patriot has outsold the Compass every year since its debut.

Naturally then, when it came time to wisely replace the antiquated and critically condemned first-generation Patriot and Compass with an all-new model, Jeep chose the Compass nameplate.

Wait a second, what?

We twice asked for comment from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Jeep’s parent company, regarding the name choice.

“At this point we’re not able to comment or provide further info prior to the LA auto show,” Jordan Wasylyk, the product PR manager for the Patriot and Compass in Canada, said.

Even with FCA’s silence on the issue, it’s not difficult to see the factors at play. True, the more traditionally boxy Jeep, the Patriot, was wildly more popular than the awkward Compass in both the U.S. and Canada. But Jeep is not an exclusively North American brand.

The 2017 Jeep Compass will initially be built in Brazil and sold in over 100 markets with 17 powertrain options.

Meanwhile, the old Compass is wildly more popular than the dying Patriot in — guess where? — global markets. Nearly three times more popular over the last three years.


2016 Jeep Compass & Patriot

The Jeep of 2017 is not intended to be an accurate facsimile of the brand with which you grew up. Owned by a Dutch-incorporated, London-headquartered automaker, Jeep’s latest model (the Renegade) is imported from an Italian assembly plant. But Jeep has consistently generated only one-quarter of the brand’s volume in global markets, the very markets which account for four-fifths of global new vehicle sales.

If Jeep’s global aspirations are ever to be cemented in reality, Jeep knows it must become more than the SUV answer to apple pie and rushing the quarterback.

Clearly Jeep believes that Compass, not Patriot, will play better where footballs are kicked into nets rather than through uprights.

Timothy Cain is the founder of, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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