I was shocked to learn today that the Jeep Wrangler has the best residual value of any mainstream car in Japan. Better than the Europeans, Japanese or any other brand. US cars used to be thought of in Japan as the laughing stock of retained value. In three years owners expected it would be worth near as makes no difference – zero. Yet the Wrangler holds 70% of its value after 3 years here. Depreciation on most things is almost anvil off a cliff type price action. It is no surprise that Jeep has grown from 1000 units in 2009 to over 10,000 today. Even dealers have a massively positive outlook which is almost unheard of among the auto makers. Most are so conservative that they look to flat to down as an annual target. The FCA management is on another league here and it shows.
I was also checking the Fiat Chrysler financials and share price. The stock has tripled in the last 12 months and the margins are up there with the pack with greatly shrunken debt and growth. When I covered the stock in 2000, Fiat was a laughing stock. Tail end Charlie and the butt of jokes – how things change when you focus on customer needs.