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Clean Transport

Jeep Claims Wrangler 4xe Is Now The Top-Selling PHEV In The US

In its Q2 2021 press release issued on July 1, FCA/Stellantis had two statements that made me do a doubletake:

  • Jeep Wrangler 4xe – No. 1 best-selling plug-in hybrid.
  • Since the full launch of the Wrangler 4xe earlier this year, it quickly became the No. 1 best-selling plug-in hybrid in the marketplace.

Wow, I thought, after only a few months on the market the Wrangler 4xe PHEV — with only 21 miles of EPA range, but qualifying for the full $7,500 federal EV tax credit because of its 17 kWh battery pack — was already the number one-selling PHEV in the US.

2021 Jeep Wrangler 4xe

So reading the press release further and downloading the sales PDF, I discovered that FCA/Stellantis does not provide any support for these statements and does not share any sales numbers for the 4xe. The only numbers included are for overall Wrangler sales.

Jeep Q2 2021 Sales

Image source: Stellantis

Numbers or not, I knew intuitively that it would be quite impressive if the Wrangler 4xe outsold the Toyota Prius Prime in its first full quarter on the market. So to try and validate the claim from FCA/Stellantis, I dove into the numbers and reached out to its PR team.

While Toyota seems to be a punching bag recently among the EV crowd, I give the company credit for actually breaking out sales numbers for its hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and fuel cell vehicles, something that almost no other OEM does with their US sales reports. That said, the numbers in the latest press release are only for the 1H and month of June, which then requires some Excel work and estimations to dig deeper.

Toyota 1H 2021 Alternative Powertrain Vehicle Sales

Source: Toyota Motor North America

As you can see in the above screenshot of the Toyota table, the Prius Prime sold 18,862 units in the first half of 2021 and 3,087 in June. Since GM discontinued the Chevrolet Volt, the Prius Prime (AFAIK) has been the top-selling PHEV in the US. (The Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV, and now the RAV4 Prime, are the only plug-in hybrids with official public sales data being reported by the automakers.)

Toyota Prius Prime - website-specs-photo

Image source: Toyota North America

So armed with this data and confidence that the Prius Prime was (at least until now), the top-selling PHEV in the US, I emailed several people on the FCA/Stellantis PR team. If the 4xe is indeed the #1-selling PHEV, that is actually quite an impressive milestone and I wanted to confirm the claim.

After three email exchanges with Rick Deneau at Stellantis, here is where I ended up. The estimate I shared with Denau was that “sales for the Prime were 11,867 for Q2 and 3,087 for June. So, can you confirm the 4xe exceeded ~7,500 for the combined May and June?”

Deneau responded: “In short, we show higher sales in May, June, and for the 2nd qu overall”

So while still not sharing actual numbers for the 4xe, Deneau was confirming that the new PHEV sold more units in Q2 and May and June than the Prius Prime. I have to trust that this is true, but unless Stellantis has access to data that no one else has, how did they know on June 30 when they wrote the press release and before Toyota released its 1H numbers, that the 4xe outsold the Prius Prime?

H 2021 sales for various PHEVs-chart

In the chart above I’ve included Q1, Q2, and 1H sales of various PHEVs where sales numbers were either reported or easily estimated — plus the Wrangler 4xe. (Note: I’m in the process of building models to estimate the sales of other PHEVs — where sales data is not reported — from Volvo, Polestar, Hyundai, Kia, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Mini, Porsche, Subaru, Bentley, Land Rover, Lincoln, Chrysler, and Karma — but they were not ready in time for this article.)

So what, if anything, does the apparent strong sales of the Wrangler 4xe portend? If the tweet below is any indication, the Wrangler 4xe is selling well not because it is a PHEV, but because it is cheaper to lease than a regular Wrangler.

Jeep Wrangerl 4xe tweet from Ed- no idea it was a PHEV

In fact, a check of the Jeep website provides a strong clue. Despite costing nearly $21,000 more than the regular Wrangler, the 4xe lease payment is $80 less per month.

Jeep Wrangler 4xe-Wrangler MSRP vs lease cost

Source: Screenshots from the Jeep website

Will the Wrangler 4xe remain at the top of the PHEV charts? My guess is that once Ford gets through the chip shortage and can produce the Escape PHEV, with its 39 miles of range, it could and should surpass the 4xe and Prius Prime. 

However, if Toyota would actually produce enough units of the RAV4 Prime (the regular RAV4 is the #4 selling-vehicle in the US), it would no doubt become the number one-selling PHEV in the US. And this fall, the Lexus NX 450h+ PHEV with 36 miles of EPA range arrives at US Lexus dealers. While pricing is not yet available, I expect it to be among the top 3 to 4 top-selling PHEVs in the US in 2022.

2022-Lexus-NX-450h+ PHEV

Image source: Lexus

While I’m well aware that a large percentage of CleanTechnica readers are not fans of PHEVs, they aren’t going away anytime soon, and several models could see very strong sales in the coming years. PHEVs with 30-40+ miles of range (and yes, when they are regularly plugged in), are a great solution for many households and can be a stepping stone to buying a BEV. One thing we desperately do need to change in the US, however, is to reduce the federal EV tax credit amount, make it based on range, and like California’s rebate, have a minimum range requirement.


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Written By

Loren writes about the factors driving adoption of electric vehicles and the opportunities and challenges the transition to EVs presents companies and entrepreneurs in the auto, utility, energy, retail and other industries. He provides market analysis, consulting, and marketing services to companies in the EV and EV charging industry. His research and analysis are published on CleanTechnica and his website.


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