Funny that you guys mention the Patriot not selling well... here in Fairbanks, AK I see a lot of Patriots driving around. As far as I see the Patriot sells well. But the Alaskan market is nothing like on the lower 48, our small city of 50,000 is Subaru's third largest market per capita. Alaskan tend to be very utilitarian, most cars here are either full size trucks or Subarus... The Patriot kind of fits with Subaru's utilitarian image of a go-anywhere, four wheel drive wagon.
I have considered buying a Patriot for my wife because I want to replace my 08 Forester, station wagon style, and the new Forester does not entice me with its upright, looks-like-a-RAV4 SUV style. I have grown tired of Subaru's new partnership with Toyota and the way it is going away from its independent, quirky, utilitarian ways to become just another Japanese people-mover manufacturer. Subaru had station wagons across their whole product line (Impreza, Forester and Legacy/Outback), but now only the Outback remains.
The Patriot has what I like on a passenger car: decent gas mileage, roomy interior, practical and utilitarian wagon body, and the Patriot Limited with Trail Rated Badge has some very good off road manners (Jeep Patriot Review Off Road Test
), plus low gears. I also happen to like its styling.
I can't say the same about the Compass, I think its styling sucks, it ids fugly from all sides, and being the only Jeep that cannot be bought with a Trail Rated badge... why sell it as a Jeep at all? It's a frigging Dodge Caliber with a Jeep-look-alike body kit! (yeah, so is the Patriot, but at least you can take it off road).
As far as the Chrysler/Jeep relationship: I could care less about Chrysler. I never liked their products, I have owned a few and they always let me down. Jeep has always been my favorite US brand. I bought my TJ in full knowledge that it did not have a Chrysler engine or transmission in it.
Ironically, Jeep is a brand with a lot of market appeal, but it is a brand that jinxes whoever owns it. Bantam, Willys, Kaiser, AMC, Renault in the US, Chrysler... whoever owns it evetually is doomed to go down or to be sold out. Funny thing is, the Jeep brand survives. FIAT might own Jeep for a decade or so, Jeeps will evolve as they always did, the newer generations of Jeeps will enfuriate owners of older Jeeps (CJ owners moaned and whined when the YJ came out). Eventually Jeep might bring FIAT down, then it will be sold to some other industrial conglomerate, hopefully American, and live on to make newer and better Jeeps.
I am sure twenty years from now when the Wrangler's descendent hits the showroom JK owners will reminisce about how much more of a Jeep the old JK was, same way CJ owners might feel about the YJ, TJ, JK, ZJ, MK...