Sure, consumers may say that fuel economy is important. They rank it as the second thing they look for when considering a vehicle, right behind value for their money.
But look behind the overall statistics and a more complicated picture emerges, says Bob Lee, head of Fiat and Chrysler global powertrain.
The typical Jeep Wrangler buyer, Lee notes, places fuel economy No. 9 on a list of what they are looking for. For a Dodge Ram buyer, fuel economy ranks even lower, at No. 19.
Ram buyers place towing capacity far higher, he says, while Wrangler customers care more about climbing rocks than the number of gallons of gasoline their Jeep will use.