Jeep is seeing record sales of the Wrangler, Through November, sales climbed 25 percent over 2017, to 220,232 vehicles. This year also saw monthly sales record of 29,776 Wranglers sold in April.
But there is a bit of problem with the Wrangler. According to Automotive News, dealers have over a 100-day supply of the model. In the beginning of November, dealers were sitting on a 156-day supply of Wranglers. The number has fallen to 135-days at the beginning of this month. But it is still a perplexing problem. How can Jeep dealers have such a huge backlog of Wranglers, despite selling a fair number of them?
There are two reasons. The first deals with production. FCA's Toledo, Ohio plant has undergone some changes that allow it to produce nearly double amount of vehicles of the previous line. CEO Mike Manley has said the additional capacity will allow Jeep to expand sales of the Wrangler to other markets.
But the other reason is a bit troubling. Some dealers tell AN that the Wrangler is getting too expensive. The starting price of the Wrangler two-door rose $3,950 over the previous generation, while the four-door Unlimited jumped $3,550. The Wrangler is one of the few FCA vehicles that "has traditionally been retailed with little or no consumer cash".
"I have the largest Wrangler supply I have ever had. That car has gone up in the last three years $12,000! These freakin' things are $55,000 now. I think that vehicle is price-sensitive, and I think they went a little far with the pricing. They were a little aggressive," said an unnamed dealer in the Midwest.
The dealer said the "higher average transaction prices" could lead to higher resale value, "but it's bad when you start putting the price to the point where consumers can't buy them."
Other dealers are confident they can continue to sell the Wrangler, despite the higher prices.
"We've built capacity and just need to continue to adjust to it. I don't think there's an issue for that car at all," said Eric Nielsen, dealer principal at Nielsen Automotive Group in northern New Jersey.
"As with any vehicle within the industry, there is some seasonality when it comes to the Wrangler, and dealers are already preparing for a strong spring," a spokesman for FCA told AN.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)