The pickup's high base price seems to be an issue.
The Jeep Gladiator has a lot going for it. It's currently the brand's only pickup in a country that's obsessed with them. It's got that badge on it, a promise of excellent off-road capability. And it's got a lot in common with the much-loved Wrangler. Despite all of this, dealer discounts of up to $9,000 have been spotted in recent weeks, according to a report from Automotive News.
That's a giant price cut, considering that the Gladiator is pretty much an all-new truck that shouldn't be struggling to find homes. According to the Automotive News Data Center's estimates, sales of the Gladiator registered a reasonable 6,000 in October 2019 but dipped again after that.
With a current starting MSRP of $33,545, the Gladiator starts off at a much higher price point than the Ford Ranger's base model which kicks off at $24,410. A $9,000 discount would bring the Gladiator much closer to the Ranger and dramatically improve the Jeep's value proposition. With around 40,000 midsize pickup trucks sold in 2019, Jeep's sales lag far behind the Toyota Tacoma (248,801) and Ford Ranger (89,571) over the same period.
Although, maybe the Gladiator shouldn't pursue volume. In June 2019, the Jeep Gladiator was selling for nearly $60,000 on average, implying that customers highly desire the top-shelf Rubicon model over all things. It's also the most accessorized vehicle in Mopar's entire portfolio, surpassing even the Wrangler. These data points imply that the mighty Jeep truck could go even higher upmarket.
Despite the sales struggles, not all dealers are panicking just yet. The general manager of Millsboro Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Delaware suggested that the Jeep may have started out as a left-field alternative in the segment, but it's plausible that the pickup could challenge the sales volumes of the likes of the Ford Ranger and the Nissan Frontier. Big incentives, naturally, will help the Gladiator to achieve that.
The Houston-based dealer principal at Helfman Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep-Ram-Fiat, Steve Wolf, merely describes the incentives on the Jeep pickup as highlighting a competitive industry. He also said that some competitors provide greater incentives, so a "retail/incentive message" is needed. His own dealership recently offered a Gladiator Overland with a total discount of $5,923 (including FCA's bonus).
Whatever the case, things are vastly different at Toyota, where Tacoma incentives only exceeded $2,000 once in 2019, based on information from Motor Intelligence. With FCA now only reporting quarterly sales figures, we'll have to wait a bit longer to find out if the big incentives have a positive impact on Gladiator sales.