The Jeep Gladiator Is Struggling

The Jeep Gladiator Is Struggling

The 2020 Jeep Gladiator is on Struggle Street, according to Automotive News, an outcome which is somewhat surprising but one which we sort of saw coming last month. It seems that $US33,545 ($50,246) is a lot of money to pay for a pickup.

By Jeep standards, that price is about in line with what you’d pay for other Jeeps—the base price for a Wrangler is $US28,295 ($42,382)—but it does seem remarkable that the Gladiator is the priciest of any standard Jeep vehicle, and for no good apparent reason.

Here are those prices per Jeep’s website:

But that’s all on paper (or at least the internet) at least, since Auto News says that the discounts have been heavy after sales dipped post-launch.

The Gladiator is competing with trucks like the Chevy Colorado and the Ford Ranger, both of which have a base price of less than $US30,000 ($44,936). It also apparently is drawing competition from inside its own house.

One dealer who asked not to be identified said the Gladiator has been pulling customers from the Wrangler, which is fairly close to the pickup’s pricing. The dealer considers both vehicles to be overpriced.

“We were selling [Gladiators] until the last couple of months. We were actually selling the high-end stuff, but again, that’s because of the newness of it, and everybody coming out to buy the one with all the equipment,” the dealer said. “But let’s call a spade a spade; $US30,000 ($44,936) to $US45,000 ($67,404) is the range that we should be in.”

Jeep thinks it can challenge Ranger and Colorado in terms of volume.

“At first when we talked about the launch and everything else, they weren’t coming in this place saying we’re going to attack Ranger,” [Jeffrey Burnett, general manager of Millsboro Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram in Delaware] said. “They came to this place saying we’re going to have a vehicle unlike anybody else. Now I think they’re going into, ‘You know what? We can attack Ranger; we can attack [the Nissan] Frontier.’ “

Burnett said his store is selling 15 to 25 Gladiators a month, which isn’t far off from its numbers for the Wrangler and light-duty Ram. Nationally, Gladiator sales peaked at more than 6,000 in October before falling back slightly in November and December, according to estimates from the Automotive News Data Centre, while sales of the Wrangler and Ranger increased as the fourth quarter went on.

The Gladiator is a strange beast. Our own Jeep obsessive David Tracy absolutely loves it, but whenever I see it I get a nagging feeling about really just wanting an old Comanche. The Gladiator seems like too much in just about every department, though then again that describes almost every truck these days. Mainly it just seems sad that Jeep’s ostensible objective is to beat the Nissan Frontier.

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