If you didn’t pop into a Fiat Chrysler dealer last month to pick up a Jeep Wrangler, congratulations, you’re now a nonconformist.
April was the best-ever U.S. sales month for the go-anywhere model, but the cause had more to do with availability than Americans suddenly discovering their rugged side. With old and new models rolling off of two Toledo assembly lines, buyers found themselves spoiled for choice. (The JK model ceased production on April 27th).
How well did the Wrangler do last month? The model accounted for almost as many sales as the entire Acura and Infiniti brands combined.
Some 29,776 Wranglers left U.S. dealer lots in April — a 58 percent year-over-year increase for the model. Following on the heels of another record sales month, April’s tally helped pushed Wrangler’s year-to-date volume up 42 percent.
The 12-year-old JK model continued in production for a period of about six months after FCA flipped the switch on its revamped 2018 JL models. The old JK’s line now undergoes retooling for the upcoming Wrangler pickup, tentatively named the Scrambler.
While the production overlap provided all the vehicles a dealer (or customer) could want, all things eventually come to an end. This isn’t a Ram 1500 situation. Once JK inventory dwindles, the JL will have to stand on its own. (The Toledo Blade reports that local dealers spent this spring selling JKs and JLs in roughly equal numbers.)
Still, the Wrangler’s riding high now, and Jeep’s happy about it. Increased sales of the Wrangler nameplate helped push the Jeep brand to a 20 percent year-over-year sales gain for April, with volume up 21 percent over the first four months of 2018. With the exception of Alfa Romeo, Jeep is the only FCA division with a positive year-to-date sales figure. A larger, all-around better Compass helped overall sales, as well.
It’s a similar story north of the border. Wrangler sales rose 54 percent, year over year, in April, with the model posting a 158 percent volume increase over the first four months of the year. Sales of Jeep-branded vehicles rose 30 percent over that same period.
Canadians suffering from near-record gas prices are no doubt eagerly awaiting the Wrangler JL’s available turbo 2.0-liter/eight-speed powertrain combo. Right now, dealers stock only 3.6-liter variants.
(Stay tuned for an industry-wide roundup of April 2018 sales figures. We’ll get that for you once all automakers report.)
[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]