The Sell Out of the Jeep Gladiator Shows Good News for Midsize Trucks
Back when we announced the ability to preorder a Jeep® Gladiator Launch Edition on the Jeep website, we also talked about the “Find Your Freedom” contest that went with it. Whoever won that contest, only eligible to those that preordered the Gladiator Launch Edition would win a $100,000 salary. Now, we’re not sure if it’s the 100,000 big ones or Jeepers who just love the brand and the truck the automaker came out with, but preorders were available for just one day and that’s all it took. All 4,190 units of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator Launch Edition were, in essence, sold out. At $61,000 per unit, that’s quite the win for Jeep. It’s also a win for the midsize truck market and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA).
FCA and Midsize Trucks
Midsize trucks may seem foreign today, but they’re not completely extinct. The last midsize pickup truck the auto market may have seen was the Dodge Dakota, back when Ram was still partners with Dodge in 2011. Well, it wasn’t so hot, and sales led to FCA focusing on large or regular sized pickup trucks to add to their fleet. We’d say they made the right choice with the nonstop success of the 2019 Ram 1500, recently having been named “Truck of the Year” by the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press Association (RMAP) during their annual Rocky Mountain Vehicle of the Year awards. Can a next-generation vehicle do any better?
Well, when Jeep revealed the 2020 Jeep Gladiator truck at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show, the auto industry got shaken up. More importantly, the truck industry got a shock, with the Gladiator being a midsize pickup truck. The first of many, FCA revealed plans to start bringing midsize trucks back with the Gladiator, but they’ve also discussed designing a midsize Ram pickup truck that’s just waiting to make its big debut at an auto show soon. With the Jeep website nearly shutting down during the preorder rush of the Gladiator Launch Edition, the midsize truck segment is clearly still in demand, and that means we may start seeing more of them in the coming years.
Along with the success of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator launch and the mysterious midsize Ram truck, FCA is also planning to invest $1.6 billion to convert an old engine plant in Detroit into a new assembly plant for the Jeep Grand Cherokee large SUV and the revival of the Jeep Wagoneer we’re so eagerly waiting for. The last we heard of the Jeep Wagoneer or Jeep Grand Wagoneer was back in February 2019. News about the 2021 Jeep Wagoneer models painted a nice picture of alternative fuel and luxury, and it feels so far away.
Speaking of investments into facilities, back in the autumn of 2018, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) decided to invest $30 million into their Chelsea Proving Grounds facility to augment it for the testing grounds of their self-driving vehicles set for retail. Originally and most-likely still used for testing FCA prototypes, turning the Chelsea Proving Grounds into a self-driving testing facility consisted of adding a 6500 square-foot high-tech command center, equipped with computer monitoring systems to track their prototypes; a dedicated autonomous highway-speed track for a variety of conditions such as tunnels, obstacles, on- and off-ramps, and different lighting conditions; and a 35-acre safety-feature evaluation area to test automated parking and emergency braking systems.
It all sounds great, but time will tell. Check back with Aventura Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram social media to learn all about what FCA has planned with their new expanding lineup.