The Jeep Wrangler continues to be instantly recognizable all over the world as time goes on, thanks to legendary off-road capabilities and a recognizable design language over the decades that the nameplate has been in service. It also feels like every time Jeep rolls out a new generation of the Wrangler, the brand might as well have won the Super Bowl. It’s the Wrangler that the entire Jeep brand orbits around, and it continues to retain customers in the fold, along with bringing in a few new faces.
Recurring customers for the new JL Jeep Wrangler are, of course, “primarily JK owners,” according to Jeep North America Director Scott Tallon. But then he mentioned a bit of a surprise customer: people willingly trading in their iconic American muscle cars/pony cars.
The pony car/muscle car segment consisting of the Camaro, Challenger and Mustang has taken a dip in sales over the past few years, and it would be huge if the Wrangler was some sort of reason as to why.
It’s actually in all likelihood that this trade-in phenomenon perhaps points to something outside of the myopic spreadsheets. After all, the Mustang, Camaro, Challenger and Wrangler all have something in common: they are American icons. They’re lifestyle vehicles. They’re discretionary. Buyers don’t need them, they want them. They want these vehicles for the Americana: a style and personality that only these vehicles can deliver. Additionally, there’s another data point that drives this notion home. And that is in regards to full size trucks.
“Continuing a trend we’ve seen for years was trade-ins from full-size pickup truck buyers… Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado,” said Tallon. While these vehicles are more utilitarian than the muscle cars, they share the same archetype as with the Jeep Wrangler.
As for the 2020 Jeep Gladiator, trade-ins for these vehicles have largely been mid-size and full-size truck trade ins, according to Tallon. High on the list is the Toyota Tacoma, and then the Chevrolet Colorado.
Will the 2021 Ford Bronco have the same effect on the American icon market? We won’t have to wait much longer to find out.