With its first pickup in 27 years getting ready to roll into showrooms, Jeep said it will offer a special Launch Edition of the new Gladiator, but only for 24 hours, starting at 12:01 AM on April 4th – what is also known as “4×4 Day.”
The Launch Edition will be a fully loaded version of the off-road Jeep Gladiator Rubicon model and it will carry a steep price tag of $60,815. But to ease the bite – at least for one lucky customer – Jeep will give them “a year’s salary to go anywhere and live out their dreams,” said Scott Tallon, the brand’s marketing manager.
All told, Jeep will offer a maximum 4,190 of the Gladiator Launch Edition models – a reference to the 419 area code for Toledo, Ohio, where all of the pickups will be assembled.
The special edition will feature a Launch Edition badge on the tailgate, along with a wide array of accessories and options. Surprisingly, there will be no number badge in the cabin, however, something Jeep parent FCA has done with other special editions in the past.
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Selling more than 4,000 of the new pickups in a single day might seem like a bold bet, but Tallon said, “The early level of demand has been overwhelming.”
The launch of the Gladiator marks the first time Jeep has offered a pickup since 1992. The decision to get back into the market was a proverbial no-brainer, company officials told TheDetroitBureau.com during a first-drive media event near Sacramento last Friday.
At the beginning of the decade, most analysts and industry planners were convinced that demand for midsize pickups was drying up. In short order, General Motors, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Honda all abandoned the segment. But the lack of demand had more to do with a lack of fresh new product, Tallon said in an interview.
That became readily apparent when GM returned to the market in the 2014 model-year with all-new versions of the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon. Honda soon followed with a complete makeover of its Ridgeline model, and Ford recently rolled a new Ranger into U.S. showrooms.
While Ridgeline – the only crossover-based truck – has struggled, demand for midsize pickups, in general, has soared. In a weak U.S. market, Tacoma sales were up 7% last year, while Colorado gained 4 percent. Even the Nissan Frontier, the oldest truck in the segment, jumped 3% in 2018.
(Initial response strong as Ford revives Ranger pickup. Click Here for more.)
Initial response to the revived Ford Ranger has been solid enough for Ford to take steps to increase production at its Michigan Assembly Plant in the western Detroit suburbs. And FCA is counting on similar sales to keep things humming at the Toledo, Ohio plant building both Gladiator and the Jeep Wrangler, the SUV having been given a complete makeover of its own a year ago.
(FCA dropping shift at Windsor, ON minivan plant as sales tank. Click Here for the story.)
Jeep will offer three distinct versions of the new Gladiator, starting with the “base” Sport model, at $33,545. The Overland will come in at $40,395, and the Rubicon will start at $43,545. Add $1,495 in delivery fees to all the prices mentioned here.
As with other Jeep products, buyers will be offered an extensive array of options and after-market gear. At launch, FCA’s Mopar parts division plans to have 200 accessories available, from outboard lighting to bike and kayak carriers. A number of those parts can be installed either at the factory or at a special Mopar customization center, noted Kim Mathers, a manager with the parts brand.
“We expect Gladiator to be among the most accessorized vehicles in the Jeep portfolio,” she said.