There have been a number of articles popping around regarding the fact that there are huge amounts of unsold 2018 Jeep Wranglers on dealer lots. iSeeCars has conducted a study of which 2018 model year vehicles there are the most of on dealer lots in August of 2019, and the Wrangler tops this list. But none of the articles that I read, and probably the report from iSeeCars, seem to have explained why that is.
The iSeeCars reports isn’t wrong. Except that it is wrong. The reason why there are so many 2018 Wranglers on dealer lots is because 2018 was a transition year for Wrangler. In 2018 both the outgoing JK and the new JL were being produced and sold. Given the choice, most people shopping for a new Wrangler in 2018 would buy a JL over a ten year old JK because the JL is pretty significantly improved over the JK.
A quick CarGurus search for new 2018 Wrangler does in fact reveal that there are thousands of them available. But a closer look reveals that many, if not most of them are the old JK models. Not only that, those are weird JK models such as the Gold Eagle edition or other tacky factory special edition. Of the new JL models, most are base Sport models – the ones on steel wheels, with crank windows, no A/C, and soft-tops. The unsold higher trim Sport S and Sahara models are usually equipped with manual transmissions.
Here is the iSeeCars report really does not tell – the 2019 Wrangler Moab edition, a special edition model that is/was based on a loaded Sahara but with added Rubicon looks, with a sticker price in the $55,000 range, is pretty much sold out. Yes, the 2019 is sold out. You can’t even order one. Similarly, finding a nicely equipped Rubicon can also be a challenge.
So, what the report shows is:
- People who buy new Wranglers prefer new models over the old models.
- People who spend over $35,000 on a new Wrangler are willing to spend $40,000 on a model that’s has all the options. Or at least power windows and A/C.
- No one who buys a new Wrangler seems to want a manual transmission, #savethemanuals and all that.
- No one really likes the weird special edition graphics.
Good news for those hard-core enthusiasts who want manual transmissions, steel wheels, and soft-tops – you have thousands of Wranglers to choose from and you can probably get an amazing deal on them, too.