by Matt Konkle
Quadratec Channel Editor
When Jeep’s newest vehicle, the Gladiator truck, first rolled out of its shell last December, one of the top things Fiat Chrysler executives and designers pushed was its rugged versatility and functionality.
A vehicle capable of hauling, towing, or heading off-road—all while displaying an edge of refinement and a lifestyle type that no other midsize truck could offer.
And to fully realize all of those things, FCA banked that Gladiator owners would shell out their hard-earned money, both at the time of purchase and later on, to augment their trucks for every unexpected possibility.
Well, it seems that FCA has achieved that goal—perhaps even faster than it thought—saying recently that Gladiator buyers spend an average of $1,000 per vehicle on accessories. This tops the $800 that Mopar says Wrangler buyers spend on their rides.
”We had always expected Gladiator to do well from an accessories dollars-per-unit perspective because it really can draw upon the Jeep world, which is big from an accessories perspective, but also the truck world, “ said Kim Mathers, Mopar’s head of performance and accessories during an interview with Automotive News. “So it's being able to build upon both. We expected it to be the highest dollar-per-unit, and we're getting there quickly because of some of the planning exercises that we've (already) done."
Mathers added that products like lift kits and rock rails are some of the top things buyers are adding on their Gladiators.
The Gladiator tallied nearly 7,200 units sold in the second quarter this year as the automaker ramped up production, and should push past 20k vehicles moved when FCA makes its next quarterly sales announcement at the end of September. FCA moved to quarterly sales announcements—instead of monthly ones—at the end of June. Additionally, the truck captured an estimated 7.7 percent of the midsize pickup market in only its first full month on dealership lots, according to information from the Automotive News Data Center.
One of the reasons for Gladiator’s success in the accessory market, Mathers said, is because Mopar pays attention to how buyers are modifying their vehicles. That way, she said, Mopar is able to develop products and get them to market “before the vehicles even start to hit dealers.”
Mark Bosanac, head of Mopar service, parts and customer care for FCA, echoed that idea, and said consumer feedback at events such as the Specialty Equipment Market Association Show (SEMA) and the annual Easter Jeep Safari in Moab, Utah, influence how the accessory lineup develops over time.
"We're coming up with new ideas, we're getting input from customers, we're going to these other events in Moab and SEMA, and we're taking that information," Bosanac said. "A lot of us are going out and working and trying to find out, 'Hey, what else could we possibly do? What are you looking for on a vehicle?' "
So, if your Gladiator is sitting quietly in your driveway and patiently waiting for its first (or next) accessory upgrade, some great products to think about include: Mopar Gladiator Tubular Side Steps, Soft Fold Up Tonneau Cover, Mopar Sun Bonnet, Mopar Gladiator Entry Guards, Gladiator Trail Rail Cargo Management System and Gladiator Bed Cross Bars.
For other great Jeep Gladiator accessories, as well as news and information, check out our Jeep Gladiator JT page.