Fiat Chrysler Automobiles expects to sell more accessories for its new Jeep Gladiator than for any other car or truck in the automaker's lineup. And Jeep dealers and fixed ops managers say they are counting on buyers tricking out the pickup to broaden their sales of accessories and performance parts.
"It's going to be hot, for sure," says Jack Szanto, parts manager at DCH Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram-Fiat of Temecula in California.
Well before the Gladiator arrived in Jeep showrooms last month, executives of FCA and its Mopar parts and service division tapped dealers and enthusiasts to help plan and execute high-profile concepts to promote customization of the truck.
"We think it's going to be the most accessorized vehicle in the FCA portfolio," Kim Mathers, Mopar's head of accessories and performance, told Fixed Ops Journal.
That's a high bar. FCA estimated that in 2017, 98 percent of Jeep Wranglers were outfitted with at least one Mopar accessory.
Overall, though, only about 5 percent of vehicle customers buy add-on accessories where they purchase their car or truck, the dealer software provider Reynolds and Reynolds estimates. New-vehicle dealerships continue to lag far behind aftermarket vendors in the $44 billion a year U.S. accessories market, where profit margins routinely approach 50 percent.
Jeep's campaign touting factory accessories for the Gladiator aims to help close that gap for FCA and its dealers.