Dodge Reveals 2021 Muscle Car Lineup, Jeep Expands Gladiator Lineup, Big Three Reveal Results

FCA’s Dodge today revealed its 2021 muscle car lineup, complete with a rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” that includes sounds of its supercharged HEMI engines revving, upshifting, and downshifting, as well as supercharger whines.
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Jeep Gladiator Altitude
Gladiator Altitude models will be available in Jeep showrooms early in the third quarter. // Photo courtesy of Jeep

FCA’s Dodge today revealed its 2021 muscle car lineup, complete with a rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” that includes sounds of its supercharged HEMI engines revving, upshifting, and downshifting, as well as supercharger whines.

The newest Dodge Durango was unveiled, as was the 2021 Challenger Super Stock and the Charger SRT Hellcat, as well as packages for extra power and more. Visit Dodge.com to see the vehicles.

“The sound of a screaming supercharged HEMI is so distinctive that this teaser video doesn’t need a single image … if you know, you know,” says Tim Kuniskis, global head of Alfa Romeo and head of passenger cars – Dodge, SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA – North America. “Tune in July 2 to celebrate with Dodge the pursuit of life, liberty and 8,950 horsepower.”

In addition, Jeep is introducing a new edition of the 2020 Jeep Gladiator called the Altitude model. The automaker says it delivers a new level of personalized content for a distinct appearance that is combined with Jeep 4×4 capability.

“Our Jeep Gladiator Altitude model is a direct response to customers who ask for a ‘blacked-out’ look directly from the factory,” says Jim Morrison, head of Jeep Brand at FCA North America. “The Jeep Altitude models continue to resonate with customers and adding Gladiator completes this lineup.”

In related news, the Gladiator Altitude models will be available in Jeep showrooms early in the third quarter. It will carry a sticker price $40,340 (plus $1,495 destination charge).

Based on the Sport S model, the 2021 Jeep Gladiator Altitude’s exterior highlights include a body-color grille with dark gray throats and headlamp rings, body-color fender flares, black Jeep and Trail Rated badging and 18-inch Granite Crystal aluminum wheels wrapped in 255/70R18 Bridgestone Dueler All-Terrain tires. A black Freedom hardtop is standard on Gladiator Altitude while the dual top is an available option.

Inside, the Gladiator Altitude features standard black cloth seats and leather-wrapped steering wheel with black stitching, Wizard Black instrument panel mid-bolster and bezels.

Gladiator Altitude, equipped with a 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 engine and a cargo box, will be available in black, white, Firecracker Red, Billet Silver, Granite Crystal, Sting Gray, Hydro Blue, Gator, and Gobi.

Detroit’s General Motors announced it delivered 492,489 vehicles in the second quarter of 2020, a decrease in total vehicles sales of about 34 percent year-over-year. demand outpaced supply in the latter half of the quarter. The decrease was due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full-size pickup truck sales performed well, the company says, and overall sales showed signs of recovery, especially deliveries to retail customers.

“Our resilient sales reflect an improving demand curve, and the strong efforts of GM and our retailers in unprecedented times,” said Kurt McNeil, U.S. vice president, Sales Operations. “GM entered the quarter with very lean inventories and our dealers did a great job meeting customer demand, especially for pickups. Now, we are refilling the pipeline by quickly and safely returning production to pre-pandemic levels. Having an appropriate mix of the right vehicles combined with the benefits of enhanced shopping technologies such as Shop. Click. Drive., positions us for success in the second half of 2020.”

Retail sales were off by about 24 percent, roughly in line with the industry. Retail sales in April were down the most in the quarter, off by about 35 percent compared to last year, but recovered in May and June with year-over-year declines of around 20 percent or less.

Availability of models on dealer lots is expected to start growing now that most manufacturing assembly plants have returned to normal operating levels. The majority of GM’s U.S. plants, including all truck and SUV plants, will continue to operate during the traditional two-week summer shutdown. Additionally, the majority of GM’s increasing output will be devoted to restocking retail channels with capacity made available by lower rental volumes.

GM is working with logistics and trucking companies to ensure vehicles are shipped as soon as they are produced.

“After falling into a deep recession in March, the U.S. economy has begun to recover as it reopens,” says Elaine Buckberg, chief economist for GM. “Auto sales are benefiting from historically low interest rates that make now an attractive time to buy a vehicle for many customers. We expect continued sales recovery as businesses ramp back up but recognize that the path forward may not be linear, as rising infections in many states may lead to steps backward in the reopening process.”

Since the Chevrolet Blazer launched in January 2019, sales have been steadily increasing, and were up 68 percent year-over-year. The all-new Chevrolet Trailblazer and Buick Encore GX have been gaining retail market share every month since launch and combined have captured more than 10 percent of the small SUV segment, according to the latest J.D. Power data.

Next to launch is GM’s portfolio of full-size SUVs, including the redesigned Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, and Cadillac Escalade, now available with enhanced Super Cruise.

FCA US reported second-quarter sales of 367,086 vehicles – a 39 percent decline over the same period a year earlier. The economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in April was partially offset by the stronger-than-expected retail sales rebound in May and June, according to the automaker.

The Jeep brand led the way for FCA with 176,716 unit sales. Wranger paced Jeep with 56,463 vehicles sold. The Ram brand moved 127,684 pickups while Dodge sold 43,757 vehicles with Durango (11,694) and Charger (11,456) as the top sellers. Chrysler Pacifica (11,069) accounted for the bulk of that brand’s 13,856 sales. Alfa Romeo had 3,734 sales and Fiat 1,339.

Fleet sales were impacted in the quarter as customers initially delayed or reduced their orders, in addition as production restarted deliveries have been focused on the dealer channel.

“This quarter demonstrated the resilience of the U.S. consumer,” says Jeff Kommor, head of U.S. sales for FCA. “Retail sales have been rebounding since April as the reopening of the economy, steady gas prices, and access to low-interest loans spur people to buy.

“Our fleet volume remained low during the quarter as we prioritized vehicle deliveries to retail customers,” he explains. “As a result, we have built a strong fleet order book, which we will fulfill over the coming months.”

This was also the first quarter consumers could completely purchase their vehicles online through the company’s new Online Retailing Experience, accessible through the Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, FIAT, and Alfa Romeo websites, participating dealer sites, and a variety of social media applications.

About 20 percent of new sales leads now come from online retailing compared with about 1 percent a year earlier.

“ORE is another tool dealers can now use to reach those consumers who like shopping from their home computer,” Kommor says.

Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn posted total vehicle sales of 433,869 units in the second quarter, a 33.3 percent drop from year-ago figures due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Truck sales accounted for 237,891 of the Blue Oval’s total.

Ford’s popular F-Series pickup sales totaled 180,825, leading the truck charge. Ranger posted an overall sales gain of 19.8 percent in Q2 with 25,008 units sold.

Explorer (44,839) was Ford’s top selling SUV in a segment that produced 151,328 total sales.

Ford’s focus on its portfolio of trucks and SUVs drove retail share growth in Q2, growing its estimated share of retail truck and SUV segment (16.5 percent) by more than a full percentage point in the quarter, according to the company.

Ford sold 44,650 cars in the quarter with Fusion 28,484 and Mustang 15,717 leading the way.

“Our performance in Q2 was really driven by Ford and our dealers’ deep commitment to customers and quick action taken to support our customers during these unprecedented times,” says Mark LaNeve, vice president of U.S. marketing, sales, and service at Ford. “Our support programs continue with our recent introduction of Ford Promise to provide extra security during these difficult times. It’s another way Ford is standing with hard-working Americans.”

Ford says it, along with its dealer network, made a rapid shift to online and remote sales once the pandemic hit. As a result, the automaker’s retail share grew an estimated full percentage point to 13.3 percent, Ford’s best retail share quarter in five years.

For the 2020 DBusiness list of 200-plus dealerships in metro Detroit arranged alphabetically by county and city, and then by dealer, visit here.

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