About those unsold 2018 Jeep Wranglers

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.

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13 responses to “About those unsold 2018 Jeep Wranglers”

  1. outback_ute Avatar

    The report did talk about the JK/JL issue, but what is a bit off is that they keep referring to the amount of 2018 inventory while their table is ranked by percentage, which last time I checked is not the same thing. For example the Porsche Macan is ranked #3 with 15.3%, but surely there are more 2018 F150s out there if they are anywhere near the average 4%.

    They didn’t do the detail analysis you’ve done. Leaving aside the manual issue, I can’t understand why they bother engineering crank windows (leave it to the aftermarket, they’re not going to lose a sale over this, and I doubt it saves FCA money) or building stock with no AC (would anyone special order no AC?).

    Or does the low starting price these factors allow actually make a difference to people with enough money to buy a new Jeep?

    1. Kamil K Avatar

      I don’t know. This Wrangler was also intended to be a truly world vehicle (despite its size and price) and that may make a difference in some places.

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        Maybe AC would not be wanted in some countries, but I think people are basically the same everywhere.

  2. neight428 Avatar

    It’s fun to search for the oldest “new” cars for sale. There are probably some 2014 Lotus Evoras still out there.

    No one who buys a new vehicle seems to want a manual transmission, #savethemanuals and all that.


    I’m guessing we’re within 5 model years of the last non-sports/pony car with three pedals, watch the Civic Si, that’s my canary in the coal mine. In 10, even those will be gone. Having driven a newer sporty-ish DSG equipped Audi, I can make peace with this future.

    1. Kamil K Avatar

      I’m totally fine with good automatics and good DCTs (there are many shit ones). But the new eight-speed auto on the new Wrangler is excellent.

      1. neight428 Avatar

        Definitely hear you on the good auto/bad auto, it’s not such a bright line as when all we had were bad memories of TH-350’s with ultra-low stall speeds. #savethemanuals was started when GM was still putting lightly massaged 700-R4 into Corvettes for a third decade, we’ve thankfully moved into greener pastures as far as automatics go.

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      How do you quote so masterly?

      Of the new JL models, most are base Sport models – the ones on steel wheels, with crank windows, no A/C, and soft-tops

      This is just the same. A 2018 with crank windows should fly off the lots, at least according to commentariat wisdom. Alas, they don’t sell new cars used.

      1. outback_ute Avatar

        A 2 year old car is basically a very low mileage used car?

      2. neight428 Avatar

        If you reply from the web page outside of the Disqus window, there’s a little “” icon that enables a quote tag/wrap around text. I’m on a laptop, so if you’re mobile YMMV.

  3. HuntRhymesWith Avatar

    I’m surprised you can get a 2018 Wrangler without A/C. How many US-market cars come without standard A/C?

    1. Kamil K Avatar

      Yup. A/C is a $1295 option on the base Sport model.

  4. Maymar Avatar

    Anecdotally, the JL doesn’t seem to have had any significant impact on the residuals on the JK’s in my company’s fleet, although up here, there was a sizable enough jump in pricing to the newer vehicle that’s probably helped the older model. At the same time, ours are reasonably equipped Saharas (although one market got a couple Golden Eagles and Willys as out-of-stock buys, curious to see if those end up sitting a little longer). I imagine if we can’t clear them out before FCA starts incentivizing the JL more, we might struggle a bit.

  5. ptschett Avatar

    I’d be surprised if you could still order any trim level of a 2019 Wrangler, to be honest. My dad put in an order for a new-style Ram 1500 some weeks ago and it’s going to be a 2020.