SINCE WWII, THE JEEP® BRAND HAS BEEN TACKLING ALL TYPES OF TERRAIN, INCLUDING THE FLUCTUATING AUTO MARKETPLACE. IT STARTED IN 1945 WITH THE CJ.
In 1986, Jeep introduced Wrangler, the domestication of the Jeep CJ. Sales rocketed. A decade later, the TJ Wrangler catapulted the 4×4 out of niche player status. But in 2007, the 4×4 4-doors really did the trick. The JK Wrangler Unlimited created a new market as an off-road family vehicle. The Unlimited outsold Wrangler every year following. And when the last JK was produced in 2018, it was number 2,165,678 in a 12-year, record-breaking production run. Wrangler had scaled the automotive summit, and with the introduction of the all-new JL Wrangler out in 2018, those numbers are sure to continue to climb.
THE MINIVAN: THE FAMILY GETS SOME NEW WHEELS
The start of the minivan had a significant impact on the American family and automotive landscape. In 1983, the first Chrysler minivan rolled out. At that time, a van that drove like a car was a revelation. And it sold 209,000 units. By 1990, Chrysler Group had van triplets – the Chrysler Town and Country, Dodge Caravan and Plymouth Voyager – and they sold like hotcakes, ranking as the 13th bestselling nameplates worldwide with a mind-blowing 12 million sold.
By the mid-1990’s, SUV’s were taking over, offering what buyers loved about minivans but with a rugged image. However, the minivan concept still thrives. Today, the 2018 Chrysler Pacifica has been named “Family Car of the Year” by Cars.com, one of Car and Driver’s 10 Best Trucks and SUV’s, a 2018 Consumer Guide Automotive Best Buy, and many more.
DODGE: CHALLENGING CONVENTION
The 1970 Dodge Challenger was the ultimate muscle car. It had brazen styling, iconic features and a staggering range of powerful V8 options under its hood. 1970 saw 84,032 Challengers scorching the roads.
By 1971, emissions regulations were strangling engine outputs, the “muscle car” era was collapsing and only 29,883 Challengers were built. Over its 5-year run, approximately 188,600 were sold.
Between 1978-1984, Dodge toyed with a Mitsubishi Challenger. Sales averaged around 13,000 units/year.
But Dodge wasn’t walking away from the Challenger. 2006 saw Dodge debuting a 1970’s-inspired Challenger concept with thunderous reviews. In 2008, 7,209 Challengers were once again making the ground tremble. ’09 saw a full lineup of Challengers with 34,854 U.S. units sold. And by 2010, 57,822 Challengers were on the streets.
Despite the SUV’s upper hand, the 2017 Challenger held its own. With the trickle-down effect of the SRT® Demon, Challenger saw gains with sales of 65,537 units. Proof positive, power is always in style.
RAM: ONE POWERFUL NAME
In 1981, Dodge brought back the Ram hood ornament from its 1930-40’s pickups and christened its new breed of workhorses accordingly.
1994 saw a redesign featuring a “big-rig” looking front end, mashed together with a car like interior. The result? Ram sales ratcheted up from 95,542 units in ’93 to over 411,000 units in ’99.
In 2009, the names Dodge and Ram parted ways. Both ultimately became among the best-selling auto brands of 2015-16. Today, the all-new 2019 Ram 1500 capitalizes on segment-exclusive features and advanced engineering to deliver the most durable, efficient and comfortable Ram 1500 the company has ever built.