Insider Tips: Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, RAM
This week, I'm starting a new series called "Insider Tips", where I interview people that work at car dealerships - to get you money-saving tips and advice you won't find anywhere else. This week, I talked with Alex Stelling, a sales consultant for Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, and RAM vehicles. Alex was leaving useful comments on my site, so I reached out to see if he would share some of his insider knowledge.
Q: For car shoppers considering Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, and Ram - please walk us through some things you've noticed in recent months as far as deals go (which models are offering the best deals now?)
FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) is pushing Ram trucks right now. They have increased market share by 150% since separating the Ram and Dodge brands in 2009. They seem to want to continue the trend. They even announced they will be focusing less on Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200, and more on Ram and Jeep. I have seen up to around $10,000 off the Ram 2500 and 3500 Laramies and Big Horns. About $9,000 off Tradesman pickups. A little less off chassis cabs. That's a combination of factory rebates and dealer discounts. Not including "qualifying" rebates (which many customers feel is 'bait and switch' on price) which provides even further discounts for certain people and/or certain situations. (Loyalty, Conquest, and Military discounts). Ram 1500 also has good discounts, about $10,500 off MSRP with standard rebates and discounts. The pickup truck segment is the most competitive segment in the industry, so I don't expect FCA to switch the deals over to their other brands like Jeep. The other brands have discounts, but not $10k!
Q: Which models would you recommend a car shopper hold off buying/leasing right now, because you think the market will be more favorable down the road?
The only one that may decrease is price in coming months is the Charger or Challenger with the Hellcat engine. Dealers are charging a premium because of a short supply/high demand. Supply has increased, but it's too early to say if it will be enough to see a price drop. We have one coming next month, and then another 2 in the pipeline this year. Before, we would only get them if somebody pre-purchased one. I'm still expecting a premium on the Hellcat for the foreseeable future.
Q. Which of the models you sell do you truly believe are the best or near the top of their class as far as value, price, etc? Please be honest, don't say all of them.
Right now I am excited about the new Pacifica. I think the Kia Sedona (competitor vehicle) is the best minivan right now until the new Pacifica comes out (how's that for honesty?), but Chrysler competes with the current vans on price. The new Pacifica will be amazing with some features like 5 LATCH anchors (not 4 like the others), ZF 9-speed transmission, electronic park brake, easier Stow-N-Go seating. It will gain independent rear suspension. They have made it even easier to use by including a button on the B pillar to make it easy to move the front seats out of the way and back to their original position. The uConnect 8.4 NAV system is linked to the rear 10" screens with a DVD/Blu-ray player. But discs are obsolete. With the Pacifica system, kids can stream videos from their phones. There's also apps and games linked to the Navigation system called "Are We There Yet?" Kids will be able to see on their own screen where they are in relation to the destination! How awesome is that? Another key feature is the styling. They have made it less 'minivan' like, and have made it look stunning. Parents with a minivan-phobia need not fear!
Ram 1500. Best ride of half ton trucks with its coil springs, and the 3.0L v6 diesel. It has plenty of power and torque, yet offers 28 mpg highway with a full-size pickup. It's no slouch! It gets up to speed quickly with minimal effort. I have gotten 14-15mpg pulling 7000 lb travel trailer! That's a little better than what my old F150 5.4 got empty! That diesel is hooked to a ZF 8HP 8-speed transmission which is amazing. That transmission is exclusive in the Ram in the segment, but other companies that use it include Bentley, Rolls Royce, Jaguar, Land Rover, BMW, Hyundai Genesis, and Kia K900. It's fantastic!
Ram 2500. It has the best styling, even when you compare it to Ford's next Super Duty. I know that's subjective, along with the interior and class-exclusive Mega Cab. Fully-boxed frame with coil springs, it rides more like a half-ton but with 3/4 ton capability. Many reviewers like Chrysler's uConnect 8.4 system over the competition's infotainment systems because it's so intuitive. The Cummins 6.7 inline six cylinder has 30% fewer moving parts than a V8 diesel from Ford or Chevy. There is more room around the engine, making it quicker and easier for a mechanic to do repairs. This would lower the cost of repairs to the consumer. Also if you had to replace something like head gaskets, you only have one bank of cylinders instead of 2. Half the work, half the time, half the labor cost!
Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. What else can you buy for $35-40k new, that's ready with front and rear differential locks, and an electronic sway bar disconnect? It doesn't have any competitors! It has an extremely high resale value too!
I'd like to thank Alex for taking time to answer my questions. He was generous with his time and I feel he does genuinely want to help car shoppers.
I'm opening up questions/comments below. If you have a question for Alex regarding Jeep, Chrysler, Dodge, RAM, ask below and he will try to answer them.
If you work for a high volume/low margin dealership that is known for great deals, and you want to provide insider tips to my readers, get in touch with me.
My Recommendation for Car ShoppersTrueCar No-Haggle, CarsDirect, and NADAGuides are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan
Each week, I'll keep you up-to-date on the latest car deals and news that might affect your purchase. This includes...
- Best Rebates, Incentives, and Lease Deals
- Latest Car Buying Scams and Tricks
- The Best & Worst Time to Buy a Car
- Which Cars You Should Avoid