If there's one vehicle that has managed to persevere through Chrysler's ups and downs as of late, it's the Jeep Wrangler. This trusty off-roader is still the SUV of choice for enthusiasts who actually need true four-by-four capability, and its iconic design is still very well liked. However, the Wrangler is facing some troubles of its own, as many dealers are now reporting a shortage of hardtop models.
According to Automotive News, parent company Chrysler is stating that a "supplier constraint" is what's causing this overall shortage. Meridian Automotive Systems Inc., the company that originally manufactured the roof units for the Wrangler, filed for Chapter 7 liquidation last year, so production of the hardtops was shifted to a different supplier – Continental Structural Plastics Inc., located in Detroit. Chrysler says that tops are extremely complex to manufacturer, so the move in suppliers has put a significant dent in overall production.
In the meantime, Chrysler is urging dealers to order softtop Wranglers while it works with the new supplier to ramp up production of the hardtop units. During this shortage, we wouldn't be surprised if Wrangler sales dip slightly, since in most markets the vast majority of customers purchase the hardtop models.
[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req'd]