The number of Jeep dealerships requesting pre-equipping their offerings with Mopar accessories before they arrive at their showrooms is growing. Instead of going straight to dealerships, Tens of thousands of Jeep Wranglers, Cherokees and Grand Cherokees as well as some Dodge Durangos take a detour to a an industrial building located a few blocks from Chrysler’s Toledo Assembly complex where workers add dealer-ordered Mopar accessories like Katzkin leather seat covers, tubular sidesteps or custom hood appliques.
"It's a big incentive to have the car on display with the accessories already on," Pietro Gorlier, head of Chrysler's Mopar brand, told Automotive News. "It's very tough to sell accessories based on a display. It's much easier when you can see the accessory on a car." Mopar and dealers have adopted this accessory strategy to boost revenues and margins.
Since the costs of the accessories can be included in the vehicle's sticker price, it would be easier for customers to finance the items. Since 2011, Mopar has added eight such customization shops near its assembly site in North America. Last year, the custom shops added accessories to nearly 150,000 new Chrysler vehicles.
The Toledo shop customizes the Wranglers and Cherokees assembled nearby, as well as Jeep Grand Cherokees and Dodge Durangos sent from Chrysler's Jefferson site in Detroit. In 2013, the Toledo shop customized 21,700 Jeeps and Durangos for Mopar.
The off-site customization shops provide a way for Chrysler to offer accessories without its assembly plants more complex. Gorlier, however, noted that if a certain accessory package rises in popularity above 10 or 15 percent of vehicles ordered, it would be added to the assembly line. Some Mopar accessories continue to be available only through dealerships. [source: automotive news - sub. required]