Jeep Confirms Pickup Version on Next-Gen Wrangler
It seems the rumors have finally panned out for the Jeep Wrangler-based pickup truck. Our friends over at TruckTrend were able to snag an exclusive interview with Mike Manley, the head honcho at Jeep, were he confirmed the automaker will build a pickup version based on the next-generation Wrangler. Manley avoided spoiling any details of the vehicle, but did confirm the truck should debut before 2019, likely as a 2018 model.
Jeep fans have been begging for a pickup Wrangler since Jeep introduced the Gladiator concept in 2005. Before that, the Gladiator name was used on Jeep pickup trucks from 1962 through 1971. The full-size pickup was in the same segment as the leading offerings from Chevrolet, Ford, and Dodge. Beginning in 1972, the truck was simply called the Jeep Pickup. The trucks shard the same platform, powertrain options, and styling cues as the Grand Wagoneer, which was eventually replaced with the Grand Cherokee.
The Gladiator pickup was canceled shortly after Chrysler bought the American Motors Corporation in 1987 since the Gladiator competed directly with the Dodge pickup. However, Chrysler continued building the mid-sized Jeep pickup called the Comanche, which began production in 1985 under AMC. The Comanche shared its platform with the then-new 1984 Jeep Cherokee. Interestingly enough, the Comanche shared the Choerkee’s unibody design, but with additional folded sheet metal supports under the bed.
History aside, Jeep should find great success with the upcoming Wrangler pickup. It’s still unknown what Jeep will name it, but resurrecting the Comanche name would be fantastic. Then again, political correctness and over-sensitivity may kill that idea. My bet is on the Scrambler name, a moniker that dates back to the Jeep CJ-8 of the 1980s.
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Why It Matters
Jeep enthusiasts have been begging for a Wrangler-based pickup for decades now. Several aftermarket companies offer conversion kits, the most popular being American Expedition Vehicles’ “Brute” kit. Heck, even Mopar offers a bed package through its dealer network. Still, buying a Wrangler with a bed and a factory warranty hasn’t happened since the CJ-8 Scrambler ended production in 1986.
The Jeep pickup will have its work cut out for it. The mid-size truck market is currently exploding with new models like the Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma, and Honda Ridgeline. Rumors of an all-new Nissan Frontier ping the radar and its said Ford is considering bringing back the Ranger. If the stars align, we could be looking at a highly competitive mid-size truck market by the decades’ end.
It’s a great time to be a truck guy…