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Jeep May Be Introducing Pickups with the Gladiator Concept


How many SUVs can you make? They’re running out of space within their own lineup to generate sales with new product,” asserted IHS Automotive senior analyst Stephanie Brinley. “The only one that makes sense is a small/compact pickup truck.”

The rich history of Jeep pickups goes back to the 1940s with Willys-Overland Motors, the original American auto company that brought the first World War II military Jeep. The last production model was the Comanche, with a lackluster 197,000 sales from 1986-1992.

It must be said that it’s nowhere as easy as you may imagine. Launching a successful Jeep pickup is not as simple as just tossing a Wrangler body onto any old Ram pickup frame or re-packaging a Ram 1500 as a Jeep. There are certain engineering and design nuances not perceptible to regular folks, even the most passionate car enthusiasts. A great deal of planning and resources goes into any Jeep vehicle venture.

Basing the vehicle off the platform of the Dodge Durango and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs is one alternative strategy. But Jefferson North Assembly in Detroit is dedicating at least 6 days a week to satisfy production targets. While the Durango and Grand Cherokee feature similar lengths and wheelbases to some midsize pickups on the market, their manufacturing isn’t the traditional body-on-frame process associated with most pickups and off-road vehicles.

The next-generation Wrangler however, is the most ideal option for a Jeep pickup. It would attract loyal off-road enthusiasts, while relating to the origin of the brand, which Manley has prided his team on doing.

“It could fit with Jeep’s DNA better than a lot of other products could,” Brinley said. “Jeep is not likely to ever be a sedan.”

Analysts predict a possible Wrangler pickup could serve as the basis for the next-generation Wrangler. It would likely compare to it’s crosstown rivals –– the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and the GMC Canyon. However in comparison to the Ram 1500, the Jeep Wrangler has a smaller size truck.

In 2014, Jeep marked its third consecutive year of record global sales by selling more than 1 million vehicles for the first time in the brand’s history. Wranglers accounted for 23 percent of sales. Fiat (Chrysler’s Mopar brand) currently offers a JK-8 pickup conversion kit for $6,150 that can transform a four-door Wrangler into a two-door, two-seat small pickup. Mopar has sold more than 800 kits since their debut in 2011.

Whether Jeep decides to bring a pickup to market, the Gladiator concept still greatly allures a decade post debut. However dealerships such as Chapman Chrysler Jeep, will be the first to showcase these new Jeep models.

“If they could revive the Jeep Gladiator by snapping their fingers, they would,” said Kelley Blue Book senior analyst Karl Brauer. “There’s no doubt in my mind if they could revive that vehicle … it would have a market.”

Are you hunting for the perfect Jeep in Las Vegas? Visit the Chapman Chrysler Jeep dealership and test drive your favorite Jeep today!

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