Jeep Pickup: Wrangler-based or Not?

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JAY

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By now we know that Jeep will build a pickup. What remains unknown is whether the Jeep pickup will be a Wrangler JL variant or be offered as a standalone model with a different badge.

New comments by Jeep design chief Mark Allen allude to Jeep's dilemma:

Next-gen Wrangler ready to rock but ute spin-off in flux

Jeep‘s all-important fourth-generation Wrangler has already been secretly shown to North American dealers at a top-secret conference in Las Vegas recently, but it’s the ute version that’s piquing the interest of the brand’s Australian importer.

Especially so if Jeep’s first ute develops into a one-tonne light-commercial vehicle to rival the likes of the Ford Ranger and Toyota HiLux – which looks increasingly likely.

During an interview at the Jeep Renegade national launch in Far North Queensland, Jeep’s head of design Mark Allen said: “You’re not going to be terribly surprised by it [the new Wrangler].”

But the ute?

“It’s [design] is less stable. It’s not really a project yet. We hope it to be. There’s been planning on it,” confirmed Allen.

He also revealed that development of the Wrangler utility – or pick-up truck in American parlance – is fluid, and wouldn’t confirm whether it would be based on the Wrangler SUV or another platform.

“That’s some of the homework we’re doing right now. How much desire is there, is it a pick-up truck or a Wrangler variant? That’s the line,” said Allen.

That means the Jeep ute could be based on the new Wrangler or something like the just-released Fiat Toro, which is believed to be based on the new Jeep Renegade‘s platform and will be a direct rival for Renault’s compact Oroch dual-cab, or it could be a full-size one-tonner in the same vein as the Toyota HiLux.

The former two options would see the Jeep variant become a ‘lifestyle’ ute aimed at the US market, not unlike Hyundai’s Santa Cruz, while the latter would make it a rival for mid-size US pick-ups like the Toyota Tacoma, but Allen wouldn’t be drawn on which was more likely.

“It’s something we all desire and have for a long time. I’ve never been shy about that. It’s just not ready for prime time yet,” he said.

There’s clearly momentum within the company to deploy a new ute and it’s something that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Australia’s CEO, Pat Dougherty, is keenly aware of.

Jeep has a number of engines to draw upon from within the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles group, so sourcing the powertrain won’t be an issue. However, finding a factory within which to build it could be problematic.

“We sell every Wrangler we make, there’s no extra room at the plant, so there’s other issues beyond the vehicle itself. That’s all gotta be sorted out,” Allen said of the Toledo plant in Ohio, USA.

If Jeep did deploy a Toyota HiLux rival in Australia, as Renault and Mercedes-Benz will do in the next few years, it would significantly boost sales and profit for the importer.

Dougherty pointed out that the Wrangler is “the icon of the Jeep brand” and that a Jeep ute – no matter what its foundation – would be high on the wish list.

“We’ve got a vehicle [Wrangler] that’s unique, that has exceeded its global demand for a number of years and as we get to the ute, if there’s an expansion in capacity it could result in something meaningful for us,” said Dougherty.

http://www.motoring.com.au/jeep-plotting-hilux-rival-54595/
 

RobNY

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Would be smart of them to make it Wrangler based, the most popular and capable of the Jeep models.

Wrangler is also the only body-on-frame Jeep platform, which a lot of pickup guys care about.
 

AWD

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Would be smart of them to make it Wrangler based, the most popular and capable of the Jeep models.

Wrangler is also the only body-on-frame Jeep platform, which a lot of pickup guys care about.
Body on frame counts for a lot in the truck world. Lots of guys don't even consider it a true truck if it's not BOF construction.
 

Brogan

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The former two options would see the Jeep variant become a ‘lifestyle’ ute aimed at the US market, not unlike Hyundai’s Santa Cruz, while the latter would make it a rival for mid-size US pick-ups like the Toyota Tacoma, but Allen wouldn’t be drawn on which was more likely.


Please Marchionne make it the Taco's direct competitor. We already have the 4 door Jeep for lifestyle consumers. I want to see a pickup that can back up its looks and live up to the Wrangler badge.
 
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