Straight from the horse’s mouth – Jeep president and CEO Mike Manley expressed his desire to meet North America’s demand for a Jeep Wrangler pickup truck by putting one into production with the next generation of Wranglers while attending the 2013 Detroit Auto Show.
The last time a Jeep pickup graced the streets was the Jeep Comanche back in 1992, but demand in the states for a Jeep pickup truck has been ramping up over the past few years, with the Wrangler platform as a front-runner. Now, with the Jeep Wrangler coming off its best selling year in history, Mr. Manley expressed the company’s interest in expanding the Jeep lineup and a Jeep pickup truck is exactly what he has in mind. Noting that sales of the currently available JK-8 pickup truck conversion kit for Wranglers has far exceeded their initial expectations, Manley was adamant about Jeep owners driving the company forward and forming the overall direction of the business – and the current path seems to be leading right to a pickup truck. Whether this new addition to the Jeep lineup will be a full-sized truck or a compact pickup like the Comanche is also yet to be addressed, but a good guess has the new addition looking very similar to the JK-8 conversions.
As for when to expect a new Jeep truck on dealer’s lots, many will tell you Jeep plans to wait until the projected 2017-2018 release of the next generation Wranglers. So long as Jeep keeps with their current trend of releasing their next generations every ten years, 2017-2018 will be when the Wrangler gets its next overhaul and could be joined by a new fleet of pickup trucks when they start showing up at dealerships across North America.
A “Baby” Jeep Wrangler!?
Also hinted at by CEO Mike Manley was the production of a smaller Jeep (coined ‘baby jeep”) that will be riding on a Fiat platform in the coming years, possibly even as soon as 2014. Few details are known outside of Fiat-Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne confirming Fiat is to produce a “Jeep variant” of Fiat’s 500x crossover.
Looking to the Future
As Jeep pushes further into the global battle over automotive sales, the popularity of its flagship vehicle, the Jeep Wrangler, is hitting all-time highs here in the states. Clearly, Jeep feels it’s time to cash in on the growing opportunity to introduce new models to US markets in an effort to expand its overall market share. If Jeep can transfer the main selling points of its current brand and keep new models affordable to the majority of consumers, there’s little reason to doubt the possibility of success when also considering the strong brand loyalty within its current customer base.