Skip to main content

Jeep’s long-rumored truck could be either a standalone model or a Wrangler off-shoot

2005 Jeep Gladiator concept
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Jeep has revealed new details about its long-rumored pickup truck. Although the on-again, off-again model still hasn’t been given the green light for production, the company’s design team is busily toying around with at least two distinctly different body styles.

The first option on the table is to build a truck that’s essentially a long-wheelbase version of the next-generation Wrangler that’s fitted with a pickup bed, a design that was previewed in 2005 with the Gladiator concept (pictured). If Jeep goes that route, the yet-unnamed truck is expected to be a rugged, body-on-frame model that will share nearly all of its components with its SUV sibling. It will be cost-effective to build and highly profitable, but it might not reach a wide audience.

According to Australian website Motoring, the second option is to build a standalone truck that will likely be less rugged than the Wrangler and designed with more of an emphasis on play than on work. From there, Jeep could build a smaller truck like the Fiat Toro that was recently introduced in Brazil, or a slightly bigger model that would take on the Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon twins and the Toyota Tacoma.

Regardless of what form Jeep’s truck takes, it needs to be a volume-focused model that’s capable of reaching a diverse audience all around the world, a task that’s easier said than done. Another obstacle standing in its way is that parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) hasn’t found the extra production capacity required to build a new Jeep model.

“We sell every Wrangler we make, there’s no extra room at the [Ohio] plant, so there are other issues beyond the vehicle itself,” explained Mike Allen, Jeep’s head of design.

The next Wrangler is scheduled to make its public debut at a major auto show in 2017 and it will land in showrooms as a 2018 model. If it’s given the green light for production, the truck could arrive before the decade draws to a close.

Déjà vu

The idea of a Jeep-branded truck is far from new. The CJ-8 that was introduced in 1981 was essentially a long-wheelbase version of the CJ-7 that was fitted with a pickup bed, which sounds a lot like the first option that company officials are considering.

Jeep also built a full-size truck called Gladiator from 1962 until 1988. It didn’t a spawn a direct successor, but the company continued to compete in the pickup segment until 1992 with a smaller model called Comanche that was based on the original Cherokee.

Editors' Recommendations

Ronan Glon
Ronan Glon is an American automotive and tech journalist based in southern France. As a long-time contributor to Digital…
Insiders claim the Tesla Model S nearly became the long-rumored Apple car
tesla model s

Apple's secretive Project Titan still hasn't managed to produce the long-rumored iCar. According to a recent report, it appears that the California-based tech giant considered taking a shortcut to the automotive industry by purchasing Tesla for considerably more than it was worth -- both then and now. Had the deal gone through, the Model S would have likely turned into the Apple Car we've been hearing about for years.

Analyst Craig Irwin told CNBC that Apple made a serious bid for Tesla in 2013. It offered to buy the company for approximately $240 a share. To add context, Tesla stock never crossed the $200 threshold during the 2013 calendar year; it started the year at about $35 per share and ended it at roughly $152. Apple made the company an excellent offer, but the deal ultimately fell through.

Read more
In Moab, Jeep isn’t just having fun off-road; it’s planning its future
in moab jeep isnt just having fun off road its planning future mark allen

Back in 1967, a group of city officials got together and organized the first Easter Jeep Safari, an annual pilgrimage to Moab, a small town in the Utah desert, for a diehard group of off-roading fanatics. Now fifty-three years running, what started as a humble one-day event organized by Moab Chamber of Commerce has expanded into a nine-day celebration of all things four-wheel drive that brings together thousands of like-minded enthusiasts from across the globe into one place. Think Monterey Car Week, but for 4x4s.

In recent years, Jeep has become a stronger presence at the annual event, choosing Moab as the venue to unveil its design team’s latest and maddest creations. In stark contrast to typical concept car introductions, where ostensibly gussied-up clay models are trotted out to auto shows for curated photo ops and kept at arm’s length from the critical eye of the automotive press, Jeep’s concepts are running and driving one-off machines. Digital Trends traveled to Moab not only to get a closer look at the 2019 crop of concepts, but to also get behind the wheel and see how these things fare out on some of the world’s most difficult trails. It’s a distinction that Scott Tallon, Jeep brand director for FCA North America, takes pride in.

Read more
Hellcat engine fits in the Jeep Gladiator and Wrangler, but there’s an issue
2020 Jeep Gladiator

The 6.2-liter supercharged Hellcat V8 engine has been a fountain of youth for the Dodge Challenger and Charger, and has also livened up the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Jeep has now confirmed that the engine also fits in the Wrangler and Gladiator, but a major problem prevents it from being used in those vehicles.

Jeep boss Tim Kuniskis told Australian car website Drive that the Hellcat "fits like a glove" in the Wrangler and its Gladiator pickup truck sibling. But the fit is so tight, Kuniskis said, that it leaves no "air space" between the engine and the body for crush zones, making it harder for the vehicle to absorb energy in a crash. A Hellcat-engined Wrangler or Gladiator would not pass federal crash tests, Kuniskis said, nixing the idea of offering that setup from the factory.

Read more