Posted Aug 13th 2012 10:53AM
"Pretty soon." That's the answer Jeep president Mike Manley gave to Australian site Car Advice when asked about a decision on a Jeep pickup truck. And with the next-generartion Wrangler planned for arrival in 2015 or 2016, this is the window for getting with planners. There's certainly plenty of lust for a Jeep pickup – just look at the strong sales of Mopar's JK8 kit.
Concerning a factory-fresh production version, part of the considerations are whether to build a two-door, or a four-door that could provide more space for people and cargo but wouldn't have the Wrangler's same off-road might. Making a Wrangler variant that can't live up to the stalwart Jeep's off-road standards is a concern for Manley. The approach and departure angles of a four-door wouldn't be a problem, but the length of a pickup would mean "your break-over angle gets destroyed," said Manley, and in that case he wonders, "Then is it really a Wrangler?" The two-door, however, would have "no issue at all."
Another idea would be to build a Jeep pickup on a Fiat platform, perhaps the one underpinning the next Liberty. That could be a model distinct from the Wrangler line and, while still possessing the off-road promise of a Jeep. Manley only spoke of that hypotetically, though, saying he could "see the opportunity in the future" for such a vehicle. It shouldn't be long before we know one way or another.