Jeep pickup truck expected by 2012

Trevor Hofmann - CAP staff
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One of the best ways for an auto manufacturer to make money is to build a vehicle off of a platform-architecture already in existence. Case in point is Jeep's Wrangler, which for years was only available as a two-door, but after coming to market in four-door Unlimited guise in 2007 became one of Chrysler group's best selling vehicles. Therefore, it only makes sense that the automaker would want to duplicate this pattern with something else on the Wrangler theme, hence a Wrangler Unlimited-based pickup truck appears to be well on the way.

From a recent closed-door dealer meeting in which Chrysler introduced their retailers to a number of new models and concepts, word has leaked out that a new Wrangler pickup will be here by 2012. The pickup that was shown is said to look a great deal like the Gladiator concept that debuted in 2005, which would bode well for marketplace success.

Basically the new truck will be a Jeep Unlimited up to the B-pillar, at which point the body will wrap around enclosing occupants ahead of a pickup truck box added to the back. Likely, removable hardtops and soft-tops will be part of the design, as will other features and accessories, some already available on the Wrangler, and others, such as canopies, box liners, cargo covers and tie-down hooks, made all-new.

The Wrangler has been significantly upgraded for 2011, with the majority of attention doted to the inside where improvement was most needed. The result is a more refined SUV that now includes many of the latest gadgets expected in a new vehicle.

While the idea of a Jeep pickup truck might seem novel to some, those who've been around a little longer will remember the midsize Cherokee-based Jeep Comanche available from 1986 through 1992, and the full-size Cherokee/Grand Wagoneer-based J-series pickup trucks from 1962 through 1988 (does the TV show Daktari come to mind?). Jeep also built a Wrangler-based pickup truck called the Scrambler from 1981 to 1985, which was basically an extended box tacked onto the back of a CJ-7 chassis.

The Wrangler pickup truck won't likely be as successful as the four-door Unlimited due to reduced seating, but it will find an avid off-road enthusiast base to build upon and therefore attain enough sales to make the business case worthwhile.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Pickup, Jeep,

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