A concept that turned into rumors has now turned into production plans for a Jeep Wrangler-based pickup due in the next couple years.
In 2005, Jeep introduced the Gladiator concept based on the RAM 1500 platform, and since then, rumors have been circulating about whether Jeep would actually produce a modern pickup to follow in the footsteps of a slew of previous trucks like the CJ-10, Gladiator, Honcho, Comanche, and others. This would be the second Wrangler-based pickup after the CJ-8 Scrambler and the first in over three decades.
Automotive News is reporting that Wrangler production will remain in Toledo, Ohio for the next generation and the pickup variant will be built alongside the two and four-door versions. The Cherokee will move to Michigan or Illinois.
Specifics on the pickup are unclear, but it will borrow aluminum parts from the next-gen Wrangler along with a diesel and small turbocharged four-cylinder engine for improved fuel economy. Size-wise, expect the Wrangler pickup to compete with small to midsize offerings like the Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, and Toyota Tacoma.
This begs the question of whether Dodge still plans to introduce a reborn Durango that would fit within the same segment. Considering how rapidly the small truck market is growing, it could make sense for FCA to have more than one offering, similar to GM.
FCA plans for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler to sell 350,000 units per year through all its variants. The pickup version may be introduced around the same time as the two and four-door 2018 Wrangler in 2017, or FCA might decide to hold off until 2018.