By on January 14, 2010

Just in time for Truck Thursday at TTAC comes this hot bit of scuttlebut from Jalopnik: Hyundai might be developing a “highly-capable off-roader.” El Jalop cornered Hyundai USA boss John Krafcik at the Detroit Auto Show and asked him what his development boffins were up to. Krafcik’s cryptic answer is the seed of today’s WAROTD:

“every time our designers get together and start looking at concepts and the future, the first thing that comes out of those meetings — what everyone gets excited about — is the prospect of a Bronco-like, highly-capable off-roader.” As a follow-up on that answer, I asked if he meant a Wrangler-fighter. He answered only by smiling and repeating himself — “highly-capable.”

More capable than a Tucson? Seriously though, it will be a dogs age before Chrysler has the cash to update its bloated JK-generation Wrangler, and Hyundai’s going in for the kill. Or not… Krafic words his answer pretty cagily. Besides, Hyundai hasn’t had an even semi-serious off-roader since it rebadged the Mitsu Pajero to create the Hyundai Galloper (above).

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18 Comments on “Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: Hyundai Prepping Wrangler Competitor?...”

  • avatar

    Now that they’ve partnered with Kia they could always bring back the tooling from this thing:

    Just put a live front axle on it and people will go crazy for it.

  • avatar
    Dr. Nguyen Van Falk

    Hyundai can borrow the drive train from the Kia Borrego, connect it to a small and torquey diesel and crush the once venerable Wrangler.
    I was a proud owner of a 1998 Jeep Cherokee Sport, so I love my jeeps, but Chrysler needs to finish it’s insulting and inglorious death already and put Jeep in the hands of a company that will finally commit to diesels and offroading as a niche brand which it always should be.

  • avatar

    I’ve been waiting to see if another manufacturer would attempt to take on the Wrangler; it’s a capable vehicle that unfortunately has become overweight, overpriced and overly thirsty.

    Sort of ironic when you consider that Willys eliminated a coat of paint on the original Jeep, primarily for the purpose of making the design meet the military’s weight and cost limits.

    Alas, it was my sincere hope that Ford would have been the one to meet this challenge, but I suppose any competition is better than none.

    • 0 avatar

      Ford used to make Jeeps in Brasil.

      And still does:

      Per wikipedia: Brazil – Willys Overland do Brasil, purchased by Ford to become Ford do Brasil – 1957-1985 [25] and the Troller T4 is a fiberglass Jeep version built in Brazil. Troller was purchased by Ford do Brasil in 2007. 

      3. Troller:

      For purely selfish reasons, I don’t want any competition for Jeeps.

    • 0 avatar

      Another Jeep competitor from Brazil: And it uses a Fiat 2.8 diesel, plus parts. Ummm looks good. Now why is it so expensive?

  • avatar

    An off roader is easy to build. Anything with giant wheel arches with loosely connected monster axles. No tech here dana 60 front rear axles from ’75 F-250’s are sweet. Making it work on the road? That’s tricky. Wranglers have been brutal to passengers until 1997. When they made the TJ. The orig. jeep were tough, but you can search jokes about jeeps giving soldiers hemorrhoids/piles. durring the war.
    The suzuki samuri is a great off roader, but didn’t sell because on the street it was a handful. The off road community is shrinking due to land closures. There is no-one to buy competitive vehicles. Maybe a modern mini- moke?

  • avatar

    Wrangler was all new for 2007…it isn’t one of those fashionable 4×4’s to show off at the mall so it doesn’t need a complete re-do every 3-4 years. Also, believe it or not the current 2007+ Wranglers get better mileage than the 2006 and prior models….there’s only so much you can do with a brick, folks…

  • avatar

    Look at the -57% nosedive FJ sales took. That should tell you everything about off-roading in America. Everyone who still cares buys a 4×4 truck like Tacoma and mods it.
    Hundai still can produce a jeep to compete on the world market. It may even be a success. But it will not sell in America.

  • avatar

    Ed, I think it is “Krafcik.”

  • avatar
    Oregon Sage

    Why doesnt Hyundai just buy Jeep?  Chryco needs the cash and it would give Hyundai a brand and market they are weak in.  I supect their V6 and V8 could work nicely to power a Wranger.

    • 0 avatar

      Chrysler has between 5-6 billion in cash and new models will start coming the second part of this year.
      This article will help you catch up on Chrysler’s current state :,0,5819043,full.story

    • 0 avatar

      When it becomes politcally acceptable, Sergio will start the bidding for Jeep.

  • avatar
    Steve Biro

    it seems a few automakers have toyed with the idea of a Wrangler fighter over the years.  Ford created a concept vehicle that looked suspiciously like a first-generation Bronco.  Alas, it was not to be.  The U.S. almost got Daewoo’s Korando with a Mercedes inline six.  Vehicles Like Suzuki’s Tracker and Kia’s Sportage had appeal but were in a different class.  It’s time someone came through for us and it might as well be Hyundai.

  • avatar

    I think you’ll find the Kia Sportage is evry bit as ‘good’ (ho ho ho) as the Wrangler.

  • avatar

    The problem is posers have to buy off-road vehicles brand new, so that “we” can buy them used for cheap to modify them and make them “real” off-roaders.
    As much as I would love Hyundai to build a true ORV, it would be 3-4 years before I would buy one to actually use.
    I bought an eight year old TJ for $8000 and put $4000 into it.  There is no way I’d buy a new JK for $30,000 for a less capable rig.

  • avatar

    I think that Tucson would benefit from some LSDs…

    However, that Chundai has a very nice structure.

    I guess the LR3/Disco 3 on the video was to tow the Tucson when it got stuck. LOL

  • avatar
    Mr Carpenter

    Edward, you’re slightly off in regards to the “latest” serious type of SUV produced by Hyundai, but that would be forgivable since the Terracan wasn’t ever sold in North America and is now discontinued.

    Did anyone else notice the comment about “Bronco like”?  What was a Bronco (after the original 1960’s car, that is)?  It was a cut-down 2 door SUV using a PICKUP TRUCK as the basis. 

    I wrote to Hyundai several years ago and suggested that they take the Terracan (which was on a full frame) and inexpensively dip their toe into the pickup truck waters with it.  With a US production facility (Montgomery, Alabama), this means they could have bypassed the “chicken tax” (actually it’s a tariff).   Their V6’s were fitted as well as a seriously torquey diesel 4 cylinder (which probably couldn’t be have been made to pass the super-stringient US emissions, alas). 

    So perhaps just perhaps when everyone has their ass on fire in regards to running away from SUVs and pickup trucks because of sales collapsing, Hyundai is looking far ahead and considering what will happen WHEN Chrysler collapses.  And they obviously have no interest at all in buying Jeep (and thereby picking up the “Jeep curse”).

    Think about it.  Which company entities have built Jeeps?  Willys.  (dead).  Kaiser.  (dead).  American Motors Corporation (dead).  Chrysler (dead/reborn/dying). 

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