By on January 15, 2015

Jeep Wrangler Eliminator

The B&B’s only bet for buying a Jeep Wrangler pickup at the moment is to buy a Wrangler, then send it to a third-party for conversion. CEO Mike Manley says he’d love to have such a beast in his brand’s portfolio, as well, but there’s a hitch.

According to CarAdvice.au.com, Manley says that while “every international market” would take a Wrangler pickup, and that the idea “fits the portfolio exactly,” the business case for the truck still isn’t there.

Part of that case involves Ram: a Wrangler truck would do gangbusters on the showroom floor — the Wrangler made up 25.3 percent of the record 692,248 Jeep products sold in 2014 — but at the expense of the designated truck brand, an issue that has persisted for some time.

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86 Comments on “Manley: Jeep Wrangler Truck Perfect For Brand, Business Case Not There...”


  • avatar
    Beemernator

    I am too much of a pleb to get it. How would a ‘rough and tough’ lifestyle accessory like a Wrangler truck steal sales from a working man’s truck like the Ram?

    • 0 avatar
      mingo

      My guess the real reason is that the profit margin on a the RAM line would be much higher than that on the Wrangler truck. Since it’s a smaller truck, they won’t be able to charge the same $$ they would for a well optioned RAM 1500.

      On the other hand, Chrysler does not have a small or midsize pick up in their line up. Anyone looking to get a Wrangler truck isn’t going to consider a behemoth like the quad cab RAM 1500. I’m in the market for a midsize pick up that will fit in my garage. The full size trucks won’t. A 2 seater truck would be a challenge to sell since you can only carry one more person, but a 2 + 2 jump seats would be a sure bet.

      Sell it, they will come.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Because most of the people buying Rams (and F150s, and Silverados) are buying it as a ‘rough and tough’ lifestyle accessory, not for work or its capabilities.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      How does the working man buy the $40k RAM?

      I’m willing to bet that actual working men usually buy their trucks used from an urban cowboy types…

      Though I’ll gladly defer to someone with actual market data or expeience.

      • 0 avatar
        tedward

        Luke42

        I think you are right to the extent you are talking about the guys who actually pour the concrete and frame out the houses. Their bosses however are the ones who buy brand new 40 – 60k trucks and can use that depreciation on their taxes. Other than them, it’s urban cowboys all the way. I still think that new pickups are too big to be useful in anything other than a “clear field” environment. That makes them waaay less useful and desirable to me.

        If Jeep did a compact pickup Chrysler could forgo a new Dakota, and I think that would make a lot of sense for the brand family as a whole.

    • 0 avatar
      Domestic Hearse

      Yes, both the Ram full-size 1500 and a Wrangler mid-size pickup would be purchased by “lifestyle” consumers. Case in point, look at most Wrangler SUV sales already: I’d venture 80%+ of the purchasers will never use their Wrangler as it was intended. It’s simply a “lifestyle” image projection.

      Yes, the Wrangler Truck may cannibalize Ram 1500 lifestyle sales. However, anyone arguing that the profit on a Wrangler truck would be less than that on a Ram 1500, similarly equipped, has not been to a Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep-Ram dealership lately and priced out Wrangler Unlimited models. For what you get, it’s priced quite high, and there are few if any incentives. These things simply sell on their cool factor alone. And sell well. The Wrangler Truck would command a premium above that of the Unlimited SUV!

      I’d venture to say that having the mid-size Wrangler truck in the mix would, in the end, increase Fiat-Chrysler’s overall truck sale figures. If there’s no business case for that decision, I fail to see it.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        MSRP and transaction price have little relation to profitability for the OEM. I’m sure the dealer may cash in though. The Ford GT sold for $150,000+ and dealers had to be making an absolute killing off them. But Ford still took a loss.

        Chrysler killed the Dakota line, but kept right on building the Durango. Same platform. That should tell you everything you need to know.

        • 0 avatar
          Domestic Hearse

          The Dakota was a mid-size truck in a dying market (no relevant sales numbers). The Durango was a 3-row SUV in a growing market.

          The Wrangler has been built on a simple, robust platform going on six years, sharing its engine across the Chrysler lineup. While it’s true MSRP does not reflect OEM profit, given the platform, content, and shared components of the Wrangler, along with its high MRSP relative to similarly contented SUVs, I’d be surprised if it were not one of the most profitable vehicles in Fiat-Chrysler’s lineup.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            You assume there would be a “relevant” market for the Wrangler Truck, while sharing an SUV platform, engines, etc, but the Dakota did the same. It’s true the Wrangler truck would sell at a much higher price than comparable 4X4 midsizers, but why wouldn’t I be happier paying much less for the Tacoma 4X4 with jump seats for my dogs and small kids?

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Just because you don’t see a pickup driving around with a bed full of lumber everyday doesn’t mean it’s not used.

        Some folks need the capability of a truck to tow/haul/etc, albeit infrequently. In the old days, they would just buy a truck and a sedan. Now, vehicle prices have gotten so high, it’s a better value proposition to just buy a loaded pickup as a lone vehicle. The small gas millage penalty is nothing compared to cost of another vehicle and everything associated with it.

        Suppose you have $45k to spend on NEW vehicles. That will get a bare-bones XL vinyl pickup and a poverty-spec midsize sedan. Or you could get a $45k, 4×4 V8 Crew Cab pickup with leather, nav, heated/cooled seats, Bose audio, etc. It’s not a hard choice.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        “These things simply sell on their cool factor alone. And sell well. The Wrangler Truck would command a premium above that of the Unlimited SUV!”

        I’m not convinced. The 4 door models are what really allowed Wrangler sales to expand to what they are because they opened the door to a much wider demographic. Most people consider 4 doors a necessity in a vehicle these days, even on pickup trucks.

        A Wrangler pickup would be resigned to a 2 door regular cab because that’s all the Unlimited chassis would be able to accomodate. The Gladiator concept was actually built upon a Ram frame.

  • avatar
    turbosaab

    It’s hard to believe they can’t make it work. Mini and BMW seem to have no problem profitably cranking out numerous body styles of the same car. How much extra engineering is really involved?

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      I know a couple of people who would like to see a pickup truck Wrangler happen, but I agree, there just wouldn’t be enough buyers, save the Wranger fans, to get to the break-even point for one.

    • 0 avatar
      ClutchCarGo

      Multiple flavors of Mini have little overlap with the BMW line up. Manley has to face the real possibility of cannibalizing Ram sales, though I think that concern is overblown, and the international upside makes for a real argument in favor of the incremental expense of a pickup.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Wouldn’t a Wrangler truck be smaller than a 1500 Ram as well? I don’t see a Wrangler having a bed large enough for a 4×8 sheet of plywood. Heck the most popular trade in would likely be a few old H3 Hummer T (for truck) models.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Get serious, that picture is 11 years old. Jeep Gladiator Concept

    • 0 avatar
      Timtoolman

      True, but it is the most current. They could have posted a TK conversion.

      I think what Jeep/FCA really needs is a stretched Wrangler with a flip and fold rear seat, removable doors and top. This concept is nifty, but I wouldn’t buy one. And comparing a 1500 and a much smaller Scrambler doesn’t compute to me.

    • 0 avatar
      highdesertcat

      What is telling, is the number of Jeep Pioneers still running around in my area, and they are all around 30 years old or more.

      • 0 avatar
        Firestorm 500

        Pioneer was a trim level on the earlier XJ Cherokees. You might mean Comanche, which was the XJ with a bed.

        • 0 avatar
          highdesertcat

          Firestorm, what I see on a regular basis is at least two different, well-worn, light-blue metallic, 80-something, Jeep pickup trucks with the word “Pioneer” on the bed painted in White with a factory-accent stripe down the s!de.

          As far as I can tell, they are both OEM, bought at Walker Motors in Alamogordo, NM. The owners res!de somewhere in the Sacramento Mountains, but I don’t know them. Bearded fellows, both of them.

          • 0 avatar
            Firestorm 500

            I believe the full-size Jeep J-10 trucks also had a Pioneer trim package. J-10s and J-20s were built until 1988.

            If your Jeeps look like a compact XJ Cherokee on the front face, then they are Comanches. They were built until 1992.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            Thanks, I didn’t know that.

            The Jeeps I see look more like the Grand Wagoneer I used to own, from the front, except that they are not as big as the full-size trucks of that era, and larger than the Luvs, Datsuns, and Toyotas of the same era.

  • avatar
    Dirk Stigler

    There are lifestyle models of the Ram that bring in large profits while sharing most parts with the rest of a very high-volume product line. The Wrangler truck would probably siphon enough sales from those to kill them off, while being unable to make up the difference, let alone exceed it, due to being a niche product with a lot of unique components.

  • avatar
    Timtoolman

    I disagree with Manley’s take. They are apples and oranges. I drive a Ram 1500 and will trade it when I get my Wrangler, but that decision comes with some sacrifice. I give up the hauling and towing of the Hemi, but I get that feeling of freedom by getting 4WD and the option of driving it without a top and doors. If a Scrambler were available, the choice would be between the Wrangler and Scrambler, not Scrambler and a new 1500. I’d actually like to afford to keep the truck and use it during deer season and for home improvement projects. I just don’t’ think I can afford both.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    For what it’s worth, my hometown Chrysler dealer had a converted Wrangler pickup for sale as a new vehicle. That thing sat on their front line for over a year. Admittedly, sticker was close to $40k CDN, and they’re supposedly not that flexible on prices, but at the same time, how much market is there for two-seater, single-cab trucks? In theory, if there really was a market for this, Toyota could’ve spec’ed a single-cab short-bed Tacoma with all their offroad goodies and had something close enough that they’d attract enough people who claim they want this. But, small single-cab pickups barely exist anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      Timtoolman

      I’ve seen them here too, and some are nearer to 60 grand. I think the dealer is trying to cash in on the mentality that some dummy with a lot of money just HAS to have one.

      If Chrysler/Jeep/FCA were to have the capacity to add another line, I don’t think the investment in a Scrambler truck would amount to anything (in automotive circles). And there are a lot of Jeepsters out there that I can see having both a Wrangler and Scrambler in their driveway.

      And to my other post, I don’t see the comparison between a Ram 1500 and a Scrambler pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      My Chrysler dealer had one of those, too.

      The problem with it was that the bed was a useless fashion statement.

      I owned a Ranger for 8 years, and I love small trucks. But the reason I owned the truck was so that I could haul stuff in the bed. I’m not interested in fashion-oriented trucks with useless 4′ beds that have fenders impinging on the load floor.

      I wanted the Gladiator bad, though. A flat-floor 4’x6′ bed that would extend to 8′ with the tailgate folded down (to haul plywood/drywall) which looked like a Jeep Wrangler and drove like something designed in the last 10 years and had MPGs slightly metter than my old Ranger would have been irresistible. Especally with a small diesel. I’m in more of a minivan and EV stage of life these days… But, still, take my money, please!

  • avatar
    sirwired

    The argument about hurting your own sales only makes sense if Ram had a lock on the truck market, which they don’t. Haven’t they gotten the memo about the fact that if you aren’t willing to compete with your own products, somebody else will do it for you, which hurts even more.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      Chrysler is incredibly antsy about competing too closely with itself in any category since that’s what killed Plymouth and DeSoto.

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Mercury
        Pontiac
        Oldsmobile…

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Edsel was far more guilty as it was a vanity project and fourth superfluous brand to Lincoln, Mercury, and Ford.

          Mercury probably made probably made sense at the time in 1938 due to a booming auto market in which domestics only competed with themselves. Later when the concept of “junior Lincoln” wasn’t panning out so well, turning it into a badge engineered brand for Lincoln dealers to sell excess Ford capacity was also probably not a bad idea. Lincoln for the moment has become similar to Mercury by selling upscale Fords through a now dated LM channel.

          Pontiac and Olds were the result of the odd formation of General Motors but eventually each found a niche, one performance (sort of) and the other near luxury with then cutting edge technology slated for upcoming Cadillacs. Each in their time may have made sense due to huge GM market share, and each may have still made sense in a protectionist style economy.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            They made sense until Toyota, Nissan, Mercedes Benz, VW, Audi, BMW and Honda said they didn’t

          • 0 avatar
            RHD

            If the Edsel brand had persisted, for many years there could have been Ford, Lincoln, Edsel & Mercury dealers, and if all that wouldn’t fit on the sign, it would have simply read “FLEM”.

  • avatar
    mkirk

    I would think most of these buyers would be Wrangler buyers anyway. Nobody is buying this as a work truck.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    It would effectively be a niche vehicle as a 2 door pickup. We know that the large majority of trucks are now of the 4 door variety, this honestly might sell what, 20k, 30k copies tops? While it could probably done somewhat profitably if marketed globally, it’s probably not a priority.

    As for cannibalizing Ram sales, I’m thinking it’s probably not much of a concern as this would be much lighter duty than even the lowiest Ram 1500s. They could probably funnel some percentage of small truck buyers into shorty 1500s, but not all of them. But when the market for such a vehicle is effectively small, they can afford to leave some of those sales on the table.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    History repeats itself. When (the former) Chrysler Corporation bought Jeep from the last vestiges of AMC, they killed the Comanche because it was in direct competition with the Dakota.

  • avatar

    AEV makes a pretty awesome crew can conversion of the current model wrangler.

    http://www.aev-conversions.com/vehicles/brute-double-cab

    The big problem is price due to trying to amortize the engineering over low volume. If Jeep just bought out AEVs design and adapted it they could easily sell more volume than AEV and bring the price down to a more reasonable level probably around Rubicon or Sahara Unlimited prices. Plus then it’s a crew cab. The most profitable and popular configuration.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Yeah, that’s a $70K Jeep Unlimited pick-up

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Aye. I’m not willing to pay $65K on top of the relatively base $30K for a crew cab pickup truck, even if it is a Jeep. But then, the AEV conversion does more than just stretch the wheelbase and stick a bed on it; you’re getting almost all-new suspension and typically a pretty large V8 engine (though they will keep the V6 if you insist.) $75K-$100K is just too much for a pickup version of a Jeep Wrangler. But it DOES prove there’s a demand for them.

  • avatar
    insalted42

    If you’re not gonna give us a Wrangler pickup, at least give us a small/medium-sized Ram truck à la Dakota.

  • avatar
    TW5

    CAFE is the reason. The cannibalization excuse is used by every automaker; therefore, people are willing to accept it. In reality, Jeep is going to spend every penny of the Wrangler budget to get their iconic vehicle to achieve CAFE compliance.

    By 2025, the Wrangler is supposed to make 37mpg. Jeep need a 120% increase in fuel economy for Jeep Wrangler to maintain compliance. Not remotely realistic, is it?

    FCA doesn’t have the time or the energy to play around with Wrangler trucklets. They have to spend every dollar and every man-hour on engineering and lobbying. What the auto market needs is an exemption for light trucks with a solid axle. If solid axle, then you’re in the 23mpg footprint, regardless of vehicle size. Not an easy feat, but at least it’s doable. Plus, you’re not going to see the Japanese equipping the CRV or RAV4 with a solid axle to skirt the rules.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      Yes nobody would abuse that rule…

      • 0 avatar
        TW5

        You can’t abuse the rule. The easiest way to achieve CAFE compliance for light trucks would be to sell midsize and compact light trucks, which can easily (relatively) achieve 23mpg. The manufacturers would have the option of cannibalizing their fullsize trucks (which are killing the middle class). The current CAFE regulations make the manufacturers even more dependent upon their fullsize truck lineup.

        • 0 avatar
          whynot

          No need for cannibalization. The automakers would make sure that the full size have a solid axle and viola they meet regulations (remember the CAFE numbers are based on the old EPA mpg test, not the newer, more realistic one. So under CAFE full size trucks get better mpg than it first appears) They will even charge the same prices to increase their margins because people have no problem paying them now.

          No need to invest in small trucks and steal sales from your money maker.

        • 0 avatar
          Landcrusher

          Full size trucks are killing the middle class? What are you talking about?

          • 0 avatar
            TW5

            Public economics data that you should read from time to time. Very strong correlation between economic growth and household spending on gasoline. Partly because economic boom raises household income which suppresses proportional spending, but mainly because fuel costs can wreck our fragile consumer economy.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          The middle class needed to be killed off anyways! But if OEMs build compact/midsize pickups and they’re slow sellers, what then? Take a loss for what? And they won’t sell.

          It’s cheaper to pay measly CAFE fines with the obscene profits of fullsize pickups. Except fullsize pickups are right on schedule to meet the CAFE requirements. No problem.

          All midsize pickups need is fullsize drivetrains with proportionate hp/tq settings and gearing. And built on the same chassis with smaller/shorter bodies, as is the Frontier/Titan.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            Strange how someone who says pickup trucks don’t have obscene profits on one TTAC thread now acknowledges it on another, isn’t it?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            When did I say fullsize pickups trucks don’t have obscene profits? And that’s exactly what people like to forget. Even if they don’t reach the CAFE target requirements, the fines are minuscule in comparison to tremendous net pre tax profits.

            Except fullsize pickups will easily meet the 2025 CAFE. Almost there already.

            Midsize trucks need lots more work, but revenue isn’t really there to heavily invest in FE tech. But they would be much improved and better off as fullsize trucks with shrunken dimensions/mass, (like the Frontier with its modified Titan chassis) fullsize drivetrains (V8s, TTV6s) slightly de-tuned, for slightly less weight, wind resistance and performance.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            You say I don’t pay attention, Denver. Well, here’s your answer:

            “The only thing that makes fullsize pickups wildly profitable is “volume”. If a Taurus sold 600,000+ units annually and the F-150 just 40,000 units, guess which one would be wildly profitable and which the loss leader (for the OEM)?” — https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/editorial-someone-making-money-mid-size-trucks/#more-974034

            Now, you can’t have it both ways. They’re either grossly overpriced, explaining why the OEMs can take up to $10K off the hood in a ‘sale’, or they’re such high-volume vehicles that their “tiny” profits add up. You even linked to an article about the 12 most profitable vehicles which clearly demonstrated that the American pickup truck took the top three spots while the most popular VEHICLE came in at #12. So you clearly proved in that other article that they were “grossly overpriced” while trying to tell me they weren’t.

            I’ve got you on your own words, Denver. Anybody here can follow my link to see that you’ve eaten them.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            Full size pickups are both high margin AND high volume. I missed where this was being denied.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “Except fullsize pickups will easily meet the 2025 CAFE. Almost there already.”

            Really? We know that the 2025 CAFE says, “”footprint”: 75 sq ft (7.0 m2) or bigger (e.g. Ford F-150) — 30mpg” At the moment, only one truck comes close and that one is a diesel with very limited load capacity according to most arguments. Worse, few of them can even achieve the 2017 CAFE requirement of 25mpg–particularly Ford’s newest models. Most still fall well below that and only barely meet the 2014 requirement of 23mpg. Interestingly, the new Chevy Colorado seems to fall in a hole between “”footprint”: 41 sq ft (3.8 m2) or smaller (e.g. Chevy s10)” and “”footprint”: 75 sq ft (7.0 m2) or bigger (e.g. Ford F-150)” where the fuel mileage requirement seems much more vague.

            You are right about one thing though; the effective penalty for exceeding CAFE rules is roughly half what it was when implemented when you take inflation into account.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            danio, read his full argument on that other thread. He flat denied that trucks were grossly overpriced and that the ONLY reason they were profitable was in their numbers. Considering that the Toyota Camry is the most popular vehicle in the US–meaning it sells more numbers than any single truck–it should have been #1 or #2 in the list, not #12, so it’s not numbers alone.

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            I will agree with that statement, Danio.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine – Again, when did I say they were not_obscenely_profitable? It’s the *what* makes the obscenely profitable that has you all confused/perplexed. Again the word “volume” comes into play. Kinda vital here.

            MSRP is inconsequential. And irrelevant.

            Otherwise the Titan an Tundra would be obscenely profitable too. Nissan and Toyota likely take a loss on them. They definitely wouldn’t exist without the SUVs that share their platforms. Gives them some necessary “volume”, even if indirect.

            No, the Camry is just as “grossly overpriced”. More so actually. You just don’t see it in its MSRP. And because it takes about 1.2 to 1.5 Camrys to equal the transaction price of an obscenely profitable fullsize pickup. Same base price though.

            With any of the Top 12 most profitable, the expensive production costs are paid off early into a generation. You’re left with mostly parts and labour. And it’s easy to see the Camry takes much less parts, much less labour, compared to the F-150’s 2 or 3X more expensive/complicated build (parts/labour).

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            @Vulpine – No way does the Camry outsell the F-150. Not even close! You’re only counting US sales. The F-150, Ram, Silverado and Sierra are wildly popular in Mexico and Canada. The Camry not so much.

    • 0 avatar
      Timtoolman

      True, and true, but I disagree with spending all the money to achieve the unachievable. I don’t think the added costs of creating a Scrambler (not a Gladiator) would be prohibitive. I suspect it has more to do with showing their proverbial hand. GM shuttered Hummer, which was nothing more than a licensing agreement with AM General, itself, a spinoff of AMC/Jeep. GM has already said they want to have more vehicles that will compete with Jeep.

      Pressure’s on…

  • avatar
    Zackman

    Now THIS is a Jeep I’d love to have – just what this “doctor” ordered. So much more room in the cab than the old Comanche which was smaller than a Ranger standard cab.

    Someone who buys one of these isn’t buying one as a trade vehicle – who cares about whether a 4×8 sheet of plywood fits flat in the bed or not? I’m sure that one can be creative and get it home one way or another much easier than trying to strap it to a roof or cram it in a CUV.

    Love the look and… well – everything about the Wrangler pickup is cool, cool, cool!

    HOWEVER… after saying all this, I’d still prefer a new version of the old Jeepster C101 Commando…

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    Google JK8. You can buy the kit from Mopar to do the conversion. But realistically, a body shop needs to do the work.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      That’s what I was thinking. Fiat already makes the parts for a Wrangler pickup. All they need to do is put them on during production and they have a new Scrambler. I suspect liability requirements are already met for OEM accessories like the JK8 kit. They aren’t doing it for an idiotic reason, whether it is because of Obama or Ram.

  • avatar
    bills79jeep

    ‘Manley says that while “every international market” would take a Wrangler pickup, and that the idea “fits the portfolio exactly,” the business case for the truck still isn’t there.’

    Maybe I’m not understanding his comments, but it sounds to me like he thinks it would sell. If so, what else does a business case need? I also don’t buy the cannibalization argument. If anything, I think it would cannibalize Tacoma/Colorado sales. As TTAC loves to trumpet, the small truck market is small. At the same time, wouldn’t Jeep be making a nice profit at 60k units/year, shared platform and all?

    FWIW, whoever green-lighted the 4-door Wrangler should have the nicest office at Jeep HQ. I don’t know what the expected sales were for it, but there is no way it hasn’t exceeded expectations.

    • 0 avatar
      Timtoolman

      My thoughts exactly. Foreign markets would love a Wrangler pickup. As popular as full-size pickups are here, they don’t sell in places that can’t accommodate their size/fuel economy. With all of the noise Jeepsters make, this vehicle has to be in the making…HAS to be.

      And unfortunately, the guy who designed the 4-door Wrangler probably still works for Daimler. Maybe not.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    I wonder what that cargo are looks like. The thing that really turned me off of the Wrangler unlimited as a replacement for my 4Runner was how small the interior and cargo room dimensions were. In order to have that take-off roof, the beefy exposed rollcage eats into a heck of a lot of interior space. With just a cab to worry about in a rollover, is the bed a lot more open?

    Love the looks of this thing. Make one with grey painted steel wheels and a non-metallic paint and keep the 6spd manual as an option and I’d have a hard time staying away, mpg and practicality be damned.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      While you may like the ‘clean looking’ interior of the 4Runner, the roll cage in the Jeep honestly doesn’t take up as much space as you claim. On the other hand, I don’t like the fact that the rear seats don’t fold flat in the JKU, giving a more usable load floor. And looking at the photo above (that’s the ’05 concept) the roll cage wouldn’t impinge on the bed at all, eliminating one of your concerns.

  • avatar
    Speed3

    There are probably a lot of factors going into the business case decision: would it cannibalize higher margin Ram sales? How would it affect the company’s CAFE average? Would adding the truck (and volume) help amortize the investment in aluminum/engineering/tooling for the next generation? etc.

    If it were a clear case then they would build it. Just like if the demand were there automakers would be selling wagons.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    You’re all forgetting :

    Jeep _did_ make and sell 4X4 single cab pickups and not many were sold .

    No wonder they dropped it , not even the Military was buying them any more .

    I saw a single cab conversion in Palos Verdes , Ca. last year , it looked very good in Navy Gray livery ~ at first glance I thought it was a special order Naval Surplus Rig but it wasn’t ~ it looked very nice and to me , would be *just* the thing for a rough or Country Job Site rig .

    More’s the pity they don’t offer such a thing IMO but truth be told , the folks who’d want it are not the end users who buy new .

    -Nate

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      If you look at the image above, the truck is an extended cab, not a ‘single cab’. But that’s really beside the point. The trucks Jeep used to sell (the J-10/J-20 and Commanche) were more conventionally-styled and as such direct competitors to the existing RAM lineup at the time Chrysler purchased AMC. It wasn’t that people weren’t buying them but rather that Dodge didn’t want the direct competition from an in-house brand and RAM still doesn’t.

      That said, if you look up the Egyptian Jeep site, they have an open-cab design in regular use with their military based directly on the JK design with leaf-spring rear and longitudinal benches for carrying a squad. By no means would such a vehicle be impossible here in the States, but a bed wall would need to be included behind the front seats which would almost eliminate any chance for a soft-top feature.

      And you would be strongly surprised and what people would buy it new. Apparently you have no concept of what the Jeep aficionados will buy next.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Honestly, a Wrangler-based pickup would be a big seller. Jeep could get away with it by simply making the bed a little shorter and narrower–such as 6’x 4.5′ straight-walled inner bed with the external fenders Jeep is noted for on the Wranglers today. It would be different enough to probably not cannibalize too many RAMs while offering an effective mid-sized truck that would legitimately compete with the Colorado/Canyon, Tacoma and Frontier.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      There’s just not enough meat on the midsize pickup “bone”, to justify an expensive Jeep pickup. And an expensive pickup for just 1 passenger?

      It’s the 2nd row seating that sells Wranglers and other SUVs. But a bed instead?

      So why isn’t there a LR Discovery 2-seater pickup? I’ll bet all the European Vulpii are dying for one!

      Except Wranglers are strictly lifestyle. To some degree, midsize pickups are very lifestyle dependent too, but they’re also highly reliant on fleet, trades, gov, utilities, cheapskates and bottom feeders.

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    I would buy a wrangler pickup, I would never buy a dodge ram… Stick your bidmess degree up your butt…

  • avatar
    Gardiner Westbound

    I had a ’71 Jeepster Commando pickup. Used it for everything. Loved it to pieces. If they produce the Jeep Wrangler pickup I’ll be at the Chrysler dealer’s door on Day 1.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeepster_Commando

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    I do think there would be a global market for a Wrangler midsize cab chassis. Pricing is it’s biggest downfall.

    It couldn’t be made in the US as the cost would be prohibitive to compete against the more refined and cheaper global pickups.

    If made in India or China I do think it would be a competitive vehicle.

    The Wrangler is a very agricultural vehicle. I would remove the Pentastar and only supply the VM 2.8 diesel of a large FCA 4 cylinder gas engine.

    For quality it would compete against the Tata and other Chinese pickups etc. So it would have to be sold relatively cheaply.

    I do know I’ll get some flack, but remember Tata and Mahindra make some agricultural vehicles as well, the Wrangler isn’t the only one around.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      The Wrangler wouldn’t necessarily be competing against those “more refined” trucks; it’s basic purpose is as an off-road vehicle for getting to more inaccessible locations that the average pickup truck can’t reach. I’ll grant that modern pickups are far more capable in many ways, but the shorter wheelbase and typically higher ground clearance and approach/departure angles give the the ability to go places larger trucks simply can’t reach. I’ve witnessed this myself by watching a full-size crew cab try to take some of the off-road trails at Rousch Creek in Pennsylvania; there were some parts of the trails it simply could not navigate because of its size. This might not make much of a difference in some areas, but when you get into more technical, rocky or heavily-forested areas the shorter length and higher un-modified clearances will make a difference.

      I do agree that the Wrangler doesn’t need a huge engine, but I’m not opposed to the Pentastar. On the other hand, a smaller diesel producing more torque at lower RPMs would be just as effective and likely more economical when off-road range is critical (a 23 gallon tank when you’re only getting 20mpg means an only 400 mile range. That same tank with a 30mpg diesel would give you over 600 miles.) Then again, with diesel over $1/gallon more expensive than even mid-grade (89 octane) gasoline, the range becomes more important than the cost. Meanwhile, the Mahindra company was sold a license to build on the Willys/Kaiser Jeep platform in perpetuity and is in many ways today more a Jeep than the Jeep itself.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        @Vulpine,
        I’m not describing the US market, as I don’t think the US market will support enough Wrangler pickups for production. Remember a Wrangler pickup would have to be manufactured in a NAFTA country.

        The Wrangler you speak of is from a US perspective. In a developing nation many roads are just tracks. This is where a Wrangler pickup would survive.

        The problem then is can FCA provide the required support. I don’t think so.

        Maybe in China or India it can.

        As popular as the Wrangler is it is still kind of a niche product for the off road set, or wanna be off road set in the US and Australia.

        The Pentastar Wrangler is actually a pig on fuel. I do know on a test done here in Australia it used 14 litres per 100km. Even a diesel Landcruiser wagon gets around 11-12 litres per hundred.

        • 0 avatar
          Vulpine

          In general, I have to disagree with your conclusions even though I agree with your individual points; nobody really expected the 4-door Wrangler to be such a success, either. “It’s not a ‘real’ Jeep” was the theme of the day.

          And yes, I will agree its fuel mileage could be better. On the other hand, at a steady 45mph its economy with the existing engine should be about 4 gallons per 100 miles or about 8 litres/100km. That’s what I’ve achieved even with my older, non-Pentastar version. The Wrangler’s abysmal aerodynamics are a big part of why fuel economy is so poor.

          That said, we’re already aware that the next version of the Wrangler will be slightly more aerodynamic. It’s also expected to be somewhat lighter, though that’s going to have to come more from materials used than from any paring down of hardware components. Granted, losing the solid axle housings could help it lose a hundred pounds or so, you’re certainly not likely to see it go on the kind of diet the F-150 took and get the same results. I also don’t think using a turbocharged engine is the best solution either, as it would be too easy to get yourself in trouble if boost kicks in on a technical bit of trail.

          A Jeep pickup would have one advantage though; it wouldn’t NEED to be a 4-door and in all actuality the people most likely to want a Jeep pickup would simply want a 2-door with a part-time back seat in the manner of the Gladiator imaged above. Eliminating the weight of a full-time rear seat and putting in basically a padded bench with a pair of seat belts could save another 40-50 pounds. Losing the back half of the roll cage could have a similar effect. On the other hand, stretching the frame one foot would put some weight back on.

          That then leaves everything down to the engine and honestly today’s smaller engines put out more power than even when the Pentastar first came out. My Jeep runs fine at 200 horses, so something like Fiat’s Tigershark at 185 horses might serve the model well, though I’ll grant it’s not likely to have as much torque without a 6-speed or better tranny attached. Considering the Renegade Trailhawk boast 20:1 crawl ratio with a Tigershark and a 9-speed, that may really be all the engine a Wrangler needs. (Make it the standard with the Pentastar optional might help it fit into CAFE).

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