Manley: Jeep Wrangler Truck Perfect For Brand, Business Case Not There

Cameron Aubernon
by Cameron Aubernon
manley jeep wrangler truck perfect for brand business case not there

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, 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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  • Vulpine Vulpine on Jan 15, 2015

    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.

    • DenverMike DenverMike on Jan 15, 2015

      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.

  • Tinn-Can Tinn-Can on Jan 15, 2015

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

  • Gardiner Westbound Gardiner Westbound on Jan 15, 2015

    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.

  • Big Al from Oz Big Al from Oz on Jan 16, 2015

    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.

    • See 2 previous
    • Vulpine Vulpine on Jan 17, 2015

      @Big Al from Oz 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).