Which Platform Will the Jeep Wrangler Pickup Use?

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
which platform will the jeep wrangler pickup use

We know it’s coming. Jeep CEO Mike Manley, while speaking at the North American International Auto Show, definitively stated the next-generation Wrangler will spawn a pickup. However, nobody has said anything about what the soup base for this new Wrangler stew is going to use.

When Jeep showcased the Gladiator pickup concept way back in the DaimlerChrysler era, it was built using Ram 1500 framework. It was a truck converted into a Wrangler essentially, instead of a Wrangler modified into the pickup format. While it’s been a decade since that concept saw the light of day, its recipe might still be the one FCA uses for a modern-day incarnation.

There’s evidence to support that claim, but — be warned — there is also speculation ahead.

Initially, the pickup was intended to coincide with the release of the updated JL Wrangler. Then Manley told The Detroit News that the JT pickupwhich FCA hasn’t yet given an official name — wouldn’t begin production until the end of 2019. This will follow FCA’s conversion of its Toledo North Assembly Plant from unibody to body-on-frame production. During retooling, current JK Wranglers will continue assembly at the complex’s South Assembly Plant.

However, Automotive News’ Fiat Chrysler expert Larry Vellequette says he has inside information that the Southern Plant is shutting down in April 2018 specifically because the JT pickup is too long for the paint shop at the Ohio factory. That doesn’t exactly convince me that FCA will use 1500 architecture. After all, who wouldn’t have thought the Wrangler pickup was going to be a longer vehicle? Early spy shots show it looking several inches longer than the JK, and that could just be down to the addition of the bed and some overhang.

It isn’t quite an a-ha moment, but Vellequette also reminded readers that FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has mentioned the possibility of Mexican Ram production returning back to the United States — especially if Donald Trump begins throwing around those import tariffs he’s been talking about. FCA may even already be making plans to repatriate its trucks. If so, platform sharing the JT with the 1500 would make good financial sense.

The bottom line: we still don’t know if Jeep’s pickup will use the next-generation JL Wrangler frame, the older JK chassis, or make use of Ram 1500 framework. While this news does make the latter option possible, it’s by no means an assurance. In the end, it might not even matter. Wrangler loyalists are exactly that — loyal. Provided it looks and feels like their beloved 4×4, it should sell regardless of what underpins it.

(Although, I’m curious which platform off-road enthusiasts prefer to see.)

[Image: Jeep]

Join the conversation
3 of 29 comments
  • Saarinen Saarinen on Mar 15, 2017

    I hope they stick with a size that is close to the current Wrangler Unlimited, however I would like to see a drastic improvement in the towing capacity. I would gladly exchange some rock crawling ability to tow 5,000 - 6,000 lbs. Most important feature to remain needs to be the removable top!

    • Gtem Gtem on Mar 15, 2017

      Saarnin I think that would be as simple as retuning the suspension somewhat, less emphasis on articulation, more on load-bearing. The JKU has got a decently long wheelbase, minimal rear overhang, and a decent powerplant to do light-medium towing with.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Mar 15, 2017

    We have heard this before. Seeing a picture and reading an article about a Jeep truck is not the same as seeing one in the wild.

  • Tassos ask me if I care.
  • ToolGuy • Nice vehicle, reasonable price, good writeup. I like your ALL CAPS. 🙂"my mid-trim EX tester is saddled with dummy buttons for a function that’s not there"• If you press the Dummy button, does a narcissist show up spouting grandiose comments? Lol.
  • MaintenanceCosts These are everywhere around here. I'm not sure the extra power over a CR-V hybrid is worth the fragile interior materials and the Kia dealership experience.
  • MaintenanceCosts It's such a shame about the unusable ergonomics. I kind of like the looks of this Camaro and by all accounts it's the best-driving of the current generation of ponycars. A manual 2SS would be a really fun toy if only I could see out of it enough to drive safely.
  • ToolGuy Gut feel: It won't sell all that well as a new vehicle, but will be wildly popular in the used market 12.5 years from now.(See FJ Cruiser)