Has General Motors Changed Its Mind About Tackling Jeep?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
has general motors changed its mind about tackling jeep

In the middle part of this decade, as sales of the Jeep Wrangler (and the Jeep brand itself) rose into the stratosphere, speculation cropped up that General Motors would not let its rival dominate the off-road SUV market unchallenged. The company offered hints that it might field something of its own.

A GM SUV with serious trail-rated chops is still talked about today, even after GMC brand boss Duncan Aldred, speaking in 2017, said, “I don’t think it’s worth trying to take on Wrangler.” Even after the reborn Chevrolet Blazer turned out to be an Acadia-based crossover. Blame Ford’s upcoming Bronco and the Wrangler’s continued popularity for the continued speculation.

Now, the internet is once again abuzz after photos revealed two Wranglers at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds.

Spy shots published by GM Authority show two Jeep Wrangler Unlimiteds, festooned with sensors, making their way around GM’s test course. Clearly, the automaker is benchmarking Jeep’s perennially popular off-roader, but to what end?

Fans of The General no doubt hope this is all a lead-up to a new vehicle designed to take on the Wrangler in the dedicated off-road space. Know your competition, and all that. And it may indeed be, though GM has made no mention of a new model aimed squarely at the Wrangler or Bronco.

GMC would be the natural home of any such Wrangler fighter. While the automaker has kept the “Granite” trademark in the company fold for some time, the name, first used on a very unmasculine 2010 concept vehicle, is widely expected to land on a sub-Terrain crossover in the near future. Hardly a Jeep-fighter, unless we’re talking Renegade.

However, a platform introduction coming early next decade may give the company an opportunity to grant these enthusiasts’ wishes. Part of its plan to reduce complexity and lower expenses, GM expects to move all of its body-on-frame vehicles onto the VSS-T platform — a piece of architecture that would come in varying sizes. It’s possible a new SUV could emerge from the effort.

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

Join the conversation
4 of 36 comments
  • Oberkanone Oberkanone on May 30, 2019

    Bronco, Bronco Scout, Raptor, Ranger Raptor and an off road version of Explorer are Ford models either planned, approved, or already on the market targeting off road, outdoors lifestyle market that Jeep resonates with. GM will be late to the party if they do try to appeal to Jeep customers.

  • Hummer Hummer on May 30, 2019

    Hummer should not come back under Barra, maybe if a car enthusiast was in charge, but with bean counters in charge as they are a Barra controlled Hummer would mean tons of crappy crossovers. HUMMER left with 2 (x2) products - both of which were fielded by AM General on AM Generals proving grounds. 3 Generations of BOF trucks where every single truck left the factory with full time 4WD with low range. 3 generations of trucks with steel bumpers that could take an impact without significant damage better than any SUV made today. Lockers standard/optional on every model made, Emphasis on ground clearance, approach, departure, and breakover angles. V8 Standard/available on every product line. GM would be lucky to get one of those things right on a Modern HUMMER. Don’t screw up what works and don’t crap on heritage. The Blazer name has already been trampled on - let’s leave it at that.

    • See 1 previous
    • Hummer Hummer on May 31, 2019

      @Art Vandelay I have an H1 (sold one), 2 H2s (looking at a 3rd), a H3 V8 Alpha, and a H3T 5 speed manual. The HMCO H1 is close enough to s military version for me.

  • Dukeisduke Years ago, I was driving southbound along North Central Expressway (south of Mockingbird Lane, for locals), and watched a tire and wheel fall out of the bed of a pickup (no tailgate), bounce along, then centerpunch the front end of a Honda Accord. It wasn't pretty.
  • Dukeisduke If these were built in the US, they'd probably be plagued with recalls, like everything else they make now. It's just as well they don't bring them here.I've owned one Ford, a '95 F-150 (drove it for 17 years and 214k miles) and it was fantastic. But you couldn't run fast enough to buy another Ford. Quality used to be Job 1; now it's an afterthought.
  • Dukeisduke "side-to-side taillights""Across-the-border" is the phrase you're looking for - it's what Ford called the taillights on the '67-'68 and '70-'71 Thunderbirds.
  • 28-Cars-Later Pretty sure its the next gen Fusion, which did manage 110K sales in 2020 USDM but that was roughly 66% less than 306K it sold in 2013. If 100K units is the expected high water mark I can understand why resources went elsewhere... though Mach-E can't even do half that and its hyped like the Second Coming so maybe there was a missed opportunity after all?
  • Kcflyer Laughing inside at the "300 mile range when it's warm" line. Can you imagine if ICE vehicles were this comprised? What a sick joke the green agenda is.