A Ghost Reportedly Dies, Jeep and Ford Smile

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
a ghost reportedly dies jeep and ford smile

Can you kill a ghost? While Hollywood and some Catholic priests say yes, in the automotive realm the process of ridding oneself of a spectre usually involves a new sheet on the drawing board, not a ceremonial ritual.

As you may have already heard, a ghost long rumored to haunt Detroit’s future product stable has reportedly disappeared into the ether from which it came. It never had much of a form, its name carried a question mark, and no one officially admitted to its existence. It only had a clear rival: the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and upcoming Ford Bronco.

If you’ve concluded that we’re talking about that hazy GMC model, you’re bang on. Despite assurances from brand execs that General Motors’ truck brand had no intention of launching a body-on-frame rival to Jeep’s quintessential off-roader, just enough evidence of its development existed to keep the rumor alive.

Earlier this month, Muscle Cars & Trucks, citing GM sources, claimed that the BOF off-roader program died as a result of last November’s cost-cutting measures. That slash job spelled the end for several North American manufacturing plants and a handful of passenger car models. The publication claimed the program’s death came not from a widespread dislike of the Wrangler/Bronco rival idea, but the decision to move away from an all-new platform for the next-generation Chevrolet Colorado/GMC Canyon midsize pickups.

Backing up the report, at least to some degree, is this quote from LMC Automotive’s president of global forecasting, Jeff Schuster. “We have also heard rumblings that the vehicle may have been canceled but so far have not been able to confirm that,” he told Automotive News.

Schuster added that, “If it was canceled, it may speak to the cost pressure automakers are under and the proliferation of the SUV/CUV body style.”

Surely at GM the only concern would be the former, not the latter. Chevrolet just reintroduced the Blazer and TrailBlazer nameplates, and Buick will debut the Encore GX to slot above the Encore early next year. Granted, these models aren’t market-limited niche offerings. While the automaker lacks a non-pickup off-roader, ongoing belt-tightening and an almost guaranteed revenue bump from its new crossover introductions begs the question “why bother?”

GM remains silent as to the whether the Wrangler/Bronco rival program existed, or whether the hazy future might somehow hold just such a vehicle. If this ghost was indeed killed, one wonders why the automaker was seen benchmarking two Wrangler Unlimiteds at its Milford Proving Ground earlier this year.

[Image: General Motors]

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  • Wjtinfwb How does the ICE mid-engine C8 platform work for... anything else? A sedan? SUV? With a mid engine configuration? A mid-engine SUV will have to be Suburban sized to offer the utility of a CRV. GM should dust off the Omega platform designed for the Cadillac CT6 for an SUV/Sedan offering with exceptional handling, Rear or AWD capability and acceptable space utilization. They also need to focus on interior fit & finish, trim choices and high quality final engineering and assembly. What GM doesn't need is another half-baked product with a storied and prestigious badge on the decklid and a premium price on the Monroney. No more Cimarron's, Allante's or X-cars needed to tarnish the reputation of Corvette.
  • InCogKneeToe BUILD It and they will come.By Build It, I mean a Vehicle that the Customer Wants and it works for them. It could be called Chevette for all that that matters. The Mach E's success isn't because it totes the Mustang on it.Just build what people want, the next Caravan/Taurus/Beetle/Maverick (truck).
  • YellowDuck Wait...how do you make a mid-engine crossover? Or even a 4-door coupe? Me not get.
  • 28-Cars-Later Thanks Corey. The head stud job on NOrthSTAR-T was $3K *years ago* as it involves an engine pull so rear wheel arch rust in and of itself isn't a show stopper. I'll be sure to check out the trunk as it may start to add up on deferred maintenance. Supposedly this was garaged so the underneath the rockers etc. should be decent but if those are shot its not gonna work.
  • Mark 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, G4NG engine with connecting rod bearing issues. Engine needs to be replaced, but Hyundai is denying warranty claim. I have all maintenance records from mile zero. It has been in Hyundai Service department 5 time in 4 months. They added the knock sensor and software update to let you know the engine is about to blow up. They kicked the can down the road doing patch work until the car was past the 120k extended extended warranty. I have that documentation too. So how can I join the class action law suit or find a Lawyer that handles these types of issues?