Stop me if you heard this or a variation of this story before. Jeep President and CEO Mike Manley told Australian media at the Detroit Auto Show that the brand is still considering whether or not do a Wrangler Pickup.
“Firstly we are now well into the program for Wrangler renewal. It’s a longer-cycle program because of what the vehicle is. You know I am a big advocate of a Wrangler pick-up, [but] as part of that, the decision will or will not be made regarding a pick-up [variant]. From my perspective, it fits into the portfolio exactly,” said Manley.
Now Jeep has been floating the idea of Wrangler Pickup for a number of years. In 2005, Jeep showed off the Gladiator, followed by the Wrangler JK-8 concept at the 2012 Moab Easter Safari. Both concepts received were well received by both the public and the press. However, executives haven't moved on either truck as they would be worried it would steal sales from the Ram truck lineup.
Manley admits that the Wrangler pickup would be a big success in the International marketplace - for example, Australia's pickup segment made up a substantial 175,373 sales in 2013. But Manley also says trying to get around Ram is still a big hurdle to overcome.
“I believe if I did a Wrangler pick-up, every international market would take it. For you it’s a big deal. [but] even if you take up a pick-up variant of an existing vehicle, the level of investment to do that is not inconsequential. Outside of my desire to have it I still have to make sure from an economic perspective it’s the right thing to do,” said Manley.