There's talk in the air for a new Jeep pickup truck, based off the JK Wrangler
. A decision that might be made sooner than we think. After all, the new Wrangler won't be out till 2018, so that gives Jeep a few years to contemplate their next move as far as products and changes to the fleet. But if we're going to talk Jeep pickups, we need to look back at the history of these vehicles to get an idea of the impression they've made on many Jeep lives over the decades. The first production pickup trucks were the Jeep Gladiators, based on the large SJ Wagoneer chassis
. A 4WD chassis that had a proven track record as being rugged and dependable. The Gladiators were also known as Jeep's J-series trucks. They were available in many configurations and options, much like any other pickup truck on the market. You could get them in 2WD, 4WD, different wheelbases, different weight capacities, single or dual rear axles, independent or straight axle front ends, and other choices. The first models were powered by a straight six cylinder engine, but it wasn't more than a few years till Jeep began adding V8s as an option. The "Gladiator" name was used up till about 1971, but the J-pickup truck line continued on to 1988. By then, Chrysler owned the Jeep brand, and the trucks were phased out, so as not to compete with the Dodge truck line. The full size J-series were rough and tough trucks, and even used by the military. Their true grit legendary dependability was swept under the rug, and an era came to an end. Jeep continued to make pickup trucks, but they were smaller, and based off the XJ Cherokee vehicles. Known as the Comanche (or MJ series), they were produced from 1985 till 1992. They still had a good reputation, as do the XJ Cherokees
, for being dependable and tough midsize trucks, but they were not the battle wagons the J-series were. The Comanches were not even available with a V8. Sales of the Comanches dropped off over the years, at a time when there were many more truck choices to a buyer. Not just Ford or Chevy, but many import trucks as well, and Ford's smaller Ranger and GM's S10-series. Even Chrysler, which owned Jeep, was pushing Dodge trucks off the lots as fast as they could build them, competing with themselves. Chrysler wasn't willing to update the Jeep pickup truck idea, so rather than continue, they killed the line. A less than honorable death to a Jeep vehicle that would no longer be in the stable for drivers to own. It's been a long dry spell for a Jeep pickup truck. They are more than willing to make five different SUVs, from the Patriot, Renegade, to the long standing Grand Cherokee. But make a pickup truck? No. Because they don't want to compete with Dodge trucks. But things are slowly changing. MOPAR even went as far as make a kit so you can convert your JK Wrangler into a pickup truck yourself. Which makes you wonder, if there's no market for such a vehicle, why even bother with a kit to make one? Is Jeep testing the waters? What's the demand? It also makes you think, if they can make a do it yourself kit to add a bed, how hard can it really be for them to do it in a factory? The talk of bringing a pickup truck to the Jeep brand is being mentioned and submitted by CEO Mike Manly. In Australia, such a vehicle is known more as a "Ute", which are very popular all over their country (and of course, pickup trucks are best sellers here in the US as well). It's worth mentioning that a Wrangler bases pickup truck might be more a CJ Scrambler type vehicle. Though it might depend on if we end up with something that has 2 full doors, 4 full doors, or 2 rear "half" doors (like a club cab). A Scrambler is all one body, while a traditional pickup truck has a separate bed, body wise. Another factor might be the pricing. How would the price of a Jeep Wrangler based pickup (which would still have a small wheelbase) be compared to a mid or fullsize pickup truck? How much would the name, indeed the brand Jeep, influence a buyers choice? Even if a Jeep pickup truck was thousands more than another similar size truck offered in another brand, would it sell? This is just one of the many questions Jeep will have to work out in the coming years. Can they make a Jeep Pickup Truck? Of course they can. But most likely, as with many vehicles produced today, it would probably end up being based on an existing chassis (.ie the Wrangler). You know, you can buy an H2 Hummer, but in the end, it's just a re-bodied suburban. So are you willing to pay for the name? Further news in the future might tell what Jeep has planned. Maybe they're just testing the waters for now, seeing how it all plays out in the news, in social, and online. Like bugs on a fly strip. They have till 2018, so we'll have to keep our ears up and cross our fingers.