Finally — FINALLY — Jeep is reportedly set to give the masses the Wrangler pickup truck they’ve been screaming for for years. That’s according to a new dispatch from Automotive News, which also reports Wrangler production will stay in Toledo, Ohio where it belongs.
The Wrangler truck would launch in 2017 or 2018 around the time the all-new Wrangler is set to debut, AN reports.
AN reports details will be announced after Fiat Chrysler concludes contract negotiations with the United Auto Workers union this month. Until this report came out, residents of Toledo weren’t sure whether they’d keep Wrangler production and all the jobs that come with it.
Unfortunately, according to this report, production of the Cherokee will move out of Ohio, likely to Michigan. Ideally they’d make it up with Wrangler truck production.
FCA’s Toledo Assembly Complex is composed of two plants: one smaller body-on-frame plant that builds the Wrangler and another nearly new unibody plant that builds the Cherokee. The two lines share some common parts staging, but otherwise operate independently.
The plan would require the unibody plant, locally known as Toledo North, to be converted to body-on-frame assembly. The redesigned Wrangler would launch there.
Loss of the Cherokee is a blow to Toledo, which had sought to keep the vehicle and expand Wrangler production. Through August, the Cherokee is Jeep’s top-selling vehicle in the U.S., averaging 17,611 sales per month. However, that wound may be salved if new vehicles to be added prove as popular.
While Jeep has had a few trucks throughout their history, there has never been a Wrangler-based truck (ETA: at least, not in the modern era, the old CJ Jeep Scrambler had a truck bed.) Fans have clamored for one — especially after the 2005 Jeep Gladiator concept, pictured above.
AN reports that it’s not known exactly what form this new Wrangler truck will take, or whether it will be like the Gladiator or something else entirely.
It is unknown whether the Wrangler-based pickup would be Gladiator-sized or smaller, to compete with the redesigned Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, as well as a potential Ford Ranger pickup. Either way, the Jeep badge and underpinnings should allow it to sell at a premium above those offerings.
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