What's interesting, is that Dodge tried this with the M80 concept, and by extension, the funky fendered Durango and Nitro. Chevy tried the retro approach with the HHR on the heels of the success of Plymouth's Prowler and PT Cruiser. Then, they went the next step with the SSR. Eventually, people lost interest, either because the price was ridiculous (CHEVY), or because the styling was just a bit off (DODGE).
Enter Jeep. The stylings and popularity of the Wrangler, and commotion, still, over the Gladiator concept, the general public's wishes for a simple, small pickup, a la Comanche, and obscene gas prices have compelled us to rethink our needs.
Gone are the days when John Q. Public "needs" that diesel or Hemi. Being honest, the technology of today, Ford's Ecoboost, Chrysler's Pentastar among others, provide us with V-8 power in a V-6 with improved fuel economy. John Q. is looking at the same capability in a smaller package.
The interest was always there. Jeep has finally found a way to package it beautifully. Of course, the bumpers won't fly, and the seatbacks will have to incorporate headrests, the A-pillars will get fat with airbags, but the concept works.