Fans have been asking for it seemingly forever, and now the Jeep Wrangler ute is within touching distance for keen diehards of the brand.
You’d be right, of course, to think FCA representatives see it as a huge opportunity for the brand locally, given the love for utes in this country.
“This has obviously now been confirmed for Australia but it is obviously a global vehicle, not just here – in terms of demand, everyone wants this car,” Head of Brand Guillaume Drelon told CarAdvice at the launch of the revised Grand Cherokee.
“For so many years, we have had this project working behind the scenes.”
Despite numerous rumours to the contrary over the years, the main issue for Jeep was competition from within – specifically Ram. With the separation of Ram from the Dodge stable, and the move an independent brand line, the Wrangler ute was given the go ahead.
“Yes there was competition with Ram for so long, because the pickup concept is owned by Ram within the Chrysler stable, that it is why it took so long.”
Surely, though, with Ram product being available in so few global markets, it made sense to take the pick-up design across to the Wrangler platform.
“Jeep is the most global brand, so it makes sense,” Drelon said. “We were a bit constrained with production, too, but this has been eased with the movement of production between plants and we now have the capacity to produce.”
Above: a reportedly leaked image of the new-generation Wrangler
A burgeoning ute segment in Australia has surely also delivered almost perfect timing for the Wrangler ute, too?
“The ute market is the biggest segment in Australia, yes, it is huge,” Drelon said.
“So, there is obviously potential for us with the ute. Plus, we have that off-road credibility, with the potential to deliver a great vehicle and an expansion of the Jeep lifestyle.”
As any manufacturer knows, when moving into an old new segment, the Wrangler ute will open doors previously not available to Jeep in Australia.
“Yes that is true, it will open doors to potential customers we weren’t even talking to,” FCA CEO Steve Zanlunghi told Caradvice.
“The ute segment is so vital here, it has a halo effect on the brand. The capability is in Jeep’s DNA and it will all be packed in there. It will not only be a ute, but a good performing ute off-road.”