Instead, it seems possible that the US off-road specialist brand could branch out with a standalone utility vehicle that – while potentially sharing elements with the Wrangler – may stand alone as its very own model in the Jeep ranks.
Jeep head of design, Mark Allen, told CarAdvice at the launch of the all-new Jeep Renegade this week in Queensland that while nothing is confirmed at this point in time for a ute model, the company is ‘doing its homework’ on such a vehicle. We've previously reported that such a truck is due by 2018.
“It’s not really a project yet – we hope it to be. There’s been planning on it, that’s about it,” he said.
“It’s something we all desire, and have for a long, long time. I’ve never been shy about that,” Allen said. “But it’s just not ready for primetime yet. It’s very much in the planning books at the moment though.”
Allen suggested that the sales potential for a standalone Jeep pick-up was one of the things that would need to be assessed before such a vehicle were to be given the tick of approval, but it's clear that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has a strong credence with pick-up trucks in the North American market with the likes of the RAM Trucks range.
“That’s some of the homework we’re doing right now. But how much desire is there? Is it a pick-up truck or is it a Wrangler variant? That’s the line,” he said.
But Allen suggested that there is clearly a desire for a practical vehicle to slot in to the line-up alongside the SUVs that are currently available.
“Something like that would work. There’s a huge desire for it that we suspect is there, but we need to prove.”
Further, it’s clear that finding plant capacity for such a model would need to be one of those considerations, because the brand currently sells every Wrangler it makes, and there’s no space to add more capacity in the assembly plant in Ohio.
“There are other issues beyond just the vehicle itself. So that’s all got to be sorted out first,” he said.
Buyers who can’t wait for a purpose-built Jeep ute to make it to market can option for a Jeep Wrangler with a pick-up conversion kit, as pictured in this post.
Is a Jeep pick-up truck or ute something you’d like to see? Tell us in the comments section below.