The 'Wrangler ute' will lob about one year after its Wrangler SUV siblings, with production to begin at Toledo in September/October 2018, following a major FCA investment.
The decision to finally spin off the load-lugging Wrangler in this new generation was long delayed because sister brand Ram was long deemed Fiat Chrysler's dedicated light commercial division.
"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," the head of brand Guillaume Drelon told us last week.
In what will be some much-needed good news for Jeep's dealers in Australia, the Wrangler-based pickup is already confirmed for our market - potentially by the middle of 2019, based on typical rollout schedules.
Given Jeep's almost 60 per cent sales decline over the past five years, a hit model is needed.
With 4x4 utes now the market's third-biggest segment by volume, and the top-two selling vehicles in the country being the Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, it's hard to imagine the Wrangler ute being anything other...
This echoes the sentiments of Jeep's global head Mike Manley, who told us last year that: "one of our upcoming models will be very good for Australia and that’s the Jeep pickup".
It’s understood that FCA Australia has actually been involved in the engineering process for the new ute.
Reports suggest the Wrangler pickup will use a trio of engines headlined by a VM 3.0-litre turbo-diesel - provided FCA sorts through accusations that it used emissions defeat devices on diesel Ram 1500 and Grand Cherokees.
JLwranglerforums.com also say a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol with a ZF eight-speed auto, and an uprated Pentastar 3.6-litre V6 petrol, will be offered Stateside.
Being a Wrangler, it'll be off-road-capable as well. It simply has to be. Expect new front axles. It's unclear whether the Wrangler pickup will use the Dana IRS from the wagon or get more traditional leaf springs for load carrying. Expect the former.
Hat tip again to JLwranglerforums.com