Last September in Orlando, Jeep CEO Michael Manley, set Jeep forums and internet chat rooms ablaze by hinting that a Jeep pickup truck was in the future. No one knew what the tuck was or where it came from… Until now.
By hinting we mean, Manley concluded a speech to Jeep deal group by saying, ” “You never know what might show up in your showroom someday” and coolly exited the stage as the stunned audience glimpsed a yellow Jeep concept through sheer curtains.
Speculation was set aflame by the fact that no one got more a fleeting glance of the truck. There were no images of video footoage taken. Was it based on the Nukizer M715 Jeep released that year in Moab? Perhaps a take off of the J8 Egyptian Military Spec Jeep, the 2005 Gladiator Concept, or something new all together? The Jeep design team certainly didn’t know. They were busy sketching concepts of the redesigned Wrangler due out in 2012. The guys in charge of the Ram Truck division over a hearty, “Hell, no!” when asked about the possibility of production.
Automotive News and other news sites were quick to debunk the production of a Jeep based truck; calling it all hype. Ram certainly wasn’t happen about a the possibility of it’s sister brand cannibalizing their sales. Let’s face it Michael Manley never said the Jeep was headed for production when he walked off the stage. But what no one counted on was the fact that Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne was behind the idea.
The Jeep is none other than the 2005 Jeep Gladiator Concept with a new yellow job covering the original Armour Green. After crisscrossing the states for media blitzes and auto shows in 2005 the concept was retired to the Walter p. Chrysler Museum in Auburn Hills, Michigan. After disappearing from display for a few short weeks it is now sitting back behind the velvet rope sporting its new bright yellow paint.
The 2013 Gladiator will most likely be a cross between the 2005 concept and the Nukizer M715. It will be powered by the new 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6, 280 horsepower (209 kW) at 6,400 rpm and 260 lb.-ft. (353 Nm) of torque at 4,800 rpm, that sits under the hood of the 2011 Grand Cherokee, and will power all Jeep Wrangler in 2012. The bed will be shortened to 5ft too add two more feet to the passenger compartment, but will use a tailgate extender (like the Ford Explorer Sport) to accommodate larger objects.
Like the current Wrangler the new Jeep truck will be built in Toledo and will sit atop a front Dana 30 and rear Dana 44 axles, and be mated with a new Fiat transmission. The word is the Jeep is consider using the Gladiator name or reviving the Scrambler moniker.
Photo Credit: Yellow Jeep (USA Today)