Jeep's CEO Patiently Bullish About Pickup Truck

Jeep's CEO Patiently Bullish About Pickup Truck

Even though enthusiasm for a Jeep pickup continues to run strong, its development is taking a back seat to more urgent projects at Chrysler, according to Jeep's CEO.

“[The pickup] continues to progress because of the interest in the vehicle,” said Jeep chief Mike Manley. “One of the things as a company that we’ve had to be very disciplined in is where we’re putting our resources. We’re still in recovery mode and have to be very careful with our investments. We have so much going on. Our resources are fully dedicated to small vehicles, [new transmissions] and working with Fiat. There are none left to work on the Jeep pickup [at this time].”

If and when a Jeep pickup does arrive, it might head to overseas markets as well as the U.S..

“There’s clear interest in the U.S. for a pickup,” Manley said, “It could [also] give us potential for some of our international markets even though the pickup market is slightly different outside of the U.S.”

In global regions, such as Southeast Asia and Europe, fuel-efficient midsized crew cab pickups with a hauling capacity of one metric ton (1,000 kilograms or 2,205 pounds) are highly popular.

Manley thinks a Jeep pickup sold outside of North America could find new territory to compete in.

“If you took a Wrangler-based pickup [similar to the Jeep Gladiator concept pictured above], it would almost still remain as a unique vehicle in international markets,” Manley said. “We could do a metric ton version of it. That’s the biggest market. But a lot of the market is commoditized. I wouldn’t want to do a commodity Jeep pickup.”

How likely is a crew cab Wrangler-based hauler versus a smaller cab configuration?

“You’d have to be very careful because of the attributes of Wrangler,” Manley said. “Clearly, you could do it, but you’d have to look long and hard at whether you’d moved to far away from what Wrangler is to do that.”

Ultimately, an internationally sold Jeep pickup still depends on its impact to Chrysler’s bottom line.

“There’s an opportunity but whether the business case makes sense or not is the issue,” Manley said. “Mainly because of manufacturing location and [import/export] duties around the world.”

In the meantime, while Chrysler tackles its urgent vehicle development efforts and develops a business case, Manley says the Jeep pickup remains a personal priority.

“It’s certainly something that’s of huge interest to me,” Manley said.

Comments

@jeepinterest Re: Dodge Dakota.
A personal opinion here. You mention a likelihood of the Dakota coming back as a "lifestyle" truck but I have a more legitimate idea, I believe. Bring it back as the small truck it replaced, the RAM D50 once built by Mitsubishi for Dodge. There is an absolute need for a small, lightweight utility hauler that gets decent gas mileage.

I had a Mitsubishi pickup back in '83 that easily carried a full sheet of plywood in the bed (tailgate down) and more than 500# of gear on a regular basis and still got me 23 to 25 mpg on the highway 30 years ago! Modern engine technologies and new transmission gearing should have no trouble pushing a small truck like that into the 30-35 mpg range to help meet current Federal standards.

What has happened is that since the gas crunch of the mid-'70s we've lost sight of why we bought those downsized rigs in the first place and quite honestly today's mid-size trucks are as big as that era's full-sized trucks. Guess where that puts today's full-sized rigs. Please tell me: Why do we need such huge pickups? We're at the point now where just to drive one of these new Super-Duty rigs you need a CSL license. Why?

I don't want big; I want usable. Give me the Gladiator or, if you can't do that give me back my D50. It meets my needs far better and is much more fun to drive.

@ Vulpine:
I could not agree more about the ever increasing size of our vehicles, especially trucks. To me the marginal capacity of payload volume and weight is not worth the cost of decreased mileage. Look back to the 60's and 70's trucks were capable, rugged and useful first and ride and handling were secondary. Now the F150 Lariats and the Silverado LTZs and the Ram "Big Horns" and car-like with luxurious interiors. Even muscle cars - compare the dimensions and weight of the mid to late 60's Camaros, Mustangs and Challengers with the dimensions and weight of today's versions. They are big, heavy even cumbersome vehicles requiring huge amounts of horsepower and torque to push them along.

Give me the Willy's pickup from the late 50's and early 60's or the CJ from the 40's, 50's and even 60's. These were capable, light-weight, rugged, well-proportioned vehicle.

That is why I am so supportive of the Gladiator. To me it harkens back to the Willy's truck of the past. Keep the dimensions in check and the weight down and the need for big, gas guzzling motors will be reduced. It need not go 0-60 in 6 seconds and have the interior of a luxury car. Just make a useful, capable and affordable truck...what a concept; and the buying public will respond.

you folks aren't understanding the market. It's not what you want that, they care about. That's easy to answer with a few polls and existing market data. It's profit.

A manufacturer can't make profit on an overly reliable vehicle [i.e. see isuzu pup diesel 1981-87. It has to have some key soft spots [ strategically placed plastic parts]in order to produce income for the dealerships and parts depts. { i.e. also see timing belts, cv joints, emissions systems].

It takes a great deal of research to predict part failure that won't trigger a recall or warranty issue.

@Mike,

Sorry, most of WWII happened between Moscow and Berlin!

The Soviets inflicted like 88% of ALL German caulaties and they faced more German divisions then the rest of the allies combined!

The most produced warplane was the Yak-7 and that plane shot down more German fighters and bombers than any other during the war and escorted our B-17's likewise!

Germany was in retreat as early as 1942!

The Russians were first into Berlin and they liberated Aushwitz and other death camps...

History of WWII, more than half was on the eastern front, not western, read into those battles!

In fact tiny Greece gave the allies their first victory in on October 28, 1940... Normandy was in 1944... and Germany was practically defeated as early as 1942 by the Russians...

@oxi: You'd better check your history. While I won't argue that some of the biggest battles of WWII took place in the Soviet Union, the SU would have fallen had not the Allies pushed a two-front war on Germany. Germany pushed east because they realized they couldn't push west any farther and thought they had that side of the continent sewn up. The Willys jeep became the ubiquitous Allied scout and general purpose vehicle for pretty much the entire Allied effort, seen everywhere from China to Australia to all over Europe and north Africa.

As to your reference of the YAK-7 as the most produced warplane--sorry, you're wrong, it was another Soviet plane that saw greater numbers: the IL-2 Sturmovik--the Flying Tank.

Germany, however, wasn't really in retreat in '42 but rather trying to consolidate what gains it had made. The SU managed to escape the Reich's strategic efforts by bodily moving their manufacturing out of reach of German aircraft, just as the Allied manufacturing was out of their reach to the west. Meanwhile, only the Western Front was able to attack and eventually cripple Germany's own manufacturing capabilities; not even the Soviets had a bomber with enough range to attack the Reich homeland.

In other words, without the American efforts, including the Jeep, our world today would be quite different. And don't forget, Japan was Germany's ally at the time; if the US hadn't intervened, the SU would have been fighting a two-front war itself.

You make it, I'll buy it in a heartbeat. A small diesel with a blower or turbo would be the ticket. Reasonable fuel economy with useable power. When can I get mine?

They need to come out with this truck but they need to provide several options so that you can basically customized what you want. exp: 4 cyl. v6, v8 or diesel. with 5 or 6 speed manual or automatic trans. someone needs to make a small/med pickup with power that works hard and is indestructable for under 15k

I would be delighted and buying a Jeep Pickup similar to the Gladiator concept, with a Rubicon Package and automatic transmission available. As to engine, I dont have a problem with the new Penstar V-6. john

I've been waiting for the new jeep gladiator since it appeared at the 2005 auto show. Chysler seems dead set against allowing Jeep to make this truck. The demand is high, everything is there for it to be built. but chrysler keeps just teasing everyone with it and then not allowing it to happen. very frustrating. I bought my first jeep in 1992 which was around the time that crysler was having jeep stop making the truck they had at the time. apparently they wanted to put all their engery in the dodge ram, and the ram is still the "pet" of chrysler. I test drove a ram, i found it to be overpriced and definetly not a smooth drive. The Chrevelot i test drove the same day handle way better than the ram. I want the jeep truck and been waiting for it, I don't want a kit that I have to buy a 4 door jeep, then buy the kit, then (if I don't have the mechanical ability) pay others to put it together, and they have to do a lot of welding. Anyone else see something wrong with the picture - defiently makes the kit a whole lot more expensive than if chrysler would let jeep make the gladiator to start with, sales would be al whole lot better for the glaidator than for a kit. stop teasing us and get onboard with what your customers are wanting and asking for.

"...I test drove a ram, i found it to be overpriced and definetly not a smooth drive. The Chrevelot i test drove the same day handle way better than the ram...." -ricky

You might not like the ride of a Jeep Wrangler/Gladiator, very much either. They are not intended for comfort.

I look for dammage Pick-Up or sov

I have researched this jeep Gladiator when the concept came out. I have not purchased a new truck in 5 years in anticipation of the GLadiator coming. I have called corp. office at least once a year only to be told they don't know when and if but they have had alot of interest. I understand your finances have to be on board especially with Fiat, which by the way, you are asking way to much for that piss pot JLo is promoting. Lower the price and you will sell more to make up the cost. I really think you should do some market research to see the huge interest in the Gladiator. Ceo Mike doesn't know his die hard jeep fans as well as he thinks he does. Generations of my family and friends have been jeep crazed for many many years.
IF YOU BUILD IT THEY WILL COME.
You're going to lose me as a customer. I can't wait another year to get a truck. Sorry wish I could have held out.



The comments to this entry are closed.