By Ronan Glon
Monday, Aug 13th, 2012 @ 5:04 am
 
Jeep is reportedly considering launching a pickup truck in 2015 in order to take on big names such as General Motors, Toyota and Ford.

The automaker is still in the very early stages of the project and it has not decided which shape the truck will take if it is given the green light for production.

The first option is offering a pickup version of the next-generation Wrangler, creating a truck that will be similar in spirit to the Gladiator concept that was introduced at the 2005 Detroit Motor Show. Aesthetically the truck will likely be a hit among enthusiasts but members of Jeep's top brass are concerned that it will have a limited off-road capacity due to its increased length.

"One of the issues is that when you go four door with a bed is that your break-over angle gets destroyed. We can still maintain approach and departure angles, but when we get to a certain length, the break-over becomes an issue. Then is it really a Wrangler?" explained Mike Manley, the president of Jeep, in an interview with Australia's CarAdvice.

The second option on the table is building a pickup truck on an entirely new platform that does not trace its roots back to the Wrangler. If this option is chosen the pickup will likely not bear any physical resemblance to the Wrangler other than the automaker's trademark seven-slot grille.

"The new generation of platforms that we are working on with Fiat are very, very versatile platforms," said Manley. "I can see the opportunity in the future to bring a pick-up off a platform that has enough global volume so that we can build a genuine pick-up, in right-hand drive and left-hand drive."

Jeep is expected to make a final decision on whether or not to launch a pickup in the next couple of months.

Jeep hasn't offered a pickup in the United States since the AMC-designed Comanche was phased out in 1992. However, Wrangler Unlimited owners with $5,500 to spare can buy a kit from Chrysler's Mopar tuning division that includes all of the parts needed to convert the SUV into a pickup.