Jeep head Mike Manley suggests the pickup could bring a historical nameplate out of retirement.
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has reportedly fallen behind schedule in developing the Jeep Wrangler-based pickup.
Jeep brand head Mike Manley has gone on the record saying the long-rumored pickup will not arrive until late 2019, according to a Detroit News report.
The cargo-hauling model will borrow its platform architecture from the next-generation Wrangler, which is expected to debut later this year. Reports initially suggested the pickup would follow just one year later, but that gap appears to have doubled.
Despite the pickup delay, Manley promises the redesigned Wrangler is still on track for a fourth-quarter launch this year. Notably, the company is expected to maintain production of both the JK generation and its JL successor concurrently on separate assembly lines for six months. The Cherokee will first be sent to Illinois, leaving a vacancy at the Toledo facility for the new Wrangler. After JK production is over, its line will be used for the pickup.
"The key thing for me is to make sure the new Wrangler is fully up and running," Manley said.
The comment suggests the company may have stretched the retooling schedule to provide more flexibility to deal with unforeseen hiccups during the ambitious juggling act. If JL production does not ramp up to full volume in six months -- or if Wrangler demand spikes above expectations -- JK output can be maintained at full tilt for many more months than planned.
The automaker has not yet pinned down a label for the pickup, though Manley hints that a historical nameplate could be brought out of retirement.