The rumors, the computer images, the hysteria. They’ve all swirled for months and months ever since Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne announced that Jeep would officially re-enter the truck market.
Well, wait and imagine no more. Put that phone down and stop playing Pokemon Go. The spy shots of perhaps Jeep’s most anticipated vehicle launch ever have dropped.
While the vehicle is heavily camouflaged, it definitely does not bear any resemblance to the midsize Comanche concept released for the Easter Jeep Safari earlier this year, as some had feared.
Nope, this one is all full-sized up and its four-door front appears based off the upcoming next-generation Wrangler JL as FCA’s Marchionne and Jeep CEO Mike Manley have stated.
The roof seems to be solid in these shots, but many have speculated the truck will utilize the same removable panel technology that is rumored to roll out with the JL. So an open air cab could certainly be a possibility.
We do know the truck will retain the same solid axle, body-on-frame construction that has defined most Jeep vehicles since the brand's inception. It will also incorporate aluminum into its body design in order to shed weight and help increase fuel economy, however FCA is not saying how, exactly, it will incorporate that material.
FCA is also not saying if they have a name picked out yet for the truck.
While not definite, the truck most likely will launch with some variation of the Pentastar 3.6-liter engine mated to either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic transmission. But FCA is on the record that diesel and hybrid versions will appear down the road.
Overall, most details on the Jeep truck are sketchy – and probably will remain murky for some time. FCA has said they expect the vehicle to begin production at its Toledo, Ohio, facility sometime late in 2017, with an official unveiling early in 2018. The vehicle should be on the showroom floor by summer 2018.
Jeep produced pickups continuously from 1947-1992 under such iconic names as Willy's Jeep Truck, Gladiator, Comanche, and - simply - Jeep Pickup. American Motor Corp. also produced the CJ-8 Scrambler from 1981-86 which extended the wheelbase of it's popular CJ-7, essentially creating a pickup bed.
Following Chrysler's buyout of AMC in 1987, the automaker began phasing out the pickup line and finally ceased production of the Comanche in 1992 thanks to low sales and the brand's desire to separate Jeep and Dodge.
However, Jeep engineers never really abandoned the idea and peaked their fanbase's interest with the Gladiator prototype (pictured above) release during the 2005 Detroit Auto Show. Jeep also produced a limited amount of its J-12 pickup concept vehicle over the past few years, which it rolled out for various events such as the Moab Easter Jeep Safari.
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