by Matt Konkle
Quadratec Channel Editor
They are two companies born from a shared history. A duo forged against the backdrop of war and immortalized because of a simple four-wheel-drive vehicle with seven slots on its grille and a hunger for adventure.
AM General and Jeep—now owned by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.
While that history has not always been on the best of terms, the pair of companies announced Monday they are partnering on a new Jeep concept vehicle that, they hope, will catch on as a military application.
They call it the Jeep Gladiator XMT.
Indiana-based AM General, the company behind the HMMWV, more commonly known as Hummer, introduced this Gladiator concept recently at the Annual Meeting and Exposition of the Association of the U.S. Army.
“We are extremely excited to partner with FCA and introduce the Jeep Gladiator Extreme Military-Grade Truck at AUSA,” said AM General President and CEO Andy Hove. “This new venture gives us an opportunity to showcase our expertise in light tactical vehicles and help FCA maximize the Gladiator’s global reach and potentially enter new military markets.”
According to a news release, AM General approached FCA with the idea to morph the all-new Gladiator into a Light Tactical Vehicle that would mainly be used for military communications. However, with other modifications, it also could serve numerous other roles.
”We would expect the Gladiator XMT to be used for logistics and support, command and control, border security and peacekeeping activities,” said a Jeep spokesman to Fox News. “It’s flexibility and exceptional performance will make it suitable for a variety of military and governmental roles.
AM General noted the Gladiator platform makes for a perfect vehicle for these tasks thanks to its highly-capable 4x4 system, high payload and tow rating.
The exact specifications of this concept were not listed, but AM General did note that ‘the Jeep Gladiator XMT has been upfitted with both custom-built and commercially available military-grade parts to create an even more rugged truck that can traverse the toughest of terrains in adverse conditions and is ready to meet varied military customer requirements.'
Currently, the Gladiator concept is does not have a corresponding production version, and is in place to generate feedback and gauge customer interest, AM General said in a press release.
However, the military-grade Gladiator could be ready for production by the late summer 2020 should it prove popular.
"The Jeep brand has an important military heritage, so we couldn't be happier that AM General expressed interest in creating the Gladiator XMT," said Jim Morrison, Head of Jeep Brand – North America. "The all-new Jeep Gladiator boasts unmatched functionality, versatility and especially capability – including two advanced 4x4 systems, locking differentials, skid plates, tow hooks, and incredible approach, breakover and departure angles – the perfect foundation for this ultra-capable military concept vehicle."
"We're proud to partner with AM General, we look forward to gauging interest and gathering feedback on the Jeep Gladiator XMT, and we're excited about potential future opportunities.”
AM General came about shortly after Kaiser Motors was purchased by American Motors in 1970. Kaiser had owned the Jeep name since buying out Willys-Overland back in 1953, and AMC now decided to create a new portion of the company to specifically focus on military vehicle production, while it handled the consumer side—mainly with Jeep.
One of those military vehicles, the Hummer, first reached the automotive market in 1992 before spawning a second version in the early 2000s. That vehicle landed AM General in court when then-Jeep owner Daimler Chrysler sued for copyright violations. Daimler believed AM General's new H2 Hummer utilized a seven-slot grille that too closely resembled the Jeep’s front grille.
That lawsuit was later dismissed.