As Fiat Chrysler continues to pile up record setting sales each month, the brand officially announced Monday it would look to the past for a new 2017 vehicle launch.
The long awaited Jeep Pickup was confirmed by Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne and Jeep Global Chief Mike Manley during the 2016 North American International Auto Show. Manley said the automaker would produce the new pickup at the company's Toledo Assembly Plant, alongside the next generation Jeep Wrangler.
Rumored as a future production vehicle since late summer, Manley also said during the confirmation Monday that the new pickup would utilize the Wrangler platform.
“Sergio and I work very, very closely on the Jeep product portfolio," Manley told the Detroit News during Monday's press conference. "Both of us have been a fan of a potential Wrangler pickup. For me, there is a historical place in our lineup for it.”
Marchionne added that the pickup should launch late-2017 after the next generation Wrangler rolls out which, he said, is 'phenomenal'.
“The car is done, the car is designed and it’s been engineered, so we just need to get off our butts to start producing,” he said. "It's the best thing we've ever made. The design won’t see a drastic change, in order to keep the SUV true to its historical DNA and instantly recognizable."
“It’s a phenomenal vehicle. It cures all the ills, whatever few ills the old Wrangler had. And I’ve think we’ve updated design without hurting its history which is really, really important to us.”
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. Many expect the new pickup to bear the Scrambler name as well.
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.
While additional details regarding the 2017 pickup have yet to be announced, Fiat Chrysler is expected to release more info later this month during its 2016 earnings call.