Rick Popely: Ask.Cars.com
3:50 PM PST, January 19, 2013
The latest rumor is that Jeep could possibly introduce a pickup truck around 2015 based on the Wrangler platform, though we were unable to confirm that with the automaker.
Jeep officials have certainly given many indications that they want to add a pickup to the lineup, and they even let our friends at PickupTrucks.com drive the concept J-12 truck at a recent Jeep Safari event. The purse strings at Chrysler, which owns the Jeep brand, are now controlled by Fiat, and Fiat reportedly is mulling the business case for a pickup.
The latest word is that an announcement could come soon, but we've heard that before. Speculation has ebbed and flowed since Jeep introduced the Gladiator pickup concept in 2005 that drew heavily on Jeep's heritage and was the inspiration for the J-12. The Gladiator never went beyond the concept stage first because Chrysler was sold by then-owner Daimler AG to a private equity firm that threw nickels and dimes around like they were manhole covers. Then, Chrysler went through a government-managed bankruptcy that brought Fiat into the picture.
Chrysler is now profitable, so prospects for a Jeep pickup are better. Nevertheless, executives would have to be convinced that a pickup would increase sales or at least bring more attention to the brand to justify the expense.