DETROIT — Jeep brand CEO Mike Manley says the company is evaluating whether to offer a pickup version of a Wrangler as the company decides where to build the next-generation SUV.
Manley hinted that a Wrangler pickup could eventually become part of the Jeep lineup after the next generation model is launched.
“I am a huge fan of a pickup truck in the Jeep brand. Not just because of the history — it has been part of our history over the years — but also because it is one of the top subjects of topics that we have for discussion with our customers,” Manley said.
Manley made the comments about a possible Jeep pickup on the same day that the company revealed the Jeep Wrangler Red Rock Responder — a pickup concept version of the Wrangler.
If the company makes a Wrangler pickup, it would do so as part of the development of the next-generation Wrangler, which is already underway.
Jeep’s parent, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, also is trying to work out issues related to production of the next Wrangler. Manley said the company must solve production constraints at the company’s plant in Toledo, the cost of retooling the plant to potentially build a Wrangler with an aluminum body and how to make the transition with the least amount of lost production time.
“Obviously, what you are trying to do is to solve as many parts of the equation as you can going forward,” Manley said. “You get rare opportunities to do that. ”
Manley said FCA US, the company previously known as Chrysler, is reviewing a proposal from Toledo and Ohio officials that includes tax incentives and a way for the company to purchase up to 100 acres of land adjacent to the current plant.
The company must decide on where and how to build the Wrangler quickly to meet its goal of launching the next-generation Wrangler in 2017.
“We are going to give it the most appropriate time it takes to get the decision right,” Manley said.
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