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Chrysler weighs building Jeep Gladiator pickup concept

RICK KRANZ | Automotive News
Posted Date: 1/18/05

The Chrysler group will develop a business case this year to determine if it makes sense to build a Jeep pickup.

The analysis will center around the Jeep Gladiator concept, an extended cab pickup unveiled last week at the Detroit auto show.

Consumer and press reaction will be gauged at the show, said Eric Ridenour, the Chrysler group's executive vice president of product development. If the response is positive, he said, the next step is to see "how you would do it." As part of the business case, Ridenour said, among the questions asked will be "Does this thing look like something that is worthwhile? Is it consistent with the brand? Does it resonate with the customer? Can we sell it and make a good profit? If all those things hold, we tend to go 'yes.' "

The Gladiator concept is 9.9 inches wider and 38 inches longer than the 2005 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Its vehicle platform is not a current one.

The Gladiator concept has an expandable pickup bed. The pickup bed is 4 feet wide and 5 feet, 8 inches long. When open, a midgate door under the rear window expands the cargo space to 6 feet, 8 inches and ultimately to 8 feet, 11 inches with the midgate open into the passenger compartment and the tailgate down.

Speaking of the size of the Gladiator's pickup bed and its expandable qualities, Ridenour said the automaker believes this design would be acceptable to Jeep customers.

"But we are still doing research to make sure," he said. "There are a lot of different trucks in the marketplace, and we think some (beds) are too short." Ridenour did not identify those trucks.

It looks kind of weird imo. Very much like the Jeep pickups from the 60's. The Jeep signiture look looks great in SUV form, but horrible in car or truck form imo. Just imagine a Hummer pickup :eek:. Maybe Jeep should look into the extended-wheelbase Wrangler Unlimited hardtop with a small bed like the Hummber SUT in the back. Stylistically, that would look better imo.
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