Though Jeep's lineup will grow to include eight models by year's end, a small pickup based on the Gladiator concept will not be one of them. Introduced at the 2005 Detroit auto show, the Gladiator concept was based on a unique platform though would have likely shared underpinnings with the new Jeep Wrangler Unlimited if produced. The Chrysler Group's COO Eric Ridenour told Ward's Auto, however, "It wasn't profitable".

Ward's points out that while some Jeep enthusiasts might be disappointed their favorite brand won't be fielding its first pickup since the Comanche was cancelled back in 1992, the decision not to produce the Gladiator shows analysts that Chrysler is practicing some restraint amidst its current product blitz.

The small pickup segment has been virtually abandoned by automakers as models like the Chevy Colorado, GMC Canyon, Toyota Tacoma and Nissan Frontier have grown large enough over the years to be considered midsize trucks and adopt five- and six-cylinder powertrains. The small pickup segment is still dominated by the Ford Ranger, a vehicle that hasn't been significantly redesigned in over a decade. Is Jeep passing up on a golden opportunity or has the small pickup segment permanently run out of gas?

[Source: Ward's Auto]