"I remain a big fan of a Jeep pickup. I think we have history that says it belongs in our portfolio," Manley said to The Detroit News. However, there's no need to get any hopes up soon, because a truck doesn't get any mention in the brand's five-year plan. That puts the earliest possible introduction around 2019.
Even Manley is tempering expectations. "At this moment and time, I have higher priorities. That doesn't mean to say that we don't work on it, we're not looking at it," he said to The Detroit News.
The most likely candidate to support a future Jeep truck is the next-gen Wrangler, according to The News. The rest of FCA's pickups and SUVs are running at capacity, which makes slipping in another variant difficult. However, the future Wrangler is heavily rumored to get an expanded production facility in Toledo, OH, which could make things possible.
Anonymous FCA insiders confirmed to Autoblog that the next-gen Wrangler would be offered with a 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 and eight-speed automatic. It's also reportedly using solid axles at the front and rear, a fixed windshield and an aluminum body. That could make for a very fun and practical off-roader.
If reading all of this speculation gives you a twinge of deja vu, it should. After the Jeep Gladiator concept (pictured above), there were years of speculation about the brand bringing the pickup back. Even then the plan was for a compact truck to tackle that hole in the segment. It was even believed that the project had a green light for production seemingly with Sergio Marchionne's blessing. Then things were pushed back, and last year, the idea was officially quashed.