There are many reasons why US automakers are averse to offering compact trucks stateside, but all those reasons don’t matter to Jeep, as it believes that a pickup variant would be excellent to boost sales of the next-gen Wrangler arriving in late 2017.
Adding a bed to the Wrangler actually makes more sense in overseas markets, mainly because the US is the only place where full-size pickups are all the rage.
But since the iconic 4×4 nameplate from Jeep is only ever produced in its Toledo plant and nowhere else, that same plant is going to be responsible for the worldwide demand of the off-road ute.
Anyway, whatever plans Jeep has for the Wrangler Pickup, they have to take a certain Ford Ranger into consideration. That’s because Ford apparently believes that compact pickups have a chance in the US as well. Specifically, it believes that the Ford Ranger deserves a second chance.
On the international scene, the Ranger is among the most popular choices for pickup users next to the Toyota HiLux, be it in Europe or Asia. That doesn’t mean that the Wrangler is not well-known, but it’s comparatively viewed as more of a fun collector’s off-road vehicle rather than a practical daily driver for utility needs.
This niche that the Wrangler has been played into elsewhere doesn’t necessarily apply in the US, but even at home Ford has the advantage of a more bulletproof reputation as a truck-maker than Jeep, as evidenced by the ongoing success of the F-Series.