“We are seriously considering that model for the UK,” Jeep boss Damien Dally told Autocar at an event last week. “It won’t be big sales numbers but more of a lifestyle model.”
The arrival of a Jeep pick-up in the UK would be the first time the US brand has offered this bodystyle in the UK.
The new Wrangler pick-up is understood to feature a single cab, rather than the doublecab design that Jeep showed as the Crew Chief 715 Kaiser concept earlier this year.
The Kaiser concept had a 5ft bed built onto a fourdoor body, but its unwieldy dimensions didn’t find favour among reviewers who drove it.
The new Wrangler pick-up will contribute to a significant increase in UK sales, as FCA invests in a new ‘C9’ model and increases right-hand drive production at the home of Jeep in Toledo, Ohio.
The C9 incorporates multiple technical advances for a Jeep, although the styling will remain true to its heritage.
The steel frame is all new and clad with aluminium panels. The core engine will be a 3.0-litre VM diesel, which is also used in the Grand Cherokee, and a four-cylinder turbo petrol unit with around 300bhp is in development, alongside an eight-speed automatic transmission.
Jeep is investing $700 million to raise Wrangler output from 250,000 a year to around 350,000. Conservative estimates suggest the new pick-up could provide 50,000 more sales.
Currently, Wrangler sales in the UK are limited to 500 a year, because Toledo can’t build sufficient right-hand drive volume.
Jeep won’t put any figures on the increase in UK Wrangler sales, but 2000 units a year by 2020-2021 doesn’t look unreasonable — a significant fourfold increase on today’s.
Jeep is already on an impressive sales climb in the UK, boosted last year by the Italian-built Jeep Renegade, the platform twin of the Fiat 500X. Last year Jeep’s total UK sales hit 11,000 — more than double its 2014 volume. Sales are forecast to reach 13,000 this year.
Because the Renegade is not constrained by volume, Jeep UK has plenty of supply and this year the model is generating 80% of its sales.
The arrival of the new Wrangler will coincide with the all-new Land Rover Defender, which is due to roll out of a new factory in Slovakia in 2018.