How the 2018 Wrangler Pickup Will Take Jeep to New Heights
People love Jeeps. You can’t deny it, not that you would. Just look at Jeep sales world wide. Jeep has sold over 1.2 million units to date, and manages to increase sales year after year for the last four. How does Jeep manage to keep this body-on-frame relic, conceived from WWII fresh and successful? They listen to America, dammit’. Jeep listened to its following and will attract the buyers of one of the fastest growing markets because of it — with the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.
Something Jeep owners requested since the CJ was more space. The Wrangler could do many things, but with a short wheel base and barely enough room for four, it was not a family hauler (cheers to my friends forced to sit sideways in the back of my 93' Wrangler YJ).
Lets fast forward to 2004, when Jeep tried something a bit crazy. The TJ Wrangler Unlimited was introduced with about a foot longer wheelbase than the standard wrangler. It essentially gave the Wrangler useable trunk space — and was an instant success. They only made about 55,000, but laid the groundwork for what would become the most lucrative evolutionary change to the Wrangler line in it’s history.
“This 2018 Wrangler will be everything, to every buyer, more so now than ever”
In 2007, the unlimited was re-introduced with 4-doors in addition to that trunk. People lost their shit. Without sacrificing it’s legendary off-road ability, Jeep made a Wrangler that the whole family could enjoy. With the top down, mind you (it’s the only 4 door convertible on the market, car or truck). Jeep widened the Wrangler’s appeal from a small enclave of dedicated off-road enthusiasts, to just about anyone interested in an SUV.
The next generation Wrangler is set to widen its appeal even more. Jeep will be launching the brand into a segment it hasn’t played in since 1992 with the Comanche. You guessed it, the mid-sized pickup segment.
The mid-size market is so hot right meow, Chevrolet can’t produce it’s own Colorado fast enough to keep on dealer lots. Long dominated by the Toyota Tacoma, the segment also includes Nissan’s Frontier, Honda’s Ridgeline and will soon see a re-introduced Ford Ranger (remember the ranger?) due to increased interest.
These are trucks that were once considered affordable work trucks for fleet sales, and have morphed into what the industry has come to know as lifestyle vehicles, as they offer many amenities targeting active buyers that don’t actually need it for work — and they are becoming a more and more popular option to buying a full size pickup.
Lifestyle vehicle? Jeep is a lifestyle. Jeep drivers have their own wave for crying out loud. If theres one place Jeep should go next, its right on the doorstep of Toyota, Chevy, and Nissan with an active lifestyle pickup of their own. Traditionally, if you needed to tow or haul, you would not be cross-shopping the Wrangler with other mid-size trucks. However, now you can rock crawl, pick your parents up from the airport, and pull up to the tailgate with the top off. The 2018 Wrangler will be everything, to every buyer, more so now than ever.
While aftermarket kits allowing owners to convert their long wheel base Jeeps into pickups have been available for years, its an insanely expensive endeavor. American Expedition Vehicles will outfit yours for a measly 40k, not including buying the Jeep. Thats right, people are paying $40,000 in addition to buying their new Jeep just to have the utility of a pickup combined with their Wrangler. If there was any indication that Jeep should build a pickup, its an $80,000 one sold by another company. Jeep knows this, and is finally deciding to pull the trigger on a factory version for the 2018 model year.
In addition to offering a pickup, they will also offer a new to the U.S. diesel engine option. A diesel option in the Wrangler has arguably been met with as much (if not more) demand than for a bed. Expect a 4 cylinder turbo-diesel similar to the one currently offered in the Chevy Colorado.
Jeep will again expand the Wranglers audience dramatically by introducing something that is more to all buyers, all without changing the basic DNA that makes a Jeep, a Jeep.