Gladiator Concept Pickup
01-09-05 12:52 PT
© 2005 PickupTruck.com
offered a pickup for sale to consumers in North America since the 1986
Jeep Commanche. But just a few years ago, Jeep began tentatively testing
the waters to see if it should once again offer a pickup as part of its
Scrambler made a brief appearance at the 2003 NADA convention in San
Francisco before it was suddenly pulled after only a few hours when Automotive
News began asking questions about the truck. Nothing was heard from about
that truck again.
the Jeep Scrambler was Jeep sticking its toes in to test the waters, the
Gladiator concept might well be Jeep jumping in up to their waist after
speaking with DaimlerChrysler executives.
with Eric Ridenour, executive vice president of product development at
DaimlerChrysler, about both the Scrambler and Gladiator.
said, "The [Scrambler] wasn't the right vehicle for us. We were testing
to see if its dimensions and proportions were right but it didn't work
out. The [Gladiator] is right and we're happy to show it. Its short overhangs
are part of the brand."
Jeep is sending
a strong message that its looking to consumers to decide whether the Gladiator
is the pickup Jeep will return to the market with. As it continues trying
to perfect the business case for this truck, consumer sentiment will be
a critical factor to determining whether it makes sense.
now, this is a market study. No production decision has been made, but
there's a lot of viability to do this [truck]," added Ridenour.
viability - the Gladiator is powered by the same 2.8-liter turbo diesel
engine that's available as an option in the Jeep Liberty SUV. It offers
163 horsepower and 295 lb-feet of torque.
perception, the exterior and interior design cues look production-intent,
such as the door handles and dash. Nothing too far-out conceptually here.
unique aspect of the Gladiator is its bed. With midgate-like access through
the cab, the box can be lengthened from 5' 8" to 6' 8" and even
further, to 8', when the tailgate is lowered.
bed] is a great, novel concept. We're gauging consumer reaction to this
feature," said Ridenour.
is the Gladiator's retractable canvas roof that provides easy access to
the great outdoors.
about why Jeep configured the Gladiator as an extended-cab instead of
a crew, Ridenour said, "The extended cab is the market here. Jeep
buyers like to have high capacity and put their motorcycles in the bed.
Crew cabs are too short."