Is a certain major automaker up to something?
For years the Jeep Wrangler dominated a certain segment within a segment all to itself. In some ways, it still does, but that will change very soon once the reborn Ford Bronco arrives. Now that SUVs are more popular (and profitable) than ever, automakers are racing to get more to market. Traditional sedans are typically sacrificed. But why should Jeep and soon to be Ford the only ones to compete here? Why can't another automaker jump in?
Well, GM Authority has learned that GM has been benchmarking the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited at its Milford Proving Grounds in Michigan. Doesn't sound like a big deal? Well, it kind of is. The reason is that it's been at least ten years since GM has tested the iconic Jeep and it wouldn't do so again if it didn't have a good reason. Sure, it's standard practice for automakers to buy and try out their competitors' latest, but the fact that GM engineers are testing not one but two Wrangler Unlimiteds is quite interesting.
What's more, both vehicles were spotted wearing lots of data-collecting equipment. This wasn't just some track and off-roading joyride during a lunch break. This is why it's fairly reasonable to believe GM is in the early stages of developing a Wrangler fighter. It was only back in 2017 when GMC boss Duncan Aldred went on record to say no Wrangler competitor was being planned. His exact words were: "I don't think it's worth trying to take on the Wrangler. But I think there's an opportunity somewhere in that space." One example could have been a reborn GMC Jimmy. Given this latest report and the fact Jeep sells every single Wrangler it makes in record time, it's entirely possible GM has changed its mind.
If any of GM's divisions (our money is on GMC) want a Wrangler fighter, the time is definitely now. One big question remains: what platform would it ride on? The full-size truck architecture is definitely too big and we don't know whether the Chevy Colorado/GMC Canyon's setup can be shortened, assuming it'd be necessary. In any case, we'd love nothing more than to have a three-way offroad shoot-out between Jeep, Ford, and Chevy/GMC.