THE release of a Jeep Wrangler ute in Australia was all but confirmed at the Los Angeles Motor Show recently when Mike Manley, Jeep’s global chief, revealed to motoring.com.au that, “there’s no question on right-hand drive for the pick-up”.
Specific dates were also revealed for the first time, with Manley saying: “Production of pick-up will be September 2018, so by the time that gets into international markets you’re probably looking at early 19.”
FCA Australia confirmed its interest in a ute variant of the next-gen Jeep Wrangler (expected to be called JL) back in April, 2016.
Zac Loo, FCA’s head of product strategy and marketing, said at the time: “We’re looking at extending that (Wrangler) line beyond just two- and four-door variants that we have today with the pick-up.”
By introducing a ute to its line-up, Jeep will hope to cash in on a booming segment in Australia.
October’s VFACTS report showed that sales of Light Commercial Vehicles (LCVs) and SUVs are soaring, with the Hilux and Ranger (4x4 and 4x2 variants) leading the overall sales charts.
In fact, October saw the combined sales of SUVs and LCVs account for 56.2 per cent of national vehicle sales. So now’s the time to enter the market!
As well as the double-cab ute, the JL Wrangler is also expected to continue with both two- and four-door variants (soft-tap and hardtop) and a choice of petrol and diesel powertrains.
The JL Wrangler will go into production at the Toledo, Ohio, plant.
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