Ford 4 Door Truck – Jeep launched the Gladiator rock crawl pickup here Wednesday at the Los Angeles Auto Show, sending other serious competitors to the mid-pickup war. Packing all the off-road weaponry from the iconic Wrangler brothers, the 2020 Gladiator steel frame goes on sale in the second quarter of 2019, following closely the expected Ford Ranger medium truck in early 2019. It reentered one of the fastest-growing vehicle segments and most profitable in the US
But the Gladiator is far more than just a Wrangler with a bed. The frame has been upgraded and the length of the vehicle is extended to 212 inches in length to accommodate a 60-inch bed. The result is a truck that, according to Jeep, defeats Ford with its best-in-class towing and cargo – 7,650 and 1,600 pounds respectively.
Ford 4 Door Truck
“They are a key metric for why-buy,” said Jeep boss Tim Kuniskis, who founded the Hellcat as a performance animal in Fiat Chrysler’s previous job as Dodge commander. “The people we talked to who are the owners in this segment are very clear they want real trucks with serious hardware that will do what they want to do. They don’t want styling statements with beds in the back.”
Indeed, Jeep once sold a truck like that: Scrambler, which is a version of the Wrangler with an attached bed. Kuniskis and his team insisted that medium-sized Jeep trucks get the name Gladiator – a setback for a serious Jeep truck in 1960 – to separate it from the Wrangler.
“It is very important that we call it Gladiator so that it competes in its own segment,” Kuniskis continued. “Customers are looking for real trucks. They are looking for serious hardware.”
The serious hardware includes a 3.0-liter Ecodiesel engine with a ride of 442 pound-feet of torque. In fact, said Kuniskis, this is a 3.6-liter V-6 base that puts the best crane number in its class.
Large beds have the ability to carry an ATV or two dirt bikes. The available Rubicon options come with different front / rear locking, cut front rocking bars, Fox shocks, 33-inch tires, hood, and doors and roofs that can be removed to approach the open air.
Gladiators and Ranger will complete the battle of Detroit Three on the market for the medium pickup truck, which GM has occupied with the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon for the past four years. With the segment rising 14 percent this year and roaring towards a sales volume of 500,000, Jeep sees opportunities to expand its brand.
“This segment is growing because SUVs are very hot – and they allow a lifestyle,” Kuniskis said. “The Jeep (already) plays in the SUV segment with a volume of 4 million. (Gladiator) brings the other half million segment above with 14 percent growth.”
The Toyota Tacoma was the middle pickup leader with almost 52 percent market share until mid-November, compared to GM almost 32 percent of the market, according to data provided by GM.
But like Jeep in the midsize SUV market, the new Gladiator stands to carve out its own niche in the medium truck segment.
“Gladiators may not be on an island like Wrangler, but that will stand out,” said Jeff Schuster, president of global vehicle estimates for LMC Automotive. “This will attract Jeep fans and wealthy buyers who want to buy toys for their garage.”
Schuster added that the debut of the Gladiator might make the Ranger launch a little bumpy, because the Gladiator is more attractive to be off-road with the blood line of the Wrangler than the Ranger.
GM officials are not disturbed by the new competition.
“To be honest, we are confused that it has taken competitors for so long to follow GM’s leadership,” GM spokesman Jim Cain said Wednesday. “The Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon helped our company sell more pickups than other competitors for four consecutive years until 2017, and we are ahead of us this year too. At least Jeep tried something new. Ford Ranger has been running around Asia since 2011 , so they’re more than a little late for the party. ”
Gladiators will come in four trims: Sport, Sport S, Overland and Rubicon.
The four-door truck has many instructions on the design of the Wrangler, including a seven-slot lattice and a boxy four-door cabin with removable doors. The interior will share the new comforts developed by the Wrangler with the H-Vac rear seat and increased door storage. The touchscreen infotainment system measuring 7- or 8.4 inches is available (5-inch touch screen has a standard on the Sport trim). Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are standard.
Gladiator will be the only Wrangler with exclusive off-road features that will make the salis Jeep faithful. To enable high-speed off-road driving, Rubicon can reconfigure the difference in locking with a flip switch to allow easy transition from rock climbing to high-speed dune-running.
The truck will be launched with one engine option, the Pentastar V-6 3.6 liter which produces 285 horsepower and 260 feet-pound of torque. The automaker will offer a 3.0 liter EcoDiesel V-6 engine in 2020. The engine will be mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission. Eight-speed automatic is optional.
Available gladiators will be available with two 4×4 systems. Trim Overland and Rubicon will have an improved system. Sport, Overland and Rubicon will all have Value Track badges.
Pricing has not been announced.
The pickup will be built in Toledo at Fiat Chrysler’s Toledo North Plant, where automakers have built Jeep since 1941.
“With birth rights, Jeep has the right to compete in this segment,” said Kuniskis. “This will compete in that segment. This will set a new benchmark.”
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