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Unread 03-25-2009, 12:19 PM   #1
slow2run
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How do they build a Jeep Truck?

This is probably for the Pro jeep builder members here. But why can't Chrysler/Jeep configure the Jeep 4 door limited into a jeep truck by building a cab or soft top from the windshield to less than 8" behind the back seat, then extend the bed and frame less than 4ft, and reinforce as needed for a truck? add options, and market this truck as a Comanche unlimited? Now this may look like a Hummer truck as a Dodge looks like a Chev truck . Well thats ok by me. as long as its does the the job,and only cost a Little more than the base unlimited depending options, and it should look like its build to go on a safari and not to drive astronauts around Mars .

Maybe the Pro's can tell us if this could be done? Po's and con's of this this type of manufacturing and building costs ,for Chrysler/Jeep?


Last edited by slow2run; 03-25-2009 at 12:29 PM..
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Unread 03-25-2009, 02:20 PM   #2
GeneralTJWillys
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I'm not a pro, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.
(ok seriously)

Really, you kind of answered it. Building costs.
Sure it COULD be done. Anything could, but crunching the numbers apparently show them that they wouldn't make any money from it. Apparently the money needed to build them would outweigh the return. This is why we rarely get into small car production. The last TRULY small car, built entirely by Chrysler, was the Dodge Omni. (BTW, I'm a former employee)

With Chrysler being the smallest of the "big three", they need to run lean to keep profits up. It's not finacially viable for them to put $$$ into R&D and production of small and or "niche" cars. They cannot justify the profit losses they'd take to sell them. Although you could argue that the economy being what it is, now would be a great time, since many are looking for more fuel efficient alternatives, but it could also be argued that it's SO bad that no one wants another car loan, so they're buying used instead, which is how I'm seeing it.

GM and Ford LOSE $$$ producing and selling their's, but (especially in GM's case) their other sales are enough to offset any losses taken on small cars or low priced and slower selling "niche" models, as the Wrangler/pickup would be. (The 'Vette is a niche, but not exactly priced low)

The big three have been getting around this by teaming with other manufacturers. In Chryslers case, Mitsubishi. They let Mitsubishi design, and engineer the small cars, then Chrysler throws their name on them and markets them that way. (Think Dodge Colt and Challenger of the late '70's, and later DSM models, Eagle Talon/Plymouth Laser/Mitsubishi Eclipse "triplets")

There are more examples, but the above are Mitsubishi designed, engineered, and powered. And, at least in the case of the "triplet" cars, they were produced at Diamond Star Motors (DSM), in Normal, Illinois. The "joint venture" plant between the two manufacturers.
Other "hybrids" are the Dodge Avenger, Stratus, Chrysler Sebring. SOME of these were Ameircan powered depending on the drivetrain option, but were still a Mitsu platform. Likewise, depending on the year, SOME were built on a purely Chrysler platform, as was the case of our '01 Sebring 'vert. It was designed, engineered here and built at SHAP in Michigan, and American powered.

I'm getting off track though, but obviously, if their bean counters told them they'd make a profit on a given design/vehicle (think trucks and SUV's through the '90's), they'd surely be all over it.

I still contend they'd sell more Wranglers, if they put a new generation turbo-diesel in as an option.
I know everyone wants them to add a Hemi, but, REALISTICALLY, I don't think it would sell as well given the negatives, like, weight, fitment, economy, etc. Obviously, the power is there, but in the case of our Wranglers, low end power rules, and that is where the diesel would absolutely shine! You'd have at LEAST as much room as the sixes, and likely better economy and power. And the new gen diesels along with MUCH lower sulpher content fuel, burn VERY clean. No more black smoke and stench, and light years ahead of any diesel powered car of yesteryear.. A MUCH better sales case IMHO than the Hemi, once people REALLY start to look at them both.
I still plan on watching for a wrecked Liberty that had the diesel option and robbing it of the powertrain for a later TJ build.

I wonder what could be done with replacing the Dakota. Either altogether, or restyling/re-tooling to make IT the platform for a Jeep Wrangler/Pickup to be sold alongside the Dakota. I'm not sure, and maybe someone else can help me out here, but wasn't the Gladiator concept truck actually built on a Dakota platform? Surley, there would be far less $$$ used to do it this way than come up with an entirely new truck, but still maybe not enough to justify doing it. They'd then need to worry about internal competition and stealing Dakota sales. But if they can build it on the same line, who knows. Too many variables and......like I said.....I'm no pro.


Just my rambling two cents worth.
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Unread 03-25-2009, 04:44 PM   #3
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GeneralTJWilleys thanks for taking the time to posting your answer!
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Unread 03-25-2009, 04:50 PM   #4
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Unread 03-26-2009, 01:10 AM   #5
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I would be all over this if they actually produced it I've seen the pic so many times it makes me want to cry...only thing I would change is get rid of the back seats...nobody can fit back there...either make it into an in-cab secure storage area for tools and such (which you could do yourself) or get rid of that area all together and extend the bed of the truck by that much.
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Unread 03-26-2009, 10:24 AM   #6
GeneralTJWillys
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With the larger size of the new Wranglers, it makes even more sense that the Dakota platform could be used as a starting point for the Gladiator. Just so long as they still give us a solid front axle. A "Rubicon" version of this, IMHO would sell well if they keep away from adding all the cushy non-essentials.

Give me the good axles with lockers, rock rails, and what about a built in radio of some sort......as in 2-way/CB radio. Isn't that something most Jeepers install anyway?

I agree, though, with just removing the rear seats, or extending the rear cab a bit if there's gonna be any worhtwhile seating back there.

I'm still a pushover for a good 4 or small 6 cylinder turbo-diesel. I'd be running it on vegetable oil with propane injection!!
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Unread 03-26-2009, 12:08 PM   #7
slow2run
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Why can't the 4 door unlimited Jeep frame , just be lengthen so the truck bed runs from just behind the back seat to give it a 5 ft bed ? Want that give us a jeep wrangler 4 door unlimited with a truck bed ! . also give me a easy fold down windshield.

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Unread 03-26-2009, 03:53 PM   #8
GeneralTJWillys
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Well, as in my first post, anything CAN be done, but apparently, their bean counters came up with unfeasible numbers relating to the profitability of such a vehicle. I know I spoke of altering the Dakota platform, but again, those were just my personal ideas also.

I have no idea how their cash situation is for any such vehicle. But also, as I said, If their beancounters told them it would be a profit hog....I'm sure they'd pull out the stops to build it, either on the current platform or the Dakota platform. Because you KNOW they wouldn't say no to a good profit, especially in the current economy.........would you?

Apparently, there wasn't enough interest in a vehicle of that sort. At least not enough to justify the cost of further R&D. And in the current economy, there likely won't be for a while. Unfortunately.

Speaking for myself, I'd LOVE to get something like the Gladiator, but my income just does not allow it. I'll be sticking with my Willys Ed. and we have the '02 Ram Quad Cab, and the rest of my money will go into fixing up my Daytona and repairing our '95 Neon. Far cheaper to do that than have another car payment and full coverage insurance to boot.

Speaking of cars.......does anyone have a need for a '94 V-6 Dakota Club Cab with a 5-spd and gas friendly highway gears? $3,000 and it's yours!! (shameless plug....I know!!! LOL)

In the end though, if you have the money to spend on a vehicle like that, I know of at least ONE company that's making conversions to get a scrambler type vehicle. If I were able to, I'd give them a call and see where they are with their products and maybe they are already developing a kit for the 4-doors. The one I saw was on a TJ and it had a Hemi. BOY, was it a looker!!! I was drooling for miles!!

If I can find the picture of it, I'll post it in this thread later.

Tracy
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Unread 03-29-2009, 05:50 PM   #9
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The smartest course of action right now for Chrysler Group is to kill off the Dakota and bring in the Gladiator, or another Jeep midsize pickup.

Let's face it-the Dakota is boned. In the small truck segments, it has to compete against the Toyota Tacoma and the Nissan Frontier/Suzuki Equator twins. Well, and the Ranger/B-Series twins and Canyon/Colorado twins as well, but the Dakota is so much bigger that it doesn't really compete effectively with it. It's even larger then the Tacoma, Frontier and Equator, so it's trying to compete with them, as well as the F-150, Silverado/Sierra twins and Ram. (The Titan and Tundra are too big for the Dakota to compete).

It's got the lowest sales of any truck in the segment. Jeep sells more Wranglers in 2 months then Dodge sells Dakotas all year. The Dakota is the worst-rated of the midsize category, and it's a very, very slim market anyways. For a few thousand more and 1 less MPG, almost anybody is just going to get the Ram instead. It offers no distinct competitive advantage. It's not cheaper then the Tacoma or Frontier/Equator, it's not more efficient, it's not more reliable, it's doesn't have any appreciable extra capacity...the only thing it offers is a V8-at which point, most people would prefer a Ram anyways, because people buy midsize trucks for efficiency, not power for the most part.

Now, a Jeep truck? For one, you have the Jeep nameplate, which is already more popular and valuable, as well as better-received, then Dodge. Maybe not when it comes to trucks, but Jeep's assorted forays into the truck market have all been well-received, if somewhat slow sellers. There's also a huge clamoring for the Gladiator from the Jeep community, and the JK Wrangler has brought the Wrangler line to the best sales it's ever seen. It would offer distinct competition advantages in the small/mid-size truck segment, and it would already come with the massive aftermarket support that the JK already has, assuming it uses a JK chassis.

Chrysler needs to can the Dakota and replace it with the Gladiator.
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Unread 03-29-2009, 06:26 PM   #10
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How will this new 2011 fuel regulations effect this new jeep truck and the Chrysler/jeep line up,cars to get 30.2 , van,pick-up and suv to get 24.1 mpg by 2011 ? do they average out the mpg for the jeep line up with some formula ,then come out with a mpg that's NEED. will a new jeep truck help with this formula, can they build a jeep truck before 2011? Why not call the mid-size jeep truck Comanche as they have before and a full-size truck if build the Gladiator? I would think the mid size jeep truck would look close to the the 05 model of the Gladiator ,with a larger cab or a 4 door model with a diesel and new v6 and/or v8 engine options ,depending on the EPA police.

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Unread 03-31-2009, 11:08 AM   #11
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Like This?

Is this what you want? It is the Jeep JT concept vehicle. Basically its an Unlimited JK with the top cut back and the doors welded shut. Personally I think they need to extend the rear overhand by about 6" to give the truck a little balance. It seems like it would be easy to do. But I suppose its would be cheapest to build it this way.





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Unread 03-31-2009, 01:55 PM   #12
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slow2run,
Not really sure how they work out the MPG bug. But I know that since there is more realistic "real world" mileage testing, ALL ratings have dropped. Yet, the fed keeps pushing for higher numbers. I think the average is taken across the whole vehicle lineup. Not sure though.

The small Commanche and large Gladiator sounds good to me, but what about the Ram? Kill the Dakota and put a new Commanche in it's place, but I'm not so sure the Ram would get the axe.
And if it does, the Gladiator would need to be the workhorse and that would require compromise between the workhorse it needs to be and the off-road capable vehicle it should be with the Jeep name on it. Not to mention, would it be IFS or solid front axle. How would you set the compromise in spring rates between off-roader and tow/hauler? (That is without getting high-tech with the system, thereby driving up cost) I suppose you could sell an Off-Road Package, but this is still a compromise to the off-road crowd if it still has the longer rear overhang.

It's hard to build one truck to cover every want and need, but it's costly to build several different more focused vehicles. I don't envy the people who need to make these choices, especially in the current state of the economy etc.

It would be a tough compromise. But I gotta ask, since it seems you REALLY want a Jeep truck, why DON'T you just take a JK to one of the shops and have it converted? It would be built exactly as you want it!

Fargo,

I kinda like the JT the way it is, but, I see your point. I still think I like the Gladiator concept better, though. Just my humble opinion. I looked over the truck at NAIAS in Detroit. The only way it could've been better (for ME) is if it had a CRD Turbo-diesel. I MIGHT have even traded my Beloved, precious, Willys Ed. Wrangler, and THAT'S saying something!!
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Unread 03-31-2009, 02:07 PM   #13
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Fargo,

I kinda like the JT the way it is, but, I see your point. I still think I like the Gladiator concept better, though. Just my humble opinion. I looked over the truck at NAIAS in Detroit. The only way it could've been better (for ME) is if it had a CRD Turbo-diesel. I MIGHT have even traded my Beloved, precious, Willys Ed. Wrangler, and THAT'S saying something!!
I agree, the Gladiator is much nicer. I think the JT looks a bit like a hack job. I personally don't care for it either. But I thought it sounded like something the original poster would be interested in. It does seem like it would be more likely to see production too because it would be so much cheaper to build.
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Unread 03-31-2009, 04:17 PM   #14
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slow2run,
Not really sure how they work out the MPG bug. But I know that since there is more realistic "real world" mileage testing, ALL ratings have dropped. Yet, the fed keeps pushing for higher numbers.
While the other half of the government keeps pushing more safety which keeps increasing the weight and lowering the fuel efficiency.
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