Just my opinion, but the problem with the "mini" truck market, was that everything grew into the more "midsize" class that was originated by the Dakota. I know many people that were dedicated mini owners that went fullsize when everything grew. When the mid & full size are getting the same mileage numbers, why not just go full size for the extra cargo benefits.
The only true mini that is still available is the way outdated Ford Ranger. I was also never a fan of the independent front suspensions that eventually made their way to all the mini & midsize.
If Jeep would have built the Gladiator, I would not have bought my TJ and spare frame for a Brute build.
The Colorado and Canyon were the same size as the Ranger and got up to 26 mpg highway (2wd, short bed, regular cab, stick, 4 cyl), but as was noted are dead or dying. GM is making a mistake killing them. For the one month I worked as a salesman, I sold 2 new Colorados, one used Silverado, and a used Explorer. The first Colorado was a fully loaded Z71 4x4, crew cab for $28k. The used Silverado was a entry level for about $17k. I had a lot more people interested in them Colorados than the Silverados, unless they were towing. The Ranger will be dying soon as well. This would leave the small truck market to Jeep and Mahindra, and the rugged all-terrain truck to Jeep. It'd be a small niche market, but really, the Wrangler is technically a niche market and how many of them do they sell?
Jeep didnt push the Scrambler, either. In theory, it was the perfect Jeep since it could be a pickup, wagon, or open top. Best of all worlds. The CJ-6 really didnt sell at the time either for pretty much the same reason: lack of awareness. Jeep hardly advertised any of its pickups except in the first year or so. This holds true for everything from the J series up to the Comanche. IMHO they were all far superior to anything else offered by the competition, but if no one knows about it, it wont sell.
GR8T Tops makes half cab kits for Wranglers and CJs for $1200-$1500, I first heard of them about 4 years ago. And lets not forget that AEV charges almost 9 grand for the Brute kits. If someone wasnt buying them, they couldnt keep cranking them out.
Chrysler needs to realize that even though the F-150 and Silverado may sell a LOT of trucks, thats to a mass market. Just because you can sell a ton of trucks by offering something that rides low, has the interior of a cadillac, only has a slushbox, and no offroad capability but a bed that will swallow the contents of a container ship doesnt mean thats the ONLY kind of truck with a market. If Jeep ever does market a properly executed pickup it WILL sell.
I think they could make a profitable niche truck and do well with it. If nothing else, it would help bring Jeep back to its roots and be something of a halo vehicle. Its existence would lend credibility to the rest of the lineup.
Or even, if Jeep were to bring AEV in and offer the Brute as a "dealer-installed" model (think Saleen and how you can buy a Saleen Mustang from most Ford dealers), that would be an easy entry to the market with a known and proven product.