The new Wrangler starts production in the fourth quarter of 2017, and the current model remains in production for several months next year.

Pickup customers pining for Jeep’s seven-slot grille on their next truck need to be a little more patient because the company now plans to debut the hauler in late 2019 – rather than earlier speculation of an arrival in late 2018. When the model does arrive, it’s possible that the chassis for the Ram 1500 could underpin the truck rather than the new Wrangler platform.

According to Automotive News, size restraints at the Toledo, Ohio, factory that builds the Wrangler is largely leading to the truck's delay. The northern part of the plant is handling assembly of the standard Wrangler, and everything is on track to begin production of it in the fourth quarter of this year. Meanwhile, the southern half of the facility reportedly needs extensive retooling for building the pickup variant. Among the renovations, a new paint shop is necessary because the current one allegedly isn't large enough to handle the truck. The construction should take around a year.

Jeep Wrangler pickup truck spy photo

Ram reportedly sees an opportunity to shift some heavy-duty truck production into the renovated southern portion of the Toledo factory instead of assembling them in Mexico, Automotive News alleges. If this happens, the assembly at the plant would be easier with two versions of the same chassis rather than a pair of different ones. Therefore, it might make sense for the Ram and Wrangler pickup to share underpinnings.

The Wrangler-based truck doesn't officially have a model name yet. According to The Detroit News, the company is favoring historical names for the brand. Reviving the Gladiator moniker would seem perfect for the truck. A trademark search also shows the Jeep still owns the rights to Jeepster, which could also work.

Jeep Wrangler pickup truck spy photo

The latest spy shots indicate that the new Wrangler might be available with removable roof panels, at least on the four-door Unlimited model. The traditional soft top should also be an option. The design retains the model's boxy appearance but some aluminum panels should reduce weight. A 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder would join the powertrain lineup. Down the road, diesel and hybrid variants might also be available. The grand debut could happen at the Los Angeles Auto Show 

Source: Automotive News, The Detroit News

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