General Motors might be building its own small off-road SUV to take on the Jeep Wrangler.
For years, the Jeep Wrangler has enjoyed a unique spot in the automotive world as North America’s premier off-road utility vehicle. Moreover, its basic design meant that owners could customize their jeep in practically any way they wanted, resulting in a Jeep subculture that can only be described as “it’s a Jeep thing.”
Fiat Chrysler has long encouraged Jeep’s reputation as its most profitable division. But now it seems that the other big American automakers are coming for a piece of the Wrangler’s pie.
Ford announced the reborn Bronco and Baby Bronco (tentatively called the Bronco Scout) last year and we’ve been eagerly following their development, and now it seems that GM is getting in on the action.
Well, probably. The report comes from GM Authority, and as their name implies, they tend to be an authority on the inner workings of General Motors. They report that a pair of Jeep Wrangler Unlimited 4-door utes were seen at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds in Detroit all kitted up with various sensors and cameras.
Why would GM need to have a Wrangler with a bunch of sensors? GM Authority suspects it’s to gather data on the Wrangler’s handling so that they could make one of their own.
It was first suspected that the reborn Blazer and Trailblazer might become GM’s Wrangler fighters, but they’re both unibody designs with independent suspension and haven’t got much in terms of off-road personality. The more likely option would be a completely new vehicle based on GM’s VSS-T architecture which consolidates all of their unibody designs into a single platform.
However, if they’re just getting Wrangler test data now, GM is way behind Ford in their development of the Bronco. Ford is set to reveal the smaller Bronco Scout first in early 2020, followed by the larger Bronco later that year. It could take years for GM to come out with a similar product, so we don’t expect to hear anything official from them any time soon.