Jeep’s just making too much off the Wrangler, and other automakers are definitely taking note. There’ve been rumors before that Chevy and Ford are working on hardcore off-roaders to take on the Wrangler. Now a report from Automotive News says that GMC will be the one to battle with Jeep.
Apparently, GMC is working on a new SUV with body-on-frame construction, sharing a platform with the Canyon. If the vehicle goes to production, don’t expect to see it until at least 2020. Jeep will sell sick amounts of Wranglers by then, making GMC’s job that much harder.
This new vehicle is part of GMC’s plan to start differentiating itself more from the Chevrolet brand. It’s hoping to increase market share by doing that, and hopefully not by stealing customers from other GM brands.
Toyota tried to take on the Wrangler with the retro-inspired FJ Cruiser, but ended production as sales numbers kept falling. GM’s Hummer brand also sought to carve out a section of that market segment with its H3, but the brand was ditched during bankruptcy.
Obviously, the Wrangler is a niche vehicle. The question is how much room is there in the niche for a true competitor? There’s a massive community of Jeep owners, a dizzying amount of aftermarket parts and a culture that’s completely unique. Those are huge hurdles for GMC or anyone else to overcome.