Jeep Wrangler sales hit a record 240,032 units last year and have been increasingly almost regularly ever since 2009. Thus, it’s not surprising to learn that rivals want a piece of the action.
Ford’s answer is pretty well known at this point, as they announced plans to resurrect the Bronco back in 2017.
While we still have to wait a little longer to see the production model, previous reports have suggested it will borrow heavily from the Wrangler playbook. In particular, dealers have said the model will have a retro-inspired design with removable doors and a hard top.
The Blue Oval, though, might not be the only company eyeing a Jeep competitor. According to as GM Authority, a couple of four door Wranglers were spotted undergoing testing at GM’s Milford Proving Grounds. While it’s not unusual for automakers to test products from their competitors, rumors about a hardcore SUV have grown increasingly louder.
A mysterious Chevrolet Trailblazer was spied undergoing testing in Europe earlier this month and the model was said to be a mule for an all-new SUV. That remains unconfirmed, but the current Trailblazer is based on the international version of the Chevrolet Colorado (The recently announced 2021 Trailblazer is something else entirely).
To make matters more interesting, General Motors is said to be considering a $1 billion (£782 million / €895 million) investment in its Wentzville plant, where the current Colorado and GMC Canyon are being built. It’s been rumored (but unconfirmed, to this point) that some of those funds could be used for a new body-on-frame SUV, presumably based on the next-generation of The General’s mid-size pickups.
If this were to happen, it would echo what Ford is doing with the Bronco, which is closely related to the Ranger and will built alongside it in Michigan.
While it’s not entirely certain that GM is building a Wrangler competitor, the company has toyed around with the idea in the past. In 2008, the then HM-owned Hummer unveiled the HX concept, which featured a removable roof and doors. The Hummer brand was axed shortly afterwards and the project never came into fruition, but a report from 2015 suggested GM asked dealers about a Hummer-like model to battle Jeep.