Not for the first time, there are rumours floating about that General Motors is putting serious thought to producing a true rival to the Jeep Wrangler. The iconic utility model has its segment visually to itself at present, enjoying a very profitable near-monopoly. The category might well get a little more crowded in the near-future, however.
For one, we know that Ford is hard at work on the return of the Bronco. And contrary to many early reports, we also now know that the model will be making like a Jeep with its body-on-frame architecture and actual, honest-to-goodness off-road capabilities.
Now, a report from media outlet GM Authority cites what it calls reliable sources who say that General Motors has gone to the trouble of acquiring two JL-generation Wrangler Unlimited models, and then decked out the vehicles in tons of sensors and other equipment to collect data during testing at GM’s private testing facility in Michigan.
With Ford already busy readying a rival to the Wrangler, it would frankly be surprising if GM remained on the sidelines in this segment.
Some may recall as well that at the 2008 Detroit auto show, just on the cusp of the financial crisis, General Motors unveiled the Hummer HX Concept, a future H4 roughly identical in dimensions to the Wrangler and which looked ready to take on the apocalypse. That was not to be, of course; after nearly going extinct itself, GM took the axe to four of its brands, including Hummer.
The current environment does seem to lend itself to a return to this niche category by the American manufacturer. Now we’ll have to wait and see what the automaker decides to make public, and when.