With a lineage stretching all the way back to the second World War, the Jeep Wrangler has achieved legendary status on the trail and most recently generated quite the sales buzz in Jeep showrooms. But does that mean there’s room for another niche off-road competitor in the US market?
If the latest happenings at GMC are any indication, then yes. According to the Wall Street Journal, GMC executives recently posed the question of a GMC brand off-road SUV to a number of its dealers at a recent national conference. The vehicle was pitched to compete directly with the rough-and-tumble Wrangler, and borrow its styling cues from a familiar source – Hummer.
If so, the proposed GMC off-roader might look a little something like this – Hummer’s 2008 HX concept. It debuted at the Detroit auto show, packing a lift-off top and off-road suspension, foreshadowing a future vehicle that directly targeted the Wrangler. The collapse of the Hummer brand put a stop to those plans, but with a clean bill of health, General Motors appears to be ready to give the segment another shot.
While bringing a new off-roader to market sounds great for the brand, Jeep likely won’t be bracing for a cross-town invasion. In 2014, Jeep sold a total of 175,328 Wranglers in the US, a 13 percent increase over the course of the year and an achievement marking five consecutive years of growth for the nameplate.
Further to the point, Jeep’s greatest ally is its diehard customer base, folks who bought a Jeep once and will never leave the brand. If that allegiance weren’t such a factor in the off-roader market, you wouldn’t see competitors like Toyota’s FJ Cruiser falling by the wayside.
What do you think, Internet? Would a rough-and-tumble GMC SUV earn a spot in your garage?