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Chrysler Considers Jeep Wrangler-Based Pickup, Brand Chief Says

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Jeep CEO Mike Manley
Mike Manley, head of Chrylser's Jeep brand. Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg

Jan. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Chrysler Group LLC, the U.S. automaker operated by Fiat SpA, is “very seriously” considering creating a pickup based on the Jeep Wrangler sport-utility vehicle, an executive said today.

“I would love to bring that vehicle to the market,” Mike Manley, head of Chrysler’s Jeep brand, said in an interview at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. He added that such a vehicle could be ready for sale in about 24 months after the company decided to build it.

Chrysler last year showed dealers a Jeep pickup similar to the 2005 concept called the Gladiator, which was one of the best-received potential models the company has done, he said.

Chrysler is displaying the refreshed Jeep Compass small SUV at the show. The Compass should help boost sales in overseas markets where buyers prefer smaller vehicles, Manley has said. Jeep accounts for about 50 percent of Chrysler’s sales outside of North America.

The Compass was updated to resemble the larger and higher-priced Jeep Grand Cherokee. U.S. sales of the redesigned Grand Cherokee rose 68 percent last year from 2009, according to Autodata Corp.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tim Higgins in Detroit at Thiggins21@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jamie Butters at jbutters@bloomberg.net

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