Jeep Wrangler Spied Testing at GM Proving Grounds Could Mean Chevy-Badged Jeep Fighter in the Works
GM engineers were caught benchmarking four-door Jeep Wrangler with a plethora of sensors and other measuring devices.
Jeep has dominated the American 4x4 market with its famous Wrangler for nearly three decades, and given how the “Big Three” American automakers love to compete with each other, it's clear that neither Ford nor General Motors were happy about seeing this action from the sidelines. As a result, Ford has decided to step into the fighting ring by reviving its Bronco off-road SUV, but Chevy went the other direction with a sportier and rather suburban Blazer. But if any recent Jeep Wrangler sightings are to be believed, GM might be up to something at its Milford Proving Grounds in Michigan.
Photos recently shared by GMAuthority show engineers from the General benchmarking some test mules with a pair of four-door Wrangler models. This is apparently the first time GM has ever used a Wrangler as a benchmark for testing SUVs in at least the past decade. Although far from a confirmation, the fact that GM is using a Wrangler as a benchmark is a major hint that a Wrangler competitor is indeed in the works.
When the rumors first started circulating a few years back, clues pointed at the revival of the Blazer as Chevrolet’s latest contender to the Wrangler. But given the Blazer was revived as a posh crossover SUV built on the same GM C1XX chassis as the GMC Acadia, that idea is null and void. One of the original rumors also suggested GM's potential Wrangler fighter would be a GMC model only. But things have apparently changed since then.
That’s because if Chevrolet were to proceed with a true Wrangler competitor, would ideally gun for a body-on-frame truck to make sure it has the chops to really put the Wrangler in its place. On that note, other rumors point to the use of GM’s next-generation VSS-T architecture, which stands for “Vehicle Strategy Set – Truck.” It’s essentially the replacement for the General’s current body-on-frame GMTK2XX underpinnings that give us the Chevy Tahoe, Suburban, and Silverado, as well as its GMC and Cadillac cousins, the Yukon, the Sierra, and the Escalade.
The plan with VSS-T is to streamline GM’s truck line with a new modular platform that could also be resized for various applications. The smaller application would result in this potential Jeep Wrangler competitor.