Ford Authority

The Blue Oval Is Still Benchmarking The Jeep Gladiator

As is the case with all automakers, Ford routinely benchmarks vehicles from its competition, giving those models a close look as it aims to stay one step ahead of its rivals. In recent months, Ford Authority spies have spotted FoMoCo benchmarking a number of vehicles from Stellantis, including the Dodge Durango Pursuit and Jeep Wagoneer, each wearing the tell-tale yellow sticker that adorns all Ford-owned vehicles from other manufacturers. However, interestingly enough, Ford has been caught benchmarking the Jeep Gladiator – the pickup version of the Jeep Wrangler – not just once or twice, but three times now.

It’s difficult to tell in these photos, but this Jeep Gladiator Rubicon could potentially be the same pickup that Ford was spied benchmarking back in June of last year. Both are black, and appear to be the same in every other distinguishable way. The pickup was spotted being unloaded from a truck and entering a Ford facility, though it has no license plates, while the last Gladiator did.

Regardless, it’s interesting that Ford is still benchmarking the Gladiator, given the fact that the automaker reportedly canceled its plans to build a Ford Bronco pickup last August. As Ford Authority reported way back in July of 2019, a Bronco pickup was expected to join the SUV in The Blue Oval’s lineup at some point in the next few years, possibly 2024, and we even rendered two- and four-door versions of this future model.

A pickup version of the Bronco would make a lot of sense as a direct competitor to the Jeep Gladiator, which is essentially nothing more than a Wrangler with a bed. While the Bronco rides on the same Ford T6 platform as the Bronco SUV and Ford Ranger, a Bronco pickup would provide a distinctly styled, off-road focused, open-air alternative to the more conventional mid-sizer that would represent a throwback to the first-gen Bronco half cab, itself a short pickup version of the rugged SUV.

We’ll have more on Ford’s competition soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for continuous Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. NCEcoBoost

    Don’t bother. Complete waste of time, though Ford does love to do that these days.

  2. Brad Barefoot

    In the ’60’s my Great PaPa Josh had a Bronco, a ’65 2-Door Pickup version … drove it till he passed away on the early 1980’s. Blue w/White Top, manual trans, am radio, and heater … bare bones model but it served him will. I was excited when the possible pickup was announced, just to get it shot down. All the builders need to get away from just 4-door pickup, offer the Bronco in a 2-door cab pickup version … with about 12″ behind the seat to put a small suitcase. And Ford, take a idea from GM’s former Oldsmobile division in the mid ’90’s … I bought a Cutlass Wagon on it’s Level two trim level … they were about $2,000 apart … start doing the same for cars an trucks keep it simple with external colours being the outside of model 1 or 2 setups … will make manufacturing easier, and quicker … the public will love’ya for it.

  3. Chris Blanchard

    Doubtful Ford would bring out yet another pickup. Farley has committed $30 Billion to EV development through 2030; that’s a lot of precious resources already spoken for. If anything, they may be evaluating how Gladiator compares to the upcoming 2023 Ranger Raptor. An exclusive Bronco pickup would carve up an already small pie, leaving both it and Ranger Raptor unprofitable.

  4. Roger Sunderland

    My preference would have been for Ford to do a Bronco pickup and not even bother with bringing the Ranger here. The T6 Ranger was always intended to be Ford’s truck for markets where the F-150 is not sold. So keep it that way. For the North American market the T6 Ranger has always been the red headed stepchild that’s afraid to step on its big brother’s toes. They could have given us a Bronco pickup that fewer customers would cross shop with the F-150 than they do with the Ranger.

  5. Roger Sunderland

    And a couple of other points. Doing a Bronco pickup instead of the Ranger would also free up Michigan Assembly to build Broncos only. Not only would that be a potentially higher profit vehicle but it would almost certainly make the manufacturing process more efficient than trying to build Rangers on the same assembly line as the Bronco.
    And don’t forget that with the introduction of the Maverick that is just more in-house competition for the Ranger at the lower end of the midsize market.

  6. Goodoni

    I hope they don’t benchmark the main seal leak that needs to be replaced every 20K miles

  7. Justin

    This is an awfully short case. The Rivian pick-up truck is pretty much the pick-up version of the Ford Bronco. Ford partnered or whatever with Rivian, and the Bronco is the Rivian truck. Ford would just rebadge the rivian and give it this crappy blue emblem and higher suspension.

  8. Montana Man

    I suppose there are good reasons to see what the competition are doing, as much to find out what’s wrong as what’s right. I don’t think Ford would build something now with anything but ultimate focus on safety, followed by long-range reduced reliance on fossil fuel motors. All while remaining profitable, of course.

  9. Hiii bill

    I bet they just like driving it.


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