Chrysler Group's Jeep brand will not be returning to the compact pickup arena anytime soon, the auto maker's chief operating officer says.

Chrysler executives had been contemplating a production version of the Jeep Gladiator concept that debuted at the 2005 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

“It wasn't profitable,” COO Eric Ridenour tells Ward's.

The decision belies an unprecedented lineup expansion that will see Jeep's showroom grow, by year's end, to eight models from three.

However, while the Gladiator's death threatens to disappoint dealers, brand enthusiasts and SUV aficionados in general, it may impress Wall Street as a sign of Chrysler's shrewdness.

Chrysler has adopted a renewed focus on bottom-line performance as it fights to maintain momentum that has produced U.S. market share gains while cross-town rivals General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. have seen their shares erode.