FCA Might Produce “Baby” Jeep for International Markets
If you think the subcompact Jeep Renegade crossover is small, just wait. Jeep might release an even smaller “baby” Jeep for global markets outside the U.S. Mike Manley, Head of Jeep, said the brand is looking “very closely” at a vehicle smaller than the Renegade.
If approved, the baby Jeep would ride on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Mini platform that underpins the Fiat Panda, Lancia Ypsilon, and many other European minicars. This would make the baby Jeep one of the smallest crossovers offered in Europe.The new Jeep could be built in the Pomigliano factory near Naples, Italy, where the Fiat Panda is currently produced.
Thanks to Europe’s increased demand for small city crossovers, Fiat already sells the Fiat Panda Cross, an all-wheel-drive, SUV-inspired variant.
“The Panda will migrate from Pomigliano around 2019-2020,” FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne said at the 2017 Geneva auto show. He added that the Pomigliano factory “can work on more complex cars than the Panda.”
According to Automotive News Europe, supplier sources have said that FCA has been discussing a Pomigliano-made baby Jeep since early 2017 but progress has been met with many setbacks. Some of these setbacks could stem from trying to produce a baby Jeep that is still capable enough for Jeep’s “Go Anywhere. Do Anything” slogan.
We might hear a decision in June when FCA outlines its 2018-2022 plan.
Due to the popularity of mini vehicles around the world, the baby Jeep will likely stay a global product if ever built. Don’t expect to see a baby Jeep on North American soil, where bigger still seems to be better.