Jeep just might be the thing to tug Fiat out of its European money mire like a winch-wearing Wrangler pulling a stranger’s truck from a mud bog.
Fitting as it might sound, the new Jeep won’t be anything like the unrefined Wrangler or hulking Grand Cherokee. Instead, it will be a smaller, high-margin car based on Fiat-Chrysler’s new small-wide platform. Fiat says the platform is U.S. regulation ready, making any vehicles built on it export ready with no further modifications.
But small doesn’t mean cheap, and the fact that these smaller Jeeps will be built in Italy certainly won’t help prices for the U.S. market.
Still, that seems to be of little concern to Fiat-Chrysler czar Sergio Marchionne, who since his appointment as CEO of both companies has proven his metal as a sure leader.
“We decided to shift away from mass carmaking and compete in the upscale market,” he said. ”This will be the only plant in the world to produce a new small SUV for Jeep.”
Previously, the automaker planned to release the Fiat 500X (seen above), which will use the same platform, before the new Jeep model, but today the company announced that it will reverse that order.
The yet-unnamed Jeep will be sold exclusively with four-wheel drive, and based on the brand’s plan to sell it as a more premium vehicle in Europe, North America and Asia, it seems unlikely that the car will have much more than a badge in common with other Jeep products.
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[Source: Automotive News]