Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is nearing a decision regarding the addition of a new ‘baby Jeep’ vehicle. If approved, the new model would likely be tailored to the European market and not sold in the U.S., where bigger SUVs sell in higher volumes.
Automotive News Europe reports that FCA suppliers are hearing chatter surrounding the possible new model. It is expected the new Jeep would be built atop FCA’s Mini platform, which is already serving as a basis for the Fiat Panda and Fiat 500 vehicles. Both vehicles are currently built in FCA’s Pomigliano, Italy assembly plant.
FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne has confirmed the Panda will relocate to another FCA assembly plant sometime in 2019-2020, leaving space for a new “more complex” product for Pomigliano to produce. This manufacturing shuffle is fueling speculation about the new Jeep.
If approved, the new Jeep would slot under the current Renegade in terms of size and price. Jeep boss Mike Manley has said any new Jeep would have to be “capable” and exhibit Jeep’s ‘go anywhere’ philosophy.
So far it appears FCA has not made a firm decision regarding the new model. A final decision on the matter could be made as early as June 2018, when the company is expected to present its 2018-2022 strategic plan to investors.