Jeep’s Mike Manley Spills News on Compass, Patriot Replacement
New crossover to debut in September in Brazil, will overlap outgoing models in showrooms for a few monthsby Mark McNabb, on
Jeep Brand CEO Mike Manley recently divulged details regarding several of Jeep’s upcoming models, including the long-overdue replacement for the Compass and Patriot compact SUVs, known internally within Jeep as the C-SUV.
Speaking with Automotive News, Manley said the yet-unnamed crossover will debut in late September in Brazil, followed by a U.S. launch in November at the LA Auto Show. The small crossover will retain either the Compass or Patriot names and arrive in showrooms early within 2017. The Brazil debut was chosen to help celebrate FCA’s new Pernambuco assembly plant. The facility will also build the Renegade for Latin American counties.
Manley then divulged engineering news regarding the C-SUV’s structure. He says the new crossover will share the Renegade’s chassis, its FWD-based drivetrain, and the disconnecting rear axle on 4WD units. Engine choices are still unknown. Manley also revealed U.S.-spec versions will be built in Toluca, Mexico. This is a departure from the Compass’ current birthplace in Belvidere, Illinois – perhaps allowing Jeep to build the upcoming Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer SUVs.
Speaking of those, Manley mentioned the pair shouldn’t be thought of as separate vehicles, but rather a trim levels. This is counter to many reports suggesting the Grand Wagoneer would be lager than its less-luxurious brother.
The iconic Wrangler was also mentioned, with Manley saying, “To be honest with you, I’m delighted in the way it’s turning out, not just from a styling point of view, but from an overall point of what Wrangler stands for, I’m very pleased.” Manley admitted large changes are coming to the Wrangler in terms of fuel economy, weight, and aerodynamics. Thankfully he reassured Wrangler loyalists, saying, “…at the end of the day, it needs to be recognized as Wrangler.”
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Why It Matters
The Patriot and Compass SUVs, despite their age and unrefined nature, sell extremely sell for Jeep. They even sell well considering the Renegade is parked on the same dealership lot and offers much newer technology with better styling. That’s why replacing the Compass/Patriot pair is drastically important for Jeep. The automaker has to hit a homerun to keep sales flowing in. As far as the nomenclature, our vote is for the Patriot. It just sounds more American.
The news regarding the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer is also vitally important to understanding what Jeep’s future flagship model will be. Manley’s comments about the Grand Wagoneer being something of a luxury trim line on the Wagoneer platform helps narrow down mechanical differences, but still leaves plenty of questions regarding design appearances and luxury levels. Could the pair be so similar as a GMC Yukon and Yukon Denali or as extravagant a separation as a Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Escalade. We’re hoping for the latter.
Jeep’s commitment to SUVs and crossovers is highly respected by loyalists. Hopefully these additional vehicles and the changes to the Wrangler will resonate positively with buyers and fans, bringing sales to dealerships and upward-trending arrows to monthly profit reports at FCA headquarters.
Read our full review on the Jeep C-Segment CUV here.
Source: Automotive News