More Jeep models mean more profits for FCA

Jeep is an immensely lucrative brand these days, and Fiat Chrysler is wisely cashing in on the moneymaker. FCA is reportedly developing a “baby Jeep” that’s smaller than the current Renegade for use in global markets like China and Europe.

A report from Automotive News quotes Jeep boss Mike Manley as saying the brand is looking “very closely” at a small crossover. What’s more, the Jeep would already have a chassis to borrow – the Mini architecture currently underpinning the Fiat Panda and several other city cars sold across Europe. FCA’s Pomigliano assembly plant outside Naples, Italy has already been selected as the factory. That’s not too surprising given the Panda is currently built there.

However, according to FCA CEO Sergio Marchionne who spoke on the topic at the 2017 Geneva Auto Show, the Panda is scheduled to vacate the Pomigliano factory between 2019 and 2020. Marchionne said Pomigliano “can work on more complex cars than the Panda.” Perhaps that means the Jeep will be more adept at off-road than even the beefed-up Fiat Panda Cross.

Unfortunately, it seems development of this baby Jeep has hit roadblocks, according to reports from Automotive News Europe. Speculation suggests delays could be tied to developing a more capable off-roader from the Mini platform in order to retain Jeep’s Trail Rated status. That ties in with Marchionne’s statement.

Naturally, such a small crossover would flop here in the U.S., so Jeep will reserve the compact model for its international markets. That means the Reengaged will likely continue being America’s smallest Jeep product, which is totally fine.

Of course, Jeep is also building SUVs in the other direction. Jeep has all but debuted the Ram 1500 pickup-based Wagoneer and luxury-minded Grand Wagoneer. Both models were promised by Marchionne a few years back as Jeep’s way of competing with Ranger Rover and the other high-end SUVs flooding the market. Moreover, Jeep has its upcoming Grand Commander three-row SUV that will be completely dedicated to the Chinese automotive market.

What do you think? Should Jeep build a compact model below the Renegade and sell it everywhere but inside the U.S.? Let us know in the comments below.

References

2019 Jeep Renegade Spyshots Exterior
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Read our full speculative review on the 2019 Jeep Renegade.

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Read more Jeep news.

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