Jeep is mulling to launch a car smaller than the Renegade that will continue with the existing product philosophy of the Jeep brand, but cannot see the business case yet for such a model.
Jeep is considering to launch an SUV or crossover smaller than the Renegade that would be sold in select markets. In a recent interview, Jeep CEO Mike Manley spoke about how the growth and sales in the smaller SUV segment were impressive but did not make a very compelling case for the American auto giant to join the bandwagon. It would be harder to develop a smaller SUV equipped with all the capabilities seen in other Jeep models in the lineup.
Known for its extremely capable off-road friendly SUVs, Jeep does not want the brand’s core identity to be robbed away from the smaller model. Furthermore, the company believes that smaller cars are harder to build profitability, especially if the manufacturing is conducted in its home market. Having said that, Mike also stated that one of the nearest rivals to the small SUV will be the Fiat Panda Cross and Jeep could understand the know-how to a smaller vehicle from within the (FCA) Group. A timeframe on the decision for the small SUV wasn’t mentioned by the company.
While the idea of a small SUV is still nascent, Jeep is currently working on the other end of the spectrum with a top-of-the-line 7-seater SUV under development that will be positioned above the Grand Cherokee. The compact SUV space is aggressively growing on this side of the globe and Jeep could make use of its skills to develop a highly capable small SUV for markets like India and other parts of Asia. While a C-segment SUV is in the works for the Indian market, the smaller SUV could take on the sub 4-metre space competing against the Ford EcoSport, Maruti YBA and the likes.
Source – Autocar