Fiat/Jeep wants to make 280,000 units a year of the India-bound B-Segment SUV

05/07/2013 - 12:40 | Fiat,   | Anjan Ravi

Jeep is plotting a new compact SUV which would be launched in 2014. This B-segment SUV would be the smallest of Jeep's offerings, with reports calling it a Junior Cherokee. Mike Manley, CEO of Jeep, told Indian Autos Blog that the work on this SUV had already commenced and was on schedule.

2014 Jeep Cherokee front three quarters right
The B Segment SUV would be smaller than the Cherokee.

The SUV would measure about 4.2 meters in length. It would be marketed globally (while giving importance to markets such as China) next year. Mr. Manley believes that the small SUV segment would see a positive shift even in places like the USA. This Jeep would compete with the likes of the Chevrolet Trax/Buick Encore/Vauxhall Mokka and even the Ford EcoSport.

Auto News reports that Fiat would want to make 280,000 units of this compact SUV at their Melfi plant in Italy from June 2014. While 150,000 of these would be made with a 'Jeep' badge, 130,000 of these would be Fiats. Which could only mean that the Fiat 500X and the Jeep small SUV would share a lot in common. It is reported that the Fiat suppliers have already been intimated about this.

Fiat 500X
The Fiat 500X and baby Jeep will share the same platform but feature completely different styling. The 500X teased last year has reportedly undergone cosmetic changes to look curvier.

Fiat won't be looking to 'badge-engineer' the 500X and the Jeep SUV. Instead, both these cars would get completely different exteriors and interiors while only retaining the platform and the drivetrain.

Fiat would be wise in doing this as both brands have different core values and customer perceptions: While Fiat is perceived to make stylish and affordable cars, Jeep is perceived as a true-blue SUV maker with rugged looks and off-road features.

The Fiat 500X would replace the Sedici, a rebadged old Suzuki SX4 that has already graduated to the next generation. While the 500X would come in 2WD and 4WD versions, the mini Jeep would only offer 4WD.

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